What DevOps skills are most important in 2019?

DevOps engineers are quite in-demand specialists nowadays. Since DevOps methodology became popular, such talents became popular too. A lot of questions arise around the profession of DevOps engineers.  So today we will find out the main DevOps skills in 2019 and what should the DevOps engineer be capable of.

You have definitely heard something about DevOps methodology. Maybe some ideas about Devs and Ops combination? Maybe, you heard that DevOps engineer needs to combine skills of the developer, IT operations administrator and sometimes Quality Assurance (QA) engineer? 

In reality, DevOps philosophy is a little bit different. It doesn’t combine Devs and Ops, it makes collaboration between these teams better and implements new tools for automation. You might read more about DevOps services here: https://itsvit.com/services/devops/. Concerning DevOps engineers, the don’t need to combine skills os developers, Ops and QA. Such specialists have their own skillset.

What skills does a DevOps engineer need?

DevOps engineers need to be very flexible and learn new information fast.  A lot of new tools arise, so it is important to learn all the time.

  1. Understanding of tools and technologies. This is about hard skills and a global understanding of professional tools. DevOps engineer needs to work with different tools and technologies, so he needs to know them. Also, it will be better if DevOps engineer has experience with these tools. But you physically can’t use all the tools at work, so you need to know about them, at least. DevOps engineers should know how to work with CI/CD tools like Gitlab CI, CircleCI and Jenkins, tools for configuration management like Ansible, Chef, Puppet and Salt, tools for version control management like GitHub and Gitlab, tools for logging and analytics like Amazon Cloud Watch, Carbon, Prometheus, Grafana, Icinga, Google StackDriver, Kibana, ElasticSearch, Logstash, Splunk, SumoLogic and others. As you can see, the DevOps engineer needs to know really many things. The more tools you know, the better choice in the real projects you have.
  2. Flexibility. This is about deadlines and critical tasks. In the perfect world, DevOps specialist configures the infrastructure, automates all the processes and after that sometimes spends time for support. A real-life DevOps works with the current product, simultaneously he needs to “extinguish the fire” in some other project, somebody needs help urgently and some new task has to be done yesterday. So, DevOps needs to be flexible and have the ability to switch between tasks fast.
  3. Collaboration. The whole DevOps methodology is based on the collaboration between the teams. Any DevOps transformation is ended by work with people. So, a good DevOps engineer needs to have communication skills and teach teams to work with the methodology. Also, this will help to become a Team Lead in the future.
  4. Strategic thinking. DevOps engineer should have strategic thinking because DevOps implementation is a long and complicated process, so it’s important to create strategies and count for several steps ahead. Sometimes it is better to lift-and-shift the system to the cloud, sometimes it needs the whole rebuilding. This decision is critically important and DevOps engineer should estimate risks, costs, time and profits. This will help make the right choice.

Conclusion: is the DevOps engineer the swiss knife?

Well, yes. DevOps engineer is really quite a complicated specialist who needs strong hard and soft skills. You might think there are Project and Sales Managers for the soft skills and DevOps engineer can only do his work. But DevOps engineer still needs to work in a team and with a team, thus, soft skills are also a very important part of professional growth.

It is really hard to highlight some top important skills because qualified engineers do a lot of different work. If you want to become a good DevOps engineer, you should always stay open-minded and curious. Perhaps this is the most important. Tools can change, the strategy of work can change. But if you always learn something new and put in into your practice, you’ll always remain a highly-qualified specialist.