DevOps Engineer Career: What Skills and Tools You Need to Master to Succeed

DevOps Engineer Career: What Skills and Tools You Need to Master to Succeed

Looking to start a career as a DevOps engineer, but wondering “What skills should I have for DevOps engineer?”

In this guide, we’re going to share with you the list of the most sought-after DevOps engineer skills you need to impress recruiting firms and potential employers and land a job!

Top Skills You Need To Success as DevOps Engineer

The primary goal of a professional in this role is to deliver high-value features in very short timeframes through cross-team collaboration. Thus, specific technical, interpersonal, and tooling skills in DevOps engineer work play a crucial role. Simply put, job seekers need to have a solid blend of hard and soft skills.

From this guide, you will learn about the key skills for DevOps engineer. If you already have all of these, you are halfway to success. And if not, it will give you a great starting point to revamp your existing skillset.

Communication and Collaboration Skills

Looking to get employed as a DevOps engineer? Then you need excellent collaboration and communication skills!

The core concept behind the DevOps model is to foster a culture of collaboration. It strives to make smaller teams work mutually in order to ensure faster and better releases. That is, communication (both verbal and written) is one of the core DevOps engineer required skills.

Thus, in order to apply for this job and get noticed by recruiters, an applicant should indicate a strong ability to communicate effectively with different specialists. And, it’s also vital to have customer communication skills.

Apart from communication, a good specialist should be a real team player. Thus, you should possess strong collaboration skills, as well as the ability to support, advise, and mentor other team members.

Understanding of Tools for DevOps Engineering

Since the job of a DevOps engineer requires delivering features in short time periods, solid understanding and knowledge of effective tools play a huge role in DevOps engineer skills sets.

Namely, the most vital tools that professional DevOps engineers need to master and define their roles in the process are:

  • Continuous integration servers - used to automate code integrations from different specialists into a single software product; examples - TeamCity, Bamboo, Jenkins, etc.
  • Containers - used for operating system virtualization; examples - Docker, Vagrant, etc.
  • Configuration management - used to keep track of OS and software configurations; examples - Chef, Puppet, Ansible, etc.
  • Infrastructure orchestration - used to automate the provisioning of the infrastructure services; examples - Kubernetes, Swarm, Mesos, etc.
  • Deployment automation - used for provisioning configurations and applications to further deploy them across different environments; examples - VSTS, Jenkins, Octopus Deploy, etc.

These are a few tools. Additionally, DevOps specialists need to master network protocols, version control, monitoring and analytics, and testing and cloud quality tools.

CI/CD

CI/CD are also among DevOps engineer primary skills. If you haven’t heard of it yet, the abbreviation CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, which initially lies at the heart of DevOps. Thus, these two skills must be included in your job application.

So, what do the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery skills mean? These terms are used to define the practice of continuous integration of different elements of the code from different developers, testing them continuously, and uniting them in a single piece of software. As you can see, this skill’s definition perfectly aligns with the core principles of DevOps. Thus, if you want to craft a winning resume for a DevOps engineer job, you have to make sure that the CI/CD skill is included in it.

Understanding of Key Concepts of DevOps

Understanding the core principles of DevOps is neither skill nor a tool. However, it is something you most certainly need to have in order to drive the recruiter’s attention, get more interviews, and eventually win a job.

DevOps methodology does not have a strict framework. Its core goal is to minimize the gap between the Development and Operations teams and make them collaborate to release the products faster.

Apart from the understanding of this concept, you also need the following must-have technical skills for a DevOps engineer:

  • Knowledge of software development languages;
  • Understanding of IT infrastructure;
  • Automation tools.


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These three technical skills are the necessary base that every specialist should have in order to land an interview and then, hopefully, get a job.

Infrastructure as Code

Among all technical skills required for DevOps engineer, IaC or Infrastructure as Code is one of the most vital ones.

Not so long ago, the process of provisioning IT infrastructure was tedious and extremely time-consuming, since it was all done manually. However, then IaC appeared. With the progression of containerization and cloud computing technologies, developers needed the infrastructure to be provisioned through an automated script. That’s where Infrastructure as Code comes in handy.

