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How to Become a DevOps Engineer

Posted on 
September 3, 2021
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

DevOps is an integral part of every tech company these days. It has evolved over the years, resulting in a transformational role full of possibilities and opportunities. DevOps integrates IT professionals and software developers in a way that results in a more efficient workflow. Top tech companies, including FAANG companies, pay high salaries and offer several perks and benefits to their DevOps engineers, which is why this field is very popular among software engineers and developers right now.

If you would like to kickstart your DevOps career in one of the top tech companies, you need to be prepared. Check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation ebook to get interview-ready! Also, read Most Popular Back-end Development Languages to Get a Job at FAANG and Latest Trending Software Development Technologies in FAANG.

Having trained over 6,000 software engineers and engineering managers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

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So, what does a DevOps engineer actually do, and how can you build a career in DevOps? In this article, we’ll and all your questions.

  • What is DevOps?
  • What does a DevOps engineer do?
  • Types of DevOps engineers
  • How to become a DevOps engineer
  • Qualifications required for DevOps engineering jobs
  • What skills does a DevOps engineer need to have?
  • What is the average salary of a DevOps engineer?
  • What are the best industries for DevOps jobs?
  • How to crack a DevOps engineer interview

What Is DevOps?

DevOps is where software development meets IT operations. DevOps engineers are masters at ensuring continuous high software quality delivery and shortening the systems development cycle. DevOps goes hand-in-hand with Agile development. 

DevOps can be visualized as a workflow that emphasizes communication between IT professionals and software engineers in a production environment. DevOps focuses on automating infrastructure changes and software deployment. 

Continuous deployment is at the core of all DevOps functions, continuously integrating development and operations into a streamlined process. This way, turnover time is reduced, and companies can rapidly deliver software updates and security measures internally and externally.

What Does a DevOps Engineer Do?

DevOps engineers apply their technical expertise to create cloud-based solutions at scale. They also guide customers through transformational business solutions by combining philosophies, tools, and practices, that deliver end-to-end applications and infrastructure solutions. DevOps engineers are expected to have technical depth and hands-on implementation experience tools and practices in the DevOps toolchain. A DevOps Engineer should be able to design and code modules for applications, infrastructure, and processes. 

DevOps engineers are also responsible for developing operations that balance service reliability and delivery speed efficiently. They must be skilled at using cloud platforms to deploy and monitor services, build software delivery pipelines, and manage incidents. Senior DevOps engineers are expected to take on more responsibility. They are also expected to work independently with minimal supervision. 

Here are some key roles and responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer:

  • Working with partners, customer technical leads, and client executives to manage and deliver implementations of DevOps solutions.
  • Working with product and engineering teams to package best practices and lessons learned into thought methodologies, leadership, and published assets.
  • Interacting with partners and technical stakeholders to manage project scope, deliverables, priorities, risks/issues, and timelines.
  • Advocating for customers needs to overcome adoption blockers and drive the development of new features based on field experience.
  • Proposing solution architectures and managing deployment of distributed virtualized infrastructure solutions following customer requirements and implementation best practices.

Types of DevOps Engineers

Based on their function and skills, DevOps engineers can be categorized as:

  1. DevOps Evangelists: They are responsible for the implementation of end-to-end DevOps strategies in product development.
  2. Release Manager: They are responsible for integrating new and updated features in the current architecture.
  3. Automation Expert: They are also responsible for analyzing, designing, and implementing continuous deployment strategies. 
  4. Software Developer/ Tester: This role includes conventional programmers and coding engineers and involves unit testing, deployment, and continuous monitoring.
  5. Security Engineer and Quality Assurance Specialist: They test product functionality and ensure that security features are integrated into the product development cycle.

Levels of DevOps Engineers

The levels of DevOps engineers vary from company to company. In general, there are three levels: 

  • Entry-level DevOps engineers
  • Junior DevOps engineers
  • Senior DevOps engineers

How to Become a DevOps Engineer

With a world of DevOps opportunities now in front of you, you must be wondering, how do I become a DevOps engineer? It’s quite simple. Most big tech companies, like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, prefer hiring candidates with tertiary educational qualifications in computer science with relevant industry experience. DevOps roles are usually senior positions that must be backed with extensive Development or Operations experience. 

 To become a DevOps engineer, you must:

  1. Have an educational qualification in computer science focused on software development or an equivalent discipline.
  2. Have a strong knowledge base of cloud computing technologies such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Terraform.
  3. Possess strong coding skills relevant to your industry.

How Long Does It Take to Become a DevOps Engineer?

It can take years to qualify for the role of a DevOps engineer. Most FAANG companies look to hire DevOps professionals who have spent a considerable amount of time in either Development or Operations or both. 

