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DevOps Engineer Skills And Responsibilities (2023)

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


DevOps Engineer Skills And Responsibilities

What is a DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps engineer is an IT professional who bridges the gap between software development and the operations team. This means that they are in charge of automating and streamlining the software development lifecycle, from design, build, test, release, to management.


A DevOps role includes coding, scripting, process re-engineering, and deploying DevOps tools for CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment).


DevOps Engineer Skills:

DevOps Engineer Skills WordCloud

DevOps Engineers are some of the highest-paid IT professionals on our job board. So, here are the skills that you need:


Proficiency in DevOps tools:

This one’s a bit obvious, of course. You need to be very good with DevOps tools, especially, Jenkins, Docker, and Kubernetes. These are the engines powering the DevOps machinery.


Jenkins is an open-source automation server and a critical tool in the DevOps toolkit. It's widely used in automating tasks including building, testing, and deploying software.


Knowledge of Jenkins extends to creating pipelines, managing jobs, integrating plugins, and creating complex workflows. Understanding Jenkins architecture, scripting in Groovy, building and deploying pipelines, and managing security are key aspects of Jenkins.


Docker is a platform used to develop, ship, and run applications in isolated environments called containers. Docker revolutionized the way applications are packaged and distributed, allowing for consistency across different environments, which is essential for the CI/CD process.


Kubernetes, the container orchestration platform, manages the deployment and scaling of applications running in containers across clusters of machines.


Mastery of Kubernetes means understanding the Kubernetes architecture and working with Kubernetes objects like Pods, Deployments, and Services.


You’ll also need a thorough understanding of how to use ConfigMaps and Secrets, manage ingress and egress networking, and handle persistent storage using Persistent Volumes and Persistent Volume Claims.


Scripting and coding skills:

As a DevOps engineer, scripting languages such as Python, Bash, Ruby, or Perl are crucial.


Scripting allows you to automate routine tasks, troubleshoot and fix issues rapidly, and interact with APIs for integrating systems.


Scripting proficiency allows you to create custom tools for unique needs and automate everything from server configurations to application installation and updates.


Beyond scripting, proficiency in coding with languages like Java, Go, or Python is vital. As a DevOps engineer, your job doesn't stop at operations; you're also part of the development process.


Coding helps create resilient and high-performing systems, automate software deployment, and improve system reliability and efficiency.


As anyone who’s ever written code for more than a day will tell you repeatedly, It's not just about writing code but writing good code.


You need a solid understanding of algorithms, data structures, and principles of object-oriented design.


Experience with infrastructure automation tools

Infrastructure automation is the bedrock of DevOps, enabling teams to manage complex systems with efficiency and accuracy.


Tools like Terraform and Ansible are proper favorites here. So, you’ll need to be good at both.


Terraform, an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool developed by HashiCorp, allows you to define and provide data center infrastructure using a declarative configuration language.


Your familiarity with Terraform's workflow, understanding its syntax (HCL), managing state files, and handling resource modules can significantly improve the infrastructure setup process.


Terraform helps in maintaining consistent and reproducible infrastructure, saving you from the "works on my machine" syndrome.


Ansible, on the other hand, is an open-source software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment tool.


It uses a simple, human-readable language (YAML) to define automation jobs in the form of playbooks. Ansible shines in its simplicity and ease of use, with no agents to install on remote systems.


Expertise in writing and managing Ansible playbooks, understanding inventory files, and handling task control will make you efficient in managing servers and their configurations.


Understanding of CI/CD principles

The CI/CD pipeline is at the core of modern DevOps practices.


Continuous Integration (CI) is a development practice where developers integrate code into a shared repository frequently. Each integration can then be verified by an automated build and automated tests.


Continuous Delivery (CD) is the practice of delivering the integrated and tested code frequently to a staging or production environment.


A solid understanding of the CI/CD process is crucial, as it paves the way for faster, more reliable deployments, improved product quality, and increased project visibility.


In the context of CI/CD, you should be well-versed in version control systems (like Git), build tools (like Maven for Java, npm for JavaScript), testing frameworks, and CI/CD tools like Jenkins or GitLab CI/CD.


A comprehensive understanding of how to set up a CI/CD pipeline, how to integrate automated testing into the pipeline, managing the build process, deploying the built artifacts to different environments, and handling rollbacks is fundamental for a DevOps engineer.


Knowledge of Cloud Platforms (AWS, GCP, Azure)

In the DevOps landscape, cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure have become essential.


These services provide a vast array of technologies and services that can scale with your applications and infrastructure needs.


AWS, as a pioneer, offers services spanning a wide range, from computing power, storage, and databases, to machine learning, analytics, and IoT services.


As a DevOps engineer, understanding AWS's core services like EC2, S3, RDS, and more advanced services like Lambda and ECS, alongside management tools such as CloudWatch and CloudFormation, can prove invaluable.


GCP, while a newer entrant, has been rapidly gaining popularity, offering robust data analytics and machine learning capabilities.


