Site Reliability Engineer – Job Responsibilities, Salaries and Tips to Become One

Over the past few years, managing systems and workloads have undergone a radical change. Instead of high-performance and expensive servers, commodity servers with distributed system architecture are clustered together via virtualization, which prevents downtime caused by server outages.

The focus, in recent times, has moved from hardware-specific dependency to SDI (software-defined infrastructure) – with zero human intervention – eliminating errors and inconsistencies inherent in manual processes.

The software-defined infrastructure has brought DevOps to prominence, which is a combination of tools, cultural philosophies, and practices that merge software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). DevOps aims to heighten an organization’s capacity to deliver services and applications at high speed, compared to traditional infrastructure management and software development processes.

Organizations that created a DevOps culture benefit in many ways, including increased collaboration, faster product improvement, and a seamless supply of high-quality, reliable software.

DevOps teams, however, do not always include systems development professionals responsible for improving site performance and reliability. This is where an SRE (site reliability engineer) comes into play.

As enterprise IT management witnesses a large-scale transformation, the site reliability engineer job market is growing large and strong. If you want to explore the fascinating world of DevOps and want to go beyond, a site reliability engineer job could be a perfect fit.

This article will provide you with a detailed overview of the key difference between site reliability engineer and DevOps engineer, site reliability engineer job description, site reliability engineer salary, and tips to become an SRE.  

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DevOps Engineer v/s Site Reliability Engineer

Similar principles influence the roles and responsibilities of a site reliability engineer and a DevOps engineer.

They both work to bridge the gap between operations staff and developer teams, aiming to expedite developments while retaining core resiliency.

There is, however, a vital difference between the job of a DevOps engineer and a site reliability engineer, which is crucial and subtle.

The fundamental difference is, DevOps engineers focus on developer velocity and continuous delivery, whereas site reliability engineers are responsible for software automation and reliability.

Besides automating and ensuring system stability, the site reliability engineer job also involves monitoring releases and successfully deploying them, keeping the SDI buzzing.

Simply put, DevOps teams engineer continuous delivery till deployment, whereas SREs emphasize on maintaining uninterrupted operations from the beginning to the end of a software’s life cycle.

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The History of Site Reliability Engineering

Site reliability engineering was born in 2003 at Google. The technology giant introduced it to make its mass-scale websites more efficient, scalable, and reliable. The effect was so overwhelming that other top technology companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, soon adopted the new practice.

Eventually, site reliability engineering made a full-fledged entry into the IT domain, automating solutions such as capacity and performance planning, managing risks, disaster response, and on-call monitoring.

Site Reliability Engineer Job Description

From basic-level site reliability engineer to people working as senior site reliability engineer, everyone on-board focuses on driving high reliability into systems by working closely with software development and IT-operations teams. 

Here are some general roles and responsibilities in a site reliability engineer job that SREs need to perform.

Software Engineering

Site reliability engineers incorporate various software engineering aspects to develop and implement services that improve IT and support teams. Services can range from production code changes to alerting and monitoring adjustments. 

The site reliability engineer job also includes tasks like building proprietary tools from the scratch to mitigate weaknesses in incident management or software delivery. 

Troubleshooting Support Escalation

Site reliability engineers may have to spend a considerable amount of time fixing cases related to support escalation. They should fully know critical issues to route support escalation incidents to concerned teams. Critical support escalation cases, however, go down as site reliability engineering operations mature.

On-Call Process Optimization 

In many organizations, the site reliability engineer job will involve the implementation of strategies that increase system reliability and performance through on-call rotation and process optimization. 

Site reliability engineers will also have to add automation for improved collaborative response in real-time, besides updating documentation, runbook tools, and modules to ready teams for incidents.

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Documenting Knowledge

As site reliability engineers take part in on-call duties, IT operations, software development, and support, they gain substantial historical knowledge. 

To ensure a seamless flow of information between teams, site reliability engineer job may require documenting the knowledge gained.

Optimizing SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)

Site reliability engineers must ensure that IT professionals and software developers are reviewing incidents and documenting the findings to enable informed decision-making. 

Based on post-incident reviews, site reliability engineers will need to optimize the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to boost service reliability.  

Site Reliability Engineering Salary

Site reliability engineer salaries vary on different factors, including academic qualifications, additional skills, certifications, and professional experience.

In the United States, the site reliability engineer salary ranges from $78,901 to $90,101. The national average is $84,001.

The annual senior site reliability engineer salary in the US is 116,046 dollars.

In the United Kingdom, the average site reliability engineer salary is £64,477.

A national average of £81,000 is the senior site reliability engineer salary in the United Kingdom. 

In India, the average site reliability engineer salary is ₹1,075,971.

The senior site reliability engineer salary in India is ₹2,150,000 per year. 

Are you skilled enough for the role of a DevOps Engineer? Try answering these DevOps MCQs and find out now!

Tips to Get Started

Most employers prefer a Computer Science degree for recruiting individuals as an entry-level site reliability engineer. 

However, if you are aiming big, you will need a professional certification from a leading certification provider such as Simplilearn. The DevOps Engineer master's program will prepare you for a career in DevOps. You’ll become an expert in the principles of continuous development and deployment, automation of configuration management, inter-team collaboration and IT service agility, using DevOps tools such as Git, Docker, Jenkins and more. The Post Graduate Program in DevOps designed in collaboration with Caltech CTME enables you to master the art and science of improving the development and operational activities of your entire team. You will build expertise via hands-on projects in continuous deployment, using configuration management tools such as Puppet, SaltStack, and Ansible. 

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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