How to Become a DevOps Engineer
DevOps sounds like one of those inaccessible, buzzy phrases in the tech world, but don’t let the name fool you—it’s one of the hottest trends in software development these days.
As you’ll see, it’s less of a job title per se and more a culture; a philosophy that skilled software engineers live every day. Naturally, engineers with the broad skills required for the DevOps designation are in high demand. These unified skillsets almost always lead to smoother workflows in project deployments, and a better product overall. DevOps engineers take complete ownership of projects—and are highly compensated for their efforts.
A survey by Incapsula found that median salaries for DevOps engineers range from $104,000 to $129,230. What’s more, it’s a field that offers stability—62 percent of respondents reported having no concerns about their job security.
Where can they work?
With the global DevOps market expected to hit $12.85 billion by 2025 (featuring an impressive CAGR of 18.6 percent!), there will be plenty of opportunities for DevOps engineers to make their mark.
DevOps engineers can apply their skills across numerous markets. In 2018, DevOps careers can be found at big brand companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Adobe, but also in consumer retail—such as Target, Wal-Mart, and Norstrom, to name just a few.
You’ll also find opportunities in the banking sector, entertainment, media production, and more. This is the key advantage to developing a DevOps skillset. Anywhere software development is needed (read: almost everywhere these days), your skills will be in demand.
So, how do you break into this lucrative market?
Begin Cross-Training Foundational Skills
DevOps is more about broad knowledge of all aspects of software development than any particular niche or skill. Indeed, the term can mean many different things to different people, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s categorize the foundational skills into three buckets.
Learn about Linux
Active developers won’t be surprised to learn that Linux is the primary OS on which DevOps careers are built. The Microsoft ecosystem is fairly limited in this regard, so any software professional who wants to begin expanding his/her skillset needs to begin with platforms built around Linux distribution: Ubuntu, Fedora, or CentOS.
Get Familiar with Popular Programming Languages
Remember when we recommended Python as a top choice for in-demand programming languages? DevOps is a perfect example of why. As one of the most widely-used and accessible backend languages, Python is a common choice for many businesses. And while you don’t need to be a Python master to make it in DevOps, you do need to get familiar with enough languages to round out your development skillset.
Knowledge of the Cloud
Cloud expertise is a must for DevOps engineers. DevOps experts are often called upon to manage servers, handle network security, and configure infrastructure—crucial aspects of cloud management. We recommend brushing up on AWS, here. You could also start with Azure or Google Cloud, but we all know that AWS offers the most diverse allotment of features for developers to play with.
Landing a DevOps Gig
You have the basics down—where do you go from here?
You’ll need to market yourself and get acquainted with the DevOps world. If you’re currently in a software development role, work with your company to try and build out your responsibilities to suit the DevOps paradigm. Feel like you already have what it takes? Start applying for DevOps positions and see where you land.
As you search, stay busy in your downtime by working on the above skills—and whichever new ones will give you an edge. Use your development skills to build tools. Help others online with their issues. Look for volunteer projects and opportunities that let you work with others to develop practical skills. There’s no better way to make it in the DevOps world.