For instance: 

  • To become an AWS DevOps engineer, you need to have 5 years of experience as a technical specialist and 2 years of experience in programming.
  • To become a DevOps engineer at Google, you need to have sufficient experience working with external partners/customers, automating infrastructure provisioning, continuous integration and delivery, and standard IT security practices.

Qualifications Required for DevOps Engineering Jobs

The qualifications required by FAANG and other Tier-1 tech companies for the role of DevOps engineer are:

  • A Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or Mathematics, a related technical field, or equivalent practical experience
  • Experience in designing, constructing, and deploying scalable solution architectures
  • Experience in writing software in Java, Python, JavaScript, Go, C++, or similar
  • Experience in communicating technical concepts

What Skills Does a DevOps Engineer Need to Have?

The approaches and skills required to become a DevOps engineer are:

  1. Programming

DevOps engineers must be proficient in at least one programming or scripting language such as Python, Ruby, Perl, Java, JavaScript, Go, and C++. Programming knowledge helps DevOps engineers to debug codes, integrate database changes, and automate and deploy processes. It also helps in ensuring proper continuous integration/continuous delivery process.

  1. Automation

Configuration, deployment, source code management — all these processes need to be automated. DevOps tools such as Git, Chef, Docker, Puppet, and Ansible help automate and monitor processes.

  1. Cloud Services

DevOps engineers should handle cloud service models, cloud formation and architecture, deployment models, and cloud computing. 

  1. Operating Systems

You must have a general understanding of Linux and other operating system concepts such as process management, threads and concurrency, I/O management,  and memory management.

  1. Software Configuration and Deployment

Knowledge of Docker and Puppet for configuration and deployment of applications in a production environment is desirable.

  1. Infrastructure as Code

In this practice, DevOps engineers use configuration files for IT infrastructure management. Some commonly used Infrastructure as Code tools are Saltstack, Terraform, and Azure Resource Manager.

  1. CI/CD Pipelines

Continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines involve continuous integration of code into a common repository. It reduces costs and ensures a smooth workflow. The continuous delivery part is responsible for automating the release of validated code into a repository. Some of the most common CI/CD tools are GitLab, Jenkins, and CircleCI.

  1. Networking and Security

You must also possess a working knowledge of networking concepts to ensure the security of the production environment at all stages of the product cycle.

According to experts, FAANG companies expect DevOps engineers to be skilled in:

  • AWS
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Python
  • Kubernetes
  • Terraform
  • Ansible
  • Linux
  • Pipelines
  • Java Programming
  • Git Version Control System
  • Powershell Programming

DevOps Certifications to Give your DevOps Career a Boost

You can consider getting the following certifications to add more credibility to your resume as a DevOps engineer:

  • Google Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer Exam
  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) Certification Training Course
  • Docker Certified Associate (DCA) Certification Training Course
  • CI/CD Pipelines with Jenkins Certification Training Course
  • Puppet and Ansible Certification

What Is the Average Salary of a DevOps Engineer?

According to Levels.fyi, the compensation package of a DevOps Engineer is quite attractive. The average base salary for a DevOps Engineer is $110,000 per year. The average bonus offered is $17,000 per annum. It usually varies for engineers even in the same salary band. The average stock grant/profit-sharing offered to DevOps Engineers is $21,000.

The total average compensation of DevOps Engineers is $148,000 per year.

Want to learn how to negotiate a higher salary package? Experts and ex-recruiters from FAANG+ companies at Interview Kickstart will teach you how to leverage your skills to up your negotiating power. Sign up for Interview Kickstart’s FREE webinar to learn more!

What are the Best Industries for DevOps Jobs?

According to a Grand View Research report, the DevOps market size is estimated to reach $12.85 billion by 2025. The top industries hiring for DevOps roles are:

  1. Technology
  2. Banking
  3. Insurance
  4. Inventory Management
  5. Healthcare
  6. Hospitality

Most of these positions are predominantly in the North American region, with Silicon Valley claiming the largest share of DevOps job openings, followed by Indianapolis and Cleveland.

The top tech companies hiring for DevOps roles are Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and Adobe.

How to Crack a DevOps Engineer Interview

A typical DevOps Engineer interview at FAANG+ companies includes:

Practice Mock Interviews

Experts recommend practicing at least 30+ mock interviews before you sit for the actual interview. It will not only boost your confidence but also prepare you for all kinds of possible scenarios one can face in the actual interview. 

At Interview Kickstart, you can practice mock interviews with experts and hiring managers from FAANG companies. Their precious feedback will go a long way in honing your interviewing skills.

Join IK’s DevOps Engineering Interview Course

If you need help with your prep, consider joining Interview Kickstart’s DevOps Engineering Interview Course — the first-of-its-kind, domain-specific tech interview prep program designed specifically for SREs and DevOps Engineers. Click here to learn more about the program. 

IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, FAANG+ instructors, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.

To learn more, register for our FREE webinar. 

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