The ideal background for a DevOps Engineer?

DevOps is certainly one of IT’s current buzzwords. It is a word that is being used by professionals across the industry, similar to cloud technologies, to many people it is a very elusive concept. A common phrase I’ve heard is if you ask 3 people what DevOps is you’ll get 4 answers, and others will say DevOps does not exist and is unachievable.

To clear this all up, what actually is DevOps? It is loosely defined as the combined work of development, operations and quality assurance team to follow a philosophy that promotes the collaboration of these teams working together to automate and process software delivery and infrastructure changes. Whatever that means right?!

I was recently speaking to a Principle Architect of a leading Systems Integrator at the AWS Summit in Sydney, and he explained what the best background for a DevOps Engineer is. He said that the perfect background of someone who is looking to become a DevOps Engineer is to have started their career in Development, whether that be as a .NET, Java, or PHP Developer. This will give them an ability to create scripts using different technologies, such as Shell, Python or Domain specific languages, essentially giving them the required scripting and coding knowledge to succeed in a DevOps environment.

After 2 or 3 years as a Developer, the next logical steps for an aspiring DevOps Engineer is to work within an Infrastructure team. Look for an infrastructure team who work with both Windows and Linux servers as automation on Linux servers is extremely popular due to the build automation software on the platform. If you have strong troubleshooting skills the ideal position would be a junior to mid-level systems administrator.

This will allow them to develop the required infrastructure knowledge and a good understanding of software architectures. This combined with a well-established scripting knowledge will allow them to flourish in an environment that encourages constant automation and deployment.

This is just one opinion in a debate of thousands so I’d love to hear your views on this topic, or if you think that DevOps is just a pipedream that no IT department could ever achieve!

Harrison Emmens is an Infrastructure Recruitment Consultant located in our Melbourne office. Check his bio page out for more information including his latest jobs and social media.

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