How to Become a DevOps Engineer?: Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills Required

In any typical organization, the development team creates products, and the operation team manages and maintains these products. However, the DevOps concept is a collaboration between development and operation teams, which enables continuous delivery of applications and services to end-users. 

This means that when the development team is ready with the product, it goes to the maintenance and management phases immediately and is released to the end-users with minimum delay.

According to InformationWeek, DevOps will be in high demand in the future with little chance of slowing down. The DevOps market will be worth USD 14.9 billion by 2026, a good sign that demand will remain consistently high.

But before we explore how to become a DevOps engineer, we need to address the question: “What is a DevOps engineer?”

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What Is a DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps engineer is an IT professional who has an in-depth understanding of the software development lifecycle. They need to understand why the organization had to move from one model to the other, the shortcomings of the previous model, the benefits of the new model, and so on.

A DevOps engineer also must know how to use various automation tools for developing continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. This demand position requires a special set of DevOps skills, which we will explore more in-depth later.

planning-monitoring

There are various stages in a CI/CD pipeline. The first stage is the planning stage, which includes writing an algorithm for your product. The next stage is the building stage, where the algorithm is transformed into a product that can be used. 

The product is then tested in the testing stage where all bugs are found and corrected. The product finally goes to the deployment stage, where it’s introduced to the end-users. Once the product is deployed, it needs to be monitored continuously, which is a new concept recently introduced into the DevOps lifecycle.

DevOps engineers focus more on the monitoring stage compared to the previous stages. It's essential to monitor the product continuously to catch new bugs, fix them, and push the corrected version back to the client. This is done to ensure customer satisfaction once the product is deployed into the real world. DevOps engineers collaborate with the development and operation teams to deliver high-quality products in as short a time as possible.

A DevOps engineer can also venture down other career paths, such as:

  • DevOps architect
  • Automation engineer
  • Software tester
  • Integration specialist
  • Security engineer
  • Release manager

How to Become a DevOps Engineer?

Check out the below infographic to learn how to become a DevOps engineer -

How to Become a DevOps Engineer - Infographic

Let’s take a deep dive into a more detailed description and increase our understanding of how to become a DevOps engineer. But first, let us understand more about what it means to be a DevOps engineer.

DevOps Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

A DevOps engineer works with both the development and operations teams to create and implement software systems. Therefore, they need to collaborate with software developers, quality assurance professionals, and other IT staff. A DevOps engineer’s main roles and responsibilities include:

  • Write documentation for the server-side features.
  • Develop, install, test, configure, and maintain IT solutions.
  • Communicate operational requirements and development forecasts with everyone in the team.
  • Develop plans and processes for improvement and expansion of the current technologies being used.
  • Deploy updates automatically into the production environment using configuration management software.
  • Perform routine application maintenance and troubleshooting measure to ensure the production environment runs smoothly.
  • Perform gap analysis to identify performance enhancements, identify alternative solutions, and assist with modifications.

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DevOps Career Path

Programming Language and Linux Fundamentals

DevOps uses programming languages for developing and automating software. To become a DevOps engineer, there are several programming languages you need to learn in addition to specific DevOps tools

The three most common languages used with the DevOps tools are Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. It's advisable to learn at least one of these programming languages to work with the DevOps tools. 

It's also essential for a DevOps Engineer to know the fundamentals of the Linux Command Line Interface (CLI). The mandatory Linux skills that a DevOps engineer should have include: 

  • Linux shell - bash or ksh
  • Linux commands - find, grep, awk, sed
  • Networking commands - nslookup and netstat 

Source Code Management

The next milestone for a DevOps engineer is to learn source code management. This is essential for keeping your projects organized, regardless of the number of code sets you have. Learn at least one of these standard source code management tools:

  • Git
  • CVS
  • Mercurial

You can choose to start with any of these source code management tools. However, we recommend that you begin with Git. Git is used to tracking changes in the source code and can manage large projects efficiently. It also allows multiple developers to work together with ease.

Application Building

A DevOps engineer needs to learn how to build an application and commit to the source code management tool. One of the most popular ways to make an application is by using Maven, an automation tool that helps build and manage software projects within a short period. Maven has a smooth build process, supports parallel builds, and provides instant access to new features with no additional configurations.

