DevOps: More than just a Portmanteau

Although we first published this article in 2013, today’s business challenges have only made the benefits of hiring a highly skilled DevOps engineer increase. The reason why DevOps is getting so much attention is simple: “DevOps solves the most important business problem of our generation, [which is] how organizations make the transition from good to great.” Companies that incorporate DevOps are much more agile, reliable and competitive. Read below to find out what a DevOps engineer is, what exactly DevOps engineers do and what makes a great DevOps engineer.

As a recruiter, I get the privilege of seeing the cutting edge technical jobs the market has to offer; and sometimes, I have the honor of explaining those jobs and positions to the “masses.” As of late, “DevOps” has become a position of note, with very few people truly understanding the term, even though they may have a minimal coined description of the skills set.  So the question remains, what, exactly, is “DevOps?”

Isn’t it just Development + Operations?

No! And Yes! There is not a simple, easy explanation of DevOps. Just as each cook has their own recipe of how to make an apple pie, each company has their own understanding of a DevOps Engineer’s prime function. The theory and DevOps “mission statement” is simple: Be the bridge between Engineering, QA, and Operations. If you’ve visited the Wikipedia page for DevOps, you’ve probably seen the Venn Diagram depicting this:

But let’s take it a little further. . .

While engineering focuses on instrumenting change to improve a product or service and QA consistently tests code to ensure its functionality, operations centers on homeostasis, homeostasis and more homeostasis. In other words, DevOps is the grease that reduces the friction between the three groups, focusing on creating a continuous and standardized environment, starting with the developers, weaving through the testers, and ending with the deployment.

Engineering, QA, and Operational synergies are accomplished by using “Infrastructure as Code:” the use of version control and configuration automation on infrastructure. Through Infrastructure as Code, DevOps helps Engineering and QA develop and test with agility while also helping Operations rapidly verify and deploy through agile standardization—bringing Agile and ITIL together.

So, what does a DevOps Engineer do?

Data from devops.com helps answer the question of “what” DevOps actually “is” and “does.” Simply put, the website surveyed 620  traditional “IT” engineers to identify their week’s tasks. These results were then compared with what DevOps engineers identified as their weekly tasks.  The results are below:

 

Based on this data, DevOps Engineers spend more time with Automation and Infrastructure Improvements and less time with support and firefighting than IT software/operations engineers.

How to be a great DevOps Guru:

Overall, DevOps require three core skill sets

  • Coding and Scripting
  • Peer Management
  • Process Re-engineering.

First, focus on demonstrating the increasing importance of developer skills in managing Operations. Second, make effective communication and collaborative resolution with diverse individuals and teams (who often have distinct goals from each other) a priority. Third, help formulate a holistic view of Engineering, QA, and Operations—melding all three layers into a single IT system rather than separate, disparate, functional groups.

To learn more about DevOps, check out the following websites and podcast. If you have any questions about hiring quality DevOps engineers, don’t hesitate to contact us. To see what Gorilla Logic jobs we have available in DevOps check our careers section and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Cheri Kruger Muhle

Cheri is a professional technical recruiter at Gorilla Logic. She’s been there for 4 years, and has lived in Colorado for nearly 10! She grew up on a farm in Texas and has thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of living in the city. When not recruiting, she’s usually playing guitar, playing with her dog, Bailey, or looking up how to DIY various projects around her house. Fun fact: she has produced an album of her own original songs...but she’s not quitting her day job anytime soon.

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