With the help of IaC, the infrastructure or application platform can be delivered in seconds. IaC allows automation and velocity, which is why it plays a huge role in DevOps that always strives to speed up the delivery. Thus, this is one more skill you should definitely acquire if you want to start a career in this field.

Soft Skills

Apart from hard, technical skills (which, without a doubt, play a huge role), DevOps engineers also need to have a wide range of soft skills. 

The list of DevOps engineer required skills can go on and on. After all, each employer has their own needs and values. But, here are some of the most sought-after soft skills you should have to succeed in this job:

  • Curiosity - to stay ahead of the competition and try out new approaches;
  • Self-motivation - to work effectively;
  • Flexibility - to adjust to unexpected circumstances;
  • Empathy - to help understand how other team members feel and make better connections;
  • Unselfishness - to be able to communicate with everyone on equal footing.
Pro Tip: In order to identify which soft skills to include in your resume, be sure to read the job description and tailor your skills section to the requirements stated by the employer.

Security Skills

Beyond the soft skills discussed in the previous point and all the other must-have technical skills, a good DevOps engineer also needs to be proficient in security. In fact, security is among the basic skills needed to become DevOps engineer.

The reason why it matters so much is that the threats to software these days are very diversified. Security is becoming a more pressing issue every year. And, thus, every specialist who is dealing with software development, should be aware of the common security practices.

In particular, for this job you should have an excellent understanding of DevSecOps. DevSecOps is there to integrate security practices in the regular DevOps environment. This skill will help you ensure the security of the code even though it’s delivered in small chunks and within short timeframes.

Coding

Some of you may wonder why this point is included in our article since DevOps engineers are typically not required to be experts in coding and scripting. That’s true. Looking through DevOps engineer job openings, you may find that most of them don’t even require you to have coding skills. But, the truth is that having some basic understanding of coding and scripting would never hurt.

If you occupy the position of a DevOps engineer, you will be expected to deliver features really fast. That is, you will rely a lot on automation. And that’s exactly where your coding and scripting skills can come in handy. Having a good understanding of programming languages (at least a couple of them) will enable you to make the most of automation. Therefore, coding is also among the most vital skills of a DevOps engineer.

Configuration Management

Another important skill in our list of the top key skills required for a DevOps engineer is configuration management. In a nutshell, configuration management is a common practice in DevOps that is there to keep track of the configurations used in software and operating systems. Apart from that, it is also used to manage these configurations across a large number of servers.

The good news is that configuration management isn’t done manually. As a rule, it’s controlled through a single command or a click of a button. However, though it’s not something overly complicated, to list this skill in your resume, you will need to master some kind of configuration management tool. Namely, the most popular tools today are Ansible, Puppet, and Chef. Mastering them is vital for your career. 

Customer-First Mindset

Another must-have skill that each recruiter will be looking for in your applications is a customer-first mindset.

Basically, a customer-centered mindset means that you will be working with a final goal in mind. That is, your entire work will be based on the goal to deliver value to the end-user. And your task will be to keep your end users’ needs in mind and meet them.

The reason why having a customer-first mindset is one of the most significant DevOps engineer skills is that such an approach allows giving the maximum benefits to everyone - both the business and its customers. And, also, it allows faster releases (which is important in DevOps) since each piece of software is initially being developed to suit the needs of the end-user.

To Sum Up

Starting a career in DevOps and, most importantly, becoming a sought-after employee can be rather challenging. This job requires candidates to have not only a solid list of professional accomplishments and vast work experience but also a very versatile and diverse skillset.

Here, we’ve discussed the top ten sought-after skills for DevOps engineer, which are a combination of hard and soft skills, knowledge of vital tools, and understanding of core principles and practices that are vital for this job.

Now, you should know exactly what skills DevOps engineer should have. Hopefully, this knowledge will allow you to identify your own knowledge gaps, and eliminate them in order to create a bot-beating resume and prove to any hiring manager that they should recruit you!

And, if you ever need some extra advice or assistance in your job search, remember that you can always get professional help at SkillHub!

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