Automation with CI/CD Tool

You need a project object model (POM) file to build an application. The POM file consists of a set of jars, commands to be executed, the builds plugins, and builds profile.

pom-file

DevOps engineers should use a continuous integration or continuous development (CI/CD) tool. There are plenty of CI/CD tools available, such as Jenkins, TeamCity, Drone, etc.

pomfile-jenkins

Jenkins is one of the most extensively used automation tools on the market. It's an open-source continuous integration tool, helping to automate the constant development, testing, and deployment of newly created codes. You should learn Jenkins because:

  • It has multiple plugins
  • It's easily distributed across multiple machines
  • It’s easy to install and configure

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Application Testing

Once you’ve completed the build process, you need to learn how to automate the web applications testing process. Selenium is one of the best testing tools for QA teams, providing fast execution, allowing scripting in several languages, and supporting parallel test execution.

/pomfile-se

Application Deployment

Once the application is tested, it needs to be deployed and run in the production server. To deploy an application, you should know the relevant containers and configuration management tools.

pomfile-testing

Docker

Docker is a useful tool that helps to deliver software in containers. It has high scalability and efficiency, provides usable data volumes, and has isolated applications.

Ansible

Ansible is an agentless configuration management tool. Unlike other tools in this field, it provides the capability of pushing configurations onto multiple servers and maintaining them in the required state. It uses SSH for secure connections.

Monitor Applications

Monitoring applications is another important aspect of a DevOps engineer. In this stage, any existing issues are identified, and changes are implemented quickly.

pomfile-deployment

Nagios is a popular application monitoring tool that helps in comprehensive monitoring, has high availability, and provides immediate remediation.

Cloud Providers

A DevOps engineer needs to know about cloud service providers and their basic applications. Cloud computing is an important skill to learn, regardless of the field, you’re working in.

pomfile-aws

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most popular cloud provider in the industry today. Many companies keep their infrastructure on this cloud because it provides higher scalability, greater flexibility, and better security. It's comparatively more cost-effective than other cloud providers.

Other cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, are slowly catching up in terms of speed.

While learning how to become a DevOps engineer, you should also be aware of the salary prospects in the field. After all, if you plan on sticking with a DevOps career for the long haul, you should make sure it’s an economically viable choice, right? Check out the DevOps engineer salary in the following section.

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DevOps Engineer Prerequisites and Qualifications

To become a DevOps engineer, there are certain prerequisites and qualifications you'll need to possess. First, you should have experience in both software development and system administration. Second, you should be well-versed in at least one scripting language (such as Python or Ruby) and one configuration management tool (such as Puppet or Chef). It’s also beneficial to have experience working with cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform. You'll also want to earn your certification from an accredited institution like Simplilearn.

If you meet all of the above criteria, then you should have no problem becoming a DevOps engineer. Just remember to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in both software development and system administration, and you'll be well on your way to success.

DevOps Culture

DevOps culture is a set of values, norms and practices that promote collaboration, communication and integration between software developers and other IT professionals. The aim is to deliver features and updates faster and more efficiently, while still maintaining high quality standards.

While DevOps culture is often associated with the Agile methodology, it is not limited to it. DevOps culture can be adopted in any software development process.

The key principles of DevOps culture are:

  • Automation: Automating tasks wherever possible to speed up processes and reduce human error.
  • Continuous integration and delivery: Making sure that code changes are continuously integrated and delivered, so that new features can be released faster.
  • Monitoring: Closely monitoring the performance of systems and applications to identify issues early on and prevent them from becoming critical.

Adopting a DevOps culture can help organizations improve their software development processes and increase their efficiency. It can also help to foster better collaboration between different teams, which is essential for delivering high-quality software products.

Understand How Infrastructure Components Work

As a DevOps engineer, it's important to have a strong understanding of how the various infrastructure components work together.

Components of a typical infrastructure setup include:

  • Operating system(s)
  • Virtualization layer
  • Containerization platform
  • Configuration management tooling
  • Continuous integration/delivery pipelines

Each of these components plays a vital role in the overall functionality of the infrastructure. Let's take a closer look at each one.

  • Operating system(s): The operating system is the foundation of the infrastructure and provides the basic platform upon which all other components are built. Commonly used operating systems for infrastructure include Linux and Windows.
  • Virtualization layer: The virtualization layer is responsible for creating and managing virtual machines (VMs). This enables multiple operating systems to be run on a single physical machine, which can lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs. Common virtualization platforms include VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V.
  • Containerization platform: The containerization platform is responsible for creating and managing containers. Containers are similar to VMs in that they enable multiple applications to be run on a single physical machine. However, containers are more lightweight and have better performance than VMs. Common containerization platforms include Docker, Kubernetes, and Mesos.
  • Configuration management tooling: Configuration management tooling is used to automate the provisioning and configuration of infrastructure components. This can include tasks such as installing software, configuring system settings, and creating and managing user accounts. Common configuration management tools include Puppet, Chef, and Ansible.
  • Continuous integration/delivery pipelines: Continuous integration/delivery pipelines are used to automatically build, test, and deploy applications. This can help to speed up the software development process and improve the quality of the final product. Common continuous integration/delivery platforms include Jenkins, Travis CI, and CircleCI.

