The Roles of DevOps Engineers: All About Their Profiles & Missions

By Henri Gisclard-Biondi
Published: 18/03/2021
definition backgroundThe Roles of DevOps Engineers: All About Their Profiles & Missions

What roles are behind the title of DevOps engineer?

At the crossroads between software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops), this hybrid profile has become a key position within companies looking to ensure the continuous deployment of new features. This role is essential for businesses to be more agile in a competitive and changing market.

But what exactly do DevOps engineers do? Find out everything about their missions, skill sets, background and salary in this complete guide!

What is a DevOps engineer?

The DevOps environment

Development and operational IT management working together© Medium

The DevOps process has revolutionised technical teams in DevOps organisations. DevOps principles advocate for continuous integration between the development team and the IT operations department.

If a DevOps environment is successfully implemented within the company, the technical system it relies on can be updated and maintained through more agile processes. All relevant parties are kept informed and are able to intervene in all parts of the IT system, as information silos are abolished.

Roles of DevOps engineers

A DevOps engineer’s role is to ensure the DevOps principles are followed and understood by all team members. To achieve this goal, they must put on different hats and have a multi-faceted approach to their job. Below are the 7 roles and responsibilities a DevOps engineer may be assigned to within a DevOps team.

  • The DevOps evangelist: if the organisation has not yet implemented a fully functional DevOps environment, this DevOps engineer is the one responsible for bringing down existing obstacles between software development and operational IT teams.
  • The Release Manager: they must ensure that new releases are deployed smoothly, without jeopardising stability and continuity. They must strike a balance between maintaining the existing infrastructure and the production and delivery of new features.
  • The Automation Expert: as automation has become one of the main ways of making efficiency gains for IT and other business departments, this role is key when it comes to productivity. Their purpose is to ensure that the organisation runs efficiently and can rely on automated systems for menial and/or important tasks.
  • The Software Developer: though this job position exists within non-DevOps organisations as well, developers are given a broader range of responsibilities under this new framework. They still write code, but must also monitor its performance and optimise its quality and security. More importance given is to testing, often done automatically.
  • The Quality Assurance Manager: this team member focuses on user experience. Their testing process must always keep the end-user at the heart of their concerns and ensure the features deployed will satisfy their needs and be intuitive.
  • The Security Engineer: they must work closely with other developers and ensure that security is baked into the application from the very beginning. As opposed to traditional methodologies, DevOps does not wait until the late stages of development to start implementing security features.
  • The Project Planner: this person must be able to coordinate the team. They can work across all systems and databases used by the business and have a global understanding of its IT infrastructure. They are usually involved in the sprint planning phase alongside the product owner and project manager.

The skill set required to become a DevOps engineer© Medium

The infographic above shows the variety of roles DevOps team members must navigate through, and the constant balance they must achieve on two fronts. These skilled technicians must be able to provide support to end-users and co-workers and be people-oriented to work in teams efficiently.

Day-to-day missions

On a daily basis, their missions can be any of the following, depending on their role within the team and business objectives:

  • Optimising IT infrastructure
  • Automating processes
  • Solving performance issues
  • Ensuring the reliability of information systems
  • Keeping the flow of continuous deployments going
  • Building a continuous integration platform

Skills required to be a DevOps engineer

DevOps jobs require two different skill sets, one being on the technical side, the other being management skills.

🧑‍💻 Technical skills

  • Software development
  • IT infrastructure management
  • Performance monitoring
  • Cloud knowledge
  • Agile methodologies knowledge
  • DevOps tools knowledge

🤝 Soft skills and management skills

  • Organisational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Leadership (intercultural management when required)

How to become a DevOps engineer?

Educational background

There is no specific degree requirement to become a DevOps engineer. However, graduates from STEM subjects, especially those with significant software engineering knowledge are preferred profiles.

Ideal applicants should also be able to prove their leadership skills and know their way around project management methodologies.

How much does a DevOps engineer earn?

The average salary depends on experience and company size. The following scale can help you estimate how much a DevOps engineer earns based on their profile.

  • Junior engineers: £30k - £40k
  • Intermediate engineers: £40k - £60k
  • Senior engineers: £60k and above

Career prospects

The dual skill sets of DevOps engineers allow them to evolve to higher positions easily after 5 to 6 years of experience and a spotless track record. Successful DevOps may be promoted to jobs such as VP Engineering or CTO.

Tools used by DevOps engineers

DevOps engineers need various tools to ensure the development process goes smoothly. They must also ensure that communication between team members is done effectively and tasks are planned and organised carefully.

🛠 Useful tools for DevOps roles include:

How to hire the best DevOps engineers

Hiring a skilled DevOps engineer is usually a need experienced by CTOs, who are eager to implement DevOps practices within their organisation.

However, it is often tricky to find and engage the best DevOps professionals, as they are in high demand. Below are a few tips to help you attract top talents.

  • Use a multichannel approach:
    • You can post your job offer on generalist job boards to attract more applicants with the added visibility.
    • Don’t forget to publish open positions on specialised platforms such as talent.io, which focus on IT-oriented professionals.
    • You could also choose to use the services of freelance DevOps engineers for short-notice replacements or short-term needs.
  • Describe which tools, processes and project management methodologies are in use at your company.
  • Communicate your values and present your team to show your warmer side and create a more personalised job posting.

What did we learn?

DevOps engineers are an essential part of agile business processes. DevOps roles are varied and all require striking a balance between development and operational skills, while an ability to work in teams is essential.

This highly sought-after, versatile profile can bring great value to your organisation and streamline IT processes. Whether or not your business is already using DevOps processes, a DevOps specialist is key to ensuring your business stays agile and competitive!

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