Is DevOps the best thing since sliced bread? Possibly so.

More and more organizations are now shifting towards a DevOps ethos and that means more and more positions are opening up for DevOps engineers of the future. There are currently upwards of 7593 DevOps engineers employed in the United States. But demand is high for these enticing positions (not least because of their attractive pay checks). In fact, the average base salary for a DevOps engineer in the US is $125,475. If you’ve been thinking about a future in DevOps then you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll be talking you through everything you need to know about becoming a DevOps engineer in 2021. We’ll be covering…

• What is DevOps?
• The rise of DevOps
• What is a DevOps engineer and what do they do?
• How to become a DevOps engineer
• A DevOps starter guide

What is DevOps?

DevOps stands for Development Operations. In its most basic form, DevOps is a combination of practices and tools employed by an organization to increase the efficiency with which they deliver their services and applications. In other words, DevOps is a way of expediting the software development process.

The DevOps ‘ethos’ involves facilitating improved communications between software developers and IT operations professionals in the workplace. Combined with advanced automations, DevOps works towards creating a seamless and unified development and operations process that eradicates departmental silos.

With optimized and automated workflows organizations can hope to deliver essential software and security updates, and bring products to market much faster than ever before – without sacrificing on quality or precision.

The rise of DevOps

What is a DevOps engineer and what do they do? As more and more companies choose to employ a DevOps methodology, DevOps engineers have emerged as critical figures in the running of any organization.

It is the responsibility of the DevOps engineer to introduce those processes, tools, and methodologies that will facilitate a unified software development and operations life cycle.
DevOps engineers ‘engineer’ unified and automated processes that streamline previously siloed processes.

In many companies, developers and operations teams have very different approaches. Developers are feature-oriented whilst operators are more concerned with application stability and longevity.

A DevOps engineer will have both an understanding of software development and operational processes and will use this knowledge to bridge the gap between development and operational workflows.

As such, DevOps engineers need to cultivate a diverse skill set comprising both technical and soft skills.

How do I become a DevOps engineer?

There is no prescribed career path for DevOps engineers. Typically, individuals transition into a DevOps role from a development, operational, or administrative background. DevOps can be learned without any formal training, but individuals who wish to embark on this career change will need to take some time to ensure that they are well prepared.
Before going up for a DevOps role, you’ll want to start expanding your skills. You’ll need to ensure that you are confident working in a coding environment as well as with automation tools, and managerial leadership strategies.

DevOps isn’t especially difficult to learn but it can be time-consuming to cover all of its many elements. Depending on a person’s individual background and experience it could take up to 6 months to master the fundamentals of DevOps.

A DevOps starter guide

Decided that you want to become a DevOps engineer? Great choice. The outlook is positive indeed.

63% of organizations that implement DevOps experience improvement in the quality of their software deployments and new software release rates. A further 55% experience improved workplace cooperation and collaboration and a further 38% report a higher quality of code production.

Needless to say, the DevOps engineer is an important and much sought-after role. So, how does one go about preparing for this career shift? Well, we’re about to tell you just that.

Step #1: Learn a programming language

If you’re not already familiar with one of the three core programming languages then that’s where you’ll want to start. You’ll need a robust knowledge of Java, Python, JavaScript (or, even better, all three). Luckily, there are plenty of online courses available that will verse you in these programming languages.

Step #2: Learn about OS concepts

You’ll also want to verse yourself in core operational concepts, software, and hardware. Make sure to familiarize yourself with core teachings regarding process management, I/O management, file system management, threads and concurrency, sockets, memory storage, and virtualization. Again, there is no shortage of online courses on these topics.

Step #3: Familiarize yourself with Linux

Linux is an operating system that plays an essential role in DevOps. You Don’t have to be a Linux expert in order to succeed in DevOps but some basic understanding will stand you in good stead. You’ll want to be able to navigate Linux’s operating system with relative ease, including the platform’s systems administration and networking. It’s recommended that anybody considering a career in DevOps get to grips with Linux Shell (a program that receives commands from the keyboard and transfers them to the operating system).

Try to develop a working knowledge of:
• Bash
• Ksh
• Find
• Grep
• Awk
• Sed
• Lsof
• Nslookup
• Netstat

Step #4: Think about security

Security is high on the agenda for all organizations these days. And with good reason. The number of security breaches are up. As a DevOps engineer, security is going to play a major part of your role. So, it helps to develop a working knowledge of basic networking and security concepts ahead of time.

We recommend studying the following:

Step #5: Infrastructure as code

Infrastructure as Code (or IaC for short) is the process of managing infrastructure as part of a descriptive model (a.k.a in the same way that you would manage source code).

Infrastructure as code is an incredibly important skill for any prospective DevOps engineer. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with all major IaC containers, configuration management tools, and infrastructure provisions. For example:

• Docker
• Kubernetes
• Ansible
• Chef
• Salt
• Puppet
• Terraform
• Cloud formation

Step #6: Continuous integration and delivery

For example, it’s important to keep on top of SSL certificates to avoid letting those expiry dates slip by. Websites must renew their SSL certificates at least once every two years. Some TLS/SSL management tools make it easy to avoid red lights in production by notifying when certificates are about to expire.

To DevOps or not to DevOps?

If you think that a career in DevOps might be for you, then you’ll want to start preparing for your career shift nice and early. Anybody can become a DevOps engineer and there is no one prescribed path to securing a position in DevOps.

The key lies in developing the right skills and mindset for the job. DevOps is a holistic and varied role that encompasses both technical and soft skills. By familiarizing yourself with coding languages, operational, and monitoring tools ahead of time, you’ll be in the best position to land the DevOps position of your dreams.

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