Key GCP services include Compute Engine, App Engine, Kubernetes Engine, and BigQuery. Understanding how to navigate and use these services can greatly enhance your data handling and processing capabilities.


Azure, Microsoft's cloud offering, integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products.


Key Azure offerings include Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Functions, Azure Logic Apps, and Azure Monitor. Knowledge of these services and the ability to integrate them into your DevOps workflow can significantly improve your efficiency.


Project Management:

A DevOps Engineer role isn’t limited to one task. It’s quite varied. You could be coordinating with different teams, managing cloud resources, ensuring that projects are completed within budgets, or leading entire teams.


This means that understanding project management methodologies, such as Agile or Scrum, is integral for DevOps engineers.


These methodologies emphasize flexibility, collaboration, and delivering value in small, incremental steps – principles that align perfectly with the DevOps culture.


Also, project management skills encompass risk assessment, stakeholder communication, and problem-solving.


DevOps engineers must be able to anticipate potential roadblocks and devise strategies to mitigate them. And when problems arise, as they inevitably do, having the skills to navigate through these challenges becomes absolutely crucial.


Network Operations and System Design

DevOps engineers are often tasked with managing and configuring network resources. This means that understanding the nuances of network protocols, architecture, and security is very important.


This knowledge ensures seamless communication between systems, optimum performance, and robust security.


System design understanding equips DevOps engineers with the ability to architect scalable, reliable, and efficient systems.


They need to understand how different system components interact, how data flows, and how to design systems that can handle varying loads. This is particularly important when moving towards microservices architectures or designing systems for the cloud.


Finally, as we mentioned earlier, all systems fail. It’s the DevOps engineers who are in charge of designing systems that fail gracefully and minimize the impact of failures.


So, this could include implementing redundancy, designing robust backup and recovery processes, and using health checks to ensure system stability and performance.



DevOps Engineer Responsibilities:

Designing and Implementing Development Strategies

One of the main responsibilities of any DevOps engineer is designing and implementing development strategies.


These strategies streamline the software development process from idea to deployment. They create a robust CI/CD pipeline, which includes building the code, testing, packaging, storing, deploying, and monitoring the software.


Disaster recovery planning also falls under this, ensuring the business remains operational even during system failures.


Capacity planning is another key aspect, which involves projecting future needs based on current system usage to ensure scalability.


DevOps engineers must also stay updated with the latest tools and practices in the DevOps landscape to optimize the SDLC. Implementing these strategies requires close collaboration with the development, operations, and QA teams to resolve any issues that arise during the execution.


Automation of Operational Processes

Automation is at the heart of DevOps. DevOps engineers strive to automate as much as possible to improve efficiency and reliability.


This involves scripting to automate routine tasks, such as system maintenance, backups, and log reviews.


Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Terraform or Ansible are used to automate the setup and management of servers. CI/CD pipelines are automated, with software automatically built, tested, and deployed.


Monitoring and alerting systems are also automated, providing real-time feedback on the system's performance. DevOps engineers continually look for opportunities to automate, freeing up time for innovation and problem-solving.


Collaboration with Development and IT Teams

DevOps stands for Development and Operations, and as such, a DevOps engineer serves as a bridge between these teams.


Their role involves fostering an environment of communication, collaboration, and mutual respect. This cross-functional collaboration breaks down silos, accelerating innovation, and delivering value faster.


DevOps engineers work closely with the development team to understand their needs and troubleshoot issues. They support developers by providing the necessary infrastructure, automating their workflows, and assisting in debugging complex issues.


With the IT team, DevOps engineers collaborate to ensure infrastructure reliability, manage resource allocation, and handle system administration tasks.


The collaboration extends beyond just these teams. A DevOps engineer also interacts with QA teams, product managers, and stakeholders to understand requirements, tackle challenges, and ensure alignment with business goals.


Monitoring System Performance and Troubleshooting Issues

DevOps engineers play a critical role in maintaining system health. They implement robust monitoring solutions to keep an eye on key performance indicators, including error rates, response times, server CPU usage, and memory consumption.


Tools such as Prometheus, Grafana, or Datadog are often employed to visualize these metrics in a comprehensive dashboard.


Real-time monitoring enables DevOps engineers to proactively detect anomalies, identify potential bottlenecks, and prevent system failures.


When issues do arise, DevOps engineers are the people who are in charge of troubleshooting. Their responsibilities include root cause analysis, rapid incident response, and implementing fixes to restore functionality.


Post-incident, they conduct a thorough analysis to understand the incident's cause and impact, document the findings, and design preventative measures to avoid similar issues in the future.


Implementing Security Measures and Protecting Data

In the current era of increasing cyber threats, a DevOps engineer plays a crucial role in ensuring system and data security.


They incorporate security measures right from the initial stages of designing and implementing development strategies, a practice often referred to as "DevSecOps."


DevOps engineers implement various security measures, such as firewalls, encryption protocols, and access controls.


They use automated security testing tools to detect vulnerabilities early in the development cycle. They work closely with security teams to stay updated with the latest security threats and compliance requirements, integrating this knowledge into the DevOps processes.


