Home > Careers > What Is a DevOps Engineer?

What Is a DevOps Engineer?

devops engineers working on a laptop

A development operations (DevOps) engineer works with a company’s software and operations teams to ensure efficient software deployment. DevOps engineers use their technical backgrounds and project management skills to make software deployment a faster, more iterative, feedback-driven process.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

DevOps Engineer Definition

A DevOps engineer is an information technology professional who works as the go-between for the engineering and operations teams of a company. They oversee software implementation, development, and maintenance. 

What Does DevOps Mean?

While DevOps is quite literally a combination of software development and information technology (IT) operations, it’s also a workplace practice that aims to deploy high-quality software through continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD). DevOps teams focus on constantly developing, improving, iterating, and releasing software, and they do so in a collaborative work environment that focuses on transparency and feedback.

What is CI/CD?

CI/CD stands for continuous integration and continuous delivery and represents a key component of DevOps. Continuous integration is when multiple developers’ codes are merged into one main software project. Once the code is integrated, it’s automatically tested. Continuous integration allows for constant updates and revisions to code without teams having to start from square one.

Continuous delivery is when the code changes from continuous integration are released into production. This automated process allows you to test the product before it’s deployed.

Overall, CI/CD is a process that allows for quick testing and revision so DevOps teams can iterate and deliver new software efficiently.

How Much Does a DevOps Engineer Make?

DevOps engineering can be lucrative, with an average salary of $99,234 per year as of August 2022, according to PayScale. DevOps engineers typically earn more than software engineers, who earn average annual salaries of around $89,086.

>>>MORE: Electronic Arts’ Software Engineering Virtual Work Experience Program

What Does a DevOps Engineer Do?

DevOps engineers ensure a company’s software development and deployment is efficient and iterative. Their goal is to release updates quickly and efficiently and use clients’ feedback to improve their software.

A DevOps engineer role is a combination of engineering and project management. In their everyday work life, they might:

  • Build software plugins to help automate team processes
  • Collaborate with the team to ensure new software is deployed on time
  • Monitor new software releases for bugs and troubleshoot them
  • Work with customers to get their feedback and implement it for the next release
  • Evaluate infrastructure to find places for automation and increase collaboration
  • Create project timelines based on client expectations and costs 
  • Help improve software developers’ code
  • Integrate security measures to avoid data breaches

Kevin Allen, senior DevSecOps engineer at Nexient, says his “primary responsibility is to implement, maintain, and improve the processes in which new features are contributed to my projects. I spend most of my time contributing new features to automation and infrastructure-as-code or helping business stakeholders evaluate new DevOps tools they can invest in to streamline their processes.”

He also oversees team processes and ensures everyone can develop and test new software. 

“If anything comes up that prevents my teams from contributing and testing new work, it becomes my immediate focus. I also help them meet performance, cost, security, and monitoring requirements.”

How to Become a DevOps Engineer

Do You Need a Degree to Be a DevOps Engineer?

Most DevOps engineers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering, but a degree is not necessarily required to land a job in this field. Sometimes, employers might accept equivalent work experience. A degree helps you learn the hard skills you need, but you can also supplement with courses and certifications.

Find your career fit

Discover if this is the right career path for you with a free virtual work experience.

What Skills Does a DevOps Engineer Need?

Most DevOps engineers have a background in software development or IT. While software developers do most of the technical coding work, DevOps engineers should have a strong knowledge of and experience in programming. Hard skills they should have include:

  • Coding and scripting: Ruby, Python, Java, Bash, PowerShell
  • Cloud skills: Amazon Web Services
  • Automation skills: CI/CD cycles, performance management
  • Security skills: risk assessment

>>>MORE: Accenture’s Know the Code Virtual Experience Program

“If you think you may be interested in DevOps, try to get as much exposure to web services as you can,” Allen says. “Public clouds like AWS often provide some services for free as learning tools! First, you might try setting up a web server manually, then you can think about automating the process.”

Outside of technical skills, DevOps engineering also involves a fair amount of project and team management. Soft skills like interpersonal skills, collaboration, and communication are critical.

Ready to learn some DevOps skills? Get insight into what working on DevOps and CI/CD in a startup environment is like with Blackbird’s Software Engineering Virtual Experience Program.

Image credit: Visual Tag Mx / Pexels