Imagine a team of the smartest people you could find – software engineers. They work on various project sprints – say, a new product development – and you are sure the results will be amazing, as you have selected the best ones there were.
Yet how do you make sure that the operations are developed within the best time frame (e.g. could they work faster?… ) and how do you integrate their work with the deployment team?
… here is where the magic brain and hands of a DevOps engineer come in the game. An interface between development and operations, as the name gets self-explanatory: making sure that everything is geared towards releasing updates as efficiently as possible.
Basically, DevOps is the project manager’s, the facilitator’s or the event manager’s counterpart within the software division.
Ultimately, his or her work is about collaboration and removing barriers to it.
On the technical side and more concretely, DevOps engineers build, test and maintain the infrastructure and tools to allow for the speedy development and release of software.
In a nutshell, DevOps practices aim to simplify the development process of software.
When you invest in a strong DevOps engineer – or DevOps teams depending on the size of your organization and the scope of your project – you will find that:
- The various strands of your development and IT functions work better together
- You can release updates to your product more quickly
- You can automate a chunk of internal processes and free up hours of time that could be spent on other tasks
Even if organizations do not deploy frequently new products, a DevOps is still needed to create and release regular updates to the existing products much quicker than using the more traditional ‘waterfall’ development model.
How do you know that the DevOps engineer is doing his/ her work perfectly? It is when you do not notice that anything has changed . In today’s fast-paced environment, this type of function (read: ‘development’) is quickly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury.
Should a DevOps engineer know how to code? Or better, should he/ she have good communication skills?
… well, a DevOps practitioner needs not necessarily know how to code and needs not be an engineer in the traditional sense. Ideally, however, a DevOps engineer is an IT professional who works with software developers, system operators and admins, IT operations staff and others to oversee and/or facilitate code releases or deployments.
So he/ she needs to understand the IT infrastructure, as they have to improve it (sometimes, even to design it) and they also have to do performance testing and benchmarking – that is, evaluating how well and reliably systems run. These can be considered day-to-day responsibilities of a DevOps practitioner. Engineer, that is.
What else does a DevOps do? While optimizing release cycles, they also monitor and report further, aiming to reduce ‘time to detect’ (TTD) errors and ‘time to minimize’ (TTM) them. Last but not least, they do automation of key processes and keep a sharp eye on security issues.
… kind of cool, right?
Think further when selecting your DevOps engineer: he/ she will be running meetings, setting the schedule for releases and leading the review process, as well as getting hands-on with automation, complex software tools and infrastructure design. All these tasks indicate that one should look for impeccable organizer with strong communication and interpersonal skills. They should be approachable and empathetic. Sometimes, this trait might weight more than their technical skills.
So, find your ideal DevOps engineer and keep him/her close to your company. They are rare and they are precious, especially if they have about 12-15-year experience in the field and are uber-disciplined and charming.
As we said, they are worth their weight in gold.
… one last point: they should understand what an ‘agile’ business means these days.