As you can see, each of these components plays a vital role in the overall infrastructure. To be a successful DevOps engineer, it's important to have a strong understanding of how they all work together.

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Learn Coding and Scripting

Coding and scripting are two of the most important skills for anyone working in DevOps. Without these skills, you'll be unable to automate tasks or work with code repositories.

First, let's take a look at what coding and scripting are. Coding is the process of creating software or applications. This can be done in a number of different programming languages, such as Java, Python, or Ruby. Scripting, on the other hand, is a way to automate tasks. Scripts can be written in any language, but they're typically written in Bash or Perl.

Once you've learned the basics of coding, you can start to learn more specific languages for DevOps. For example, if you want to learn how to use Puppet or Chef for configuration management, you'll need to learn Ruby. If you want to learn how to use Ansible for deployment and orchestration, you'll need to learn Python.

Once you've learned the basics of coding and scripting, you can start applying these skills to real-world DevOps tasks. For example, you can use Puppet or Chef to automate the provisioning of infrastructure, or you can use Ansible to automate the deployment of applications.

No matter what DevOps tasks you want to automate, coding and scripting are essential skills. With these skills, you'll be able to increase your productivity and efficiency, and make your work easier.

Different Types of DevOps Teams

There are different types of DevOps teams, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Here is a quick overview of the most common types of DevOps teams:

SRE Team

This team is responsible for solving all sorts of problems that arise in the process. They work with developers and engineers on infrastructure, which means they're constantly balancing their needs against each other to make sure everything runs smoothly without any hiccups along the way.

App Ops Team

The engineers on this team are experts in their field. They work closely with other members from different departments and have excellent knowledge about how systems function, which makes them perfect for tasks like deployment or management of payment apps.

Central Platform Team

This team is responsible for provisioning infrastructure on demand. This means they'll be able to scale up or down as needed, without affecting application availability in the process. The team manages the production systems, which will always operate 24/7 through continuous platform support.

DevOps Team

The DevOps team is a group of professionals that work closely with developers to deliver applications from start-to finish. They are responsible for everything related to getting an application off the ground and into production.

Dedicated Support Team

To ensure that your production is up and running, a team of experts handle tickets for any issues. This group has both high-level (L1) as well low level troubleshooting skills in their arsenal to get things done quickly.

DevOps Engineer Salary

A DevOps engineer salary may vary based on the number of years of experience and certifications you have. Here’s an estimate from Glassdoor on the salary trends of a DevOps engineer in the United States and India: 

FAQs

1. What is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices that aim to automate and improve the software development and delivery process. DevOps is typically associated with agile software development methodologies and emphasizes communication and collaboration between developers and operations staff.

2. What are some common DevOps tools?

Common DevOps tools include automation tools such as Puppet, Chef, and Ansible, configuration management tools such as CFEngine and Chef, containerization tools such as Docker, monitoring tools such as Nagios and Zabbix, and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tools, such as Jenkins and Travis CI.

3. What are some common challenges with implementing DevOps?

Common challenges with implementing DevOps include organizational silos, lack of communication and collaboration between development and operations teams, and resistance to change. Other challenges can include tooling and automation issues, as well as cultural differences between developers and operations staff.

4. How can these challenges be overcome?

There are a number of ways to overcome these challenges, including establishing communication and collaboration protocols between development and operations teams, implementing DevOps friendly tools and processes, and providing training on DevOps principles and practices. Additionally, it is important to create a company culture that is supportive of DevOps principles and practices.

5. What are some benefits of DevOps?

Some benefits of DevOps include faster software development and delivery cycles, improved communication and collaboration between developers and operations staff, and increased efficiency and effectiveness of the software development process. Additionally, DevOps can help to improve software quality and reduce time to market for new software releases.

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Get Certified in DevOps!

A DevOps certification will ensure that you’ve achieved an expert level of skills and knowledge for continuous integration and development. There are several DevOps certifications you can choose from:

Whether you’re trying to understand how to become a DevOps engineer or take another career path in DevOps, the future looks bright. Consider getting certified in this field. We recommend Simplilearn’s DevOps Engineer Master’s program, which will help you develop the key skills necessary to become a DevOps expert in no time. You can even upskill and increase your knowledge base by checking out the Post Graduate Program in DevOps to develop job-ready skills. Or, if you’re just starting out, you can begin with the basics of DevOps with the DevOps Free Course.

DevOps is here to stay. If you’re interested in a career in this fascinating, rewarding field, visit Simplilearn today and get the ball rolling for a better future!

About the Author

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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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