What Is a DevOps Engineer? Key Roles and Duties

DevOps is a popular methodology that allows companies to continually update their company procedures to integrate improvements and industry best practices. A DevOps engineer acts as a liaison between the various departments that contribute to software maintenance and creation with the purpose of making faster updates and writing code that is easy to update and access.

 

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What does DevOps mean?

DevOps is a workflow strategy that emphasizes collaboration between development and operations at a company, usually related to software development. The concept of DevOps is related to agile methodology, focusing on optimizing success by integrating the work of software developers and IT professionals. Successful DevOps management has several key goals:

  • Faster security updates and software patches
  • Reliable IT troubleshooting techniques
  • Consistent internal and external methods
  • Improved automation
  • Reduced glitches and software failures

 

What is a DevOps engineer?

DevOps engineers manage the operations of software development, implementing engineering tools and knowledge of the software development process to streamline software updates and creation. They are usually senior-level technology professionals who lead and coordinate different teams that create or use company software. They oversee code updates and may take on different roles as they help colleagues design, develop, test and release software to consumers. DevOps engineers have a strong understanding of the agile methodology and industry standards alongside the specific networks and processes within their company.

RelatedHow to Write a Software Engineer Job Description

 

What does a DevOps engineer do?

Because DevOps engineers oversee operations in multiple departments, they have a wide range of roles and responsibilities that they fulfil on any given day. To guide the engineering, re-engineering and implementation of software tools and code updates, DevOps engineers work in these key areas:

 

Project management

DevOps engineers are instrumental in creating a strategic plan for implementing goals. They assess risk, analyze costs and benefits, set operational expectations and forecast future projects to create a timeline. They consult on leadership decisions from a workflow management perspective then develop a plan for carrying out those goals across departments.

 

Writing and editing code

Most DevOps engineers spend some time writing and improving code. They review software scripts and look for ways to improve automation and resolve user interface issues. Some DevOps engineers fully delegate coding to software developers, but they need to understand coding languages to provide useful advice and accurately consult on workflow issues.

 

Server administration

DevOps engineers participate in server administration to monitor and improve the networks and servers that host company software. They create user accounts, update permissions and make sure server information is regularly and securely backed up. They review system logs to identify glitches and possible human error. DevOps engineers responsible for server administration set standard procedures for IT professionals and software developers to follow when making changes or troubleshooting.

 

Tracking staff communication

DevOps engineers help tech support understand software developments and manage feedback from team members to improve project development. They drive how workflow evolves, updating team members and giving them clear channels of communication. Tracking how team members communicate through back-end software tools allows DevOps engineers to identify solutions for workflow issues.

 

Prototyping

After identifying an issue or an opportunity for improved efficiency, DevOps engineers create prototypes of software tools then present them to a team of developers for implementation. They explain how systems should be configured and identify the problems code updates should address.

 

Evaluating and coaching

In addition to managing systems communications, DevOps engineers evaluate team performance and create development plans to improve their communication skills. They identify the skill gaps on their staff and create intuitive systems for training staff to fill those gaps.

 

Security

Making sure company data is safe and secure is one of the key aspects of DevOps work. They integrate security measures with software processes and ensure that updates do not create any vulnerabilities. Because DevOps engineers use so much automation in their daily work, keeping information secure by identifying possible breaches and addressing them is especially important.

 

Testing system performance

DevOps engineers run tests on the effectiveness and efficiency of various software tools. This is also known as quality assurance or QA software testing. They assess how well each programming method works in the context of its task. Testing helps DevOps engineers identify infrastructure flaws and draft code to solve a problem or alert team members to start working on a solution. 

Related: 7 QA Interview Questions and Answers

 

Qualifications

DevOps engineers are highly-skilled tech professionals who have extensive knowledge of industry-standard tech tools and a strong computer science background. The problem-solving nature of a DevOps engineering position requires experienced candidates who understand the software development lifestyle from multiple perspectives. They also need to have exceptional professional and leadership skills so they can explain directives to people at different skill levels.

 

Education

DevOps engineers generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering or computer science-related degree, but some employers will accept equivalent work experience instead of formal education. Employers may seek out certain professional development courses to prove past success in key DevOps areas like Linux administration and SQL developer certifications.

 

Experience

DevOps engineers need to have experience working with a range of software tools and can commonly have backgrounds in  IT, system administration or software development. They should have knowledge or experience in these technical areas:

  • Container concepts
  • Orchestration
  • Cloud technology
  • Deployment automation and orchestration
  • Infrastructure automation
  • Source control
  • Open source OS

 

Frequently asked questions about DevOps engineering

 

Do DevOps engineers code?

DevOps engineers manage updates and releases of new code, so they should be able to write and understand code in several programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, Ruby, C and Go. Software developers use code as the main channel of communication between them, clients and the DevOps engineer.

 

What is the hourly rate for a DevOps engineer?

DevOps engineers make an average of $127,530 per year, which translates to about $61/hour. DevOps engineers may work overtime and spend time on-call.

 

What skills does a DevOps engineer need?

DevOps engineers need to possess a range of technical and interpersonal skills, including:

  • Communication
  • Analysis
  • Attention to detail
  • Creative problem solving
  • Math
  • Product knowledge
  • Delegation
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