The protection of data is another important part of a DevOps engineer's role. They design and manage secure databases, perform regular data backups, and implement disaster recovery plans. They ensure compliance with data protection laws and regulations.


Regularly Updating Processes and Systems

The technology landscape is constantly evolving, and a DevOps engineer is responsible for keeping processes and systems up-to-date.


Regular updates and patches are crucial to maintaining system security, functionality, and efficiency. They schedule and execute updates in a manner that minimizes disruption to ongoing operations.


In addition, DevOps engineers regularly review and refine the existing DevOps processes.


They seek feedback from the development, operations, and IT teams, identify bottlenecks or pain points, and continually strive to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes. This commitment to continuous improvement is a hallmark of the DevOps culture.



The career path of a DevOps Engineer:

So, if you’re wondering how to become a DevOps engineer, here’s a common career path:


Bachelor’s in a relevant field

The educational pathway to a DevOps engineer role typically starts with a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field.


These programs offer foundational knowledge in programming, data structures, algorithms, and computer systems.


That being said, the interdisciplinary nature of the DevOps role means that some engineers may come from diverse educational backgrounds, supplemented by extensive self-learning and experience.


These could include courses, certifications, or hands-on training. Or it could just involve more degrees. Some opt for advanced degrees, such as a Master's in computer science or software engineering, to deepen their knowledge, but it's not universally required.


Practical experience and demonstrable skills often carry more weight in the DevOps world.


Foundation in Systems Administration or Software Development

The journey toward becoming a DevOps engineer often begins with gaining a solid background in systems administration or software development.


System administrators acquire deep knowledge of servers, storage, and networking. In contrast, software developers hone their programming and problem-solving skills.


Broadening Scope

Over time, these professionals expand their knowledge to encompass both development and operations.


This involves acquiring skills in scripting languages like Python or Shell for automation, mastering system administration in Linux or Windows environments, understanding network and security protocols, and managing databases.


Hands-on Experience with DevOps Tools

The next step involves gaining practical experience with a range of DevOps tools and technologies.


This includes mastering continuous integration tools like Jenkins, container technologies like Docker, orchestration tools like Kubernetes, and infrastructure as code tools like Terraform or Ansible.


Familiarity with cloud services (AWS, GCP, Azure) is also crucial as cloud-based infrastructures become more prevalent.


Understanding DevOps Practices and Principles

Equally important is grasping the core DevOps practices and principles. Concepts like continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (CI/CD) become central to their workflow.


They also embrace the cultural aspects of DevOps – fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and a commitment to continuous improvement.


Specializations and Leadership Roles

As DevOps engineers progress, they may choose to specialize in areas like cloud architecture, security (DevSecOps), or site reliability engineering (SRE).


They may also step into leadership roles, managing teams, and guiding DevOps transformation within their organizations.


Certifications

While not mandatory, certifications can hugely help a DevOps engineer's career. Certifications like AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, Google Professional DevOps Engineer, and Docker Certified Associate demonstrate an engineer's proficiency and are often favored by employers.



Conclusion:

DevOps engineering isn’t just a professionally rewarding career but also a lucrative one. On our job board where we only post remote jobs, the average salary for DevOps Engineers is a cool $120,000. The lowest salary is just over $100,000.


On that front, if you’re looking for remote DevOps Engineering jobs, check out Simple Job Listings. We only list remote jobs that pay well. What’s more, a significant number of jobs that we post aren’t listed anywhere else.


Visit Simple Job Listings and find amazing remote DevOps Engineering jobs. Good luck!


Some Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the salary for DevOps Engineer?

On our job board, where we only post remote jobs, the average salary for a DevOps engineer is just over $120,000. The lowest salary for a DevOps Engineer on our job board is slightly over $100,000.


Is DevOps engineer coding?

Yes and no. The ‘Dev’ in DevOps stands for development. So, yes, there’s coding involved, no doubt. But it’s not the sort of coding that you might think of. DevOps engineers don’t usually create products from the ground up.


Instead, their main focus is on optimizing workflows — streamlining operational processes. This will include creating or tweaking tools to automate repetitive tasks, identify issues in codes, etc. So, yes, you need to know how to code, you need to be able to code. But that’s not all that you’re going to be doing.


Do I need a degree for DevOps?

Yes, in all probability. You will find DevOps engineers who don’t have a degree. But that’s simply because the field is relatively new. If you’re an aspirant right now, you will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. While there are exceptions to this, they are few and far between.


Is DevOps harder than programming?

DevOps includes programming and administrative, and operational tasks. The ‘Ops’ in DevOps stands for Operational. So, the answer to the question is, it depends. If ‘operations’ is harder than programming for you, yes, DevOps will be harder.


Why is DevOps salary so high?

There are a few good reasons for this. DevOps engineers have a unique combination of skills. They can code, use DevOps tools, work on Cloud Platforms like AWS, GCP, and Azure, have experience with Infrastructure automation tools, and have a great understanding of system design.


It’s this blend of skills in one person that makes DevOps Engineer jobs so highly paid.



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