What is the biggest challenge to a successful DevOps practice?
– Organisational culture is resistant to change
– Lack of an automated test strategy
– Legacy applications
– Technical staff want to be technology gurus
There has been a dramatic rise in the adoption of DevOps as a culture and practice across many businesses, from SMB’s to enterprises. DevOps is now a strategic part of many of today’s organisations. The ability to deliver an application to an end-user was always the function of IT. In today’s environment, the need for speed and quality requires far more than IT skills.
DevOps will invariably be in the front-line for adopting new tools and technology. However, rather than becoming a guru in any one particular area, it’s vital that a DevOps engineer has a good understanding across the board, being familiar with multiple technologies including:
– Cloud services including AWS or Microsoft Azure
– Using Orchestration to build containerised applications, with Google’s Kubernetes or similar
– Repeatable software builds using a Continuous Integration tool such as Bamboo
– Source Code Control using GIT etc.
A DevOps engineer with a wider knowledge will be better able to assimilate new tools quickly and to understand their place in the overall picture.
Leading businesses have already coined a term for the sub-discipline – DevSecOps – building security into the DevOps workflow by including security processes and automating key tasks. A DevOps engineer needs to go beyond virus scan updates and consider cybersecurity implications at the requirements and design phases.
Writing a script to carry out routine actions, using Python or similar is a traditional IT task and removes the possibility of manual errors. DevOps takes this further and requires knowledge of the underlying discipline being automated. Automated testing is well known in software development – by both developers and testers. A DevOps engineer will be able to extend automated testing into the deployment phase so that applications are proven before being presented to end users.
What about non-technical skills?
Returning to the first bullet – Organisational culture – a successful DevOps engineer will be able to demonstrate a track record of skills that are not purely technical. They will be able to combine tech with organisational and people skills.
A great DevOps engineer will have a strong customer focus. In the majority of cases their customers are internal: Development, Quality, Project management and of course end-users. An outstanding engineer will have the ability to grasp what’s important to those customers, try their best to achieve it, and will see the whole picture.
A common challenge is departments which are used to working in a particular way. Overcoming internal boundaries and resistance to change requires influencing skills and empathy. A DevOps engineer with a resume demonstrating these skills will be in high demand.
The speed of technology change and the need for innovation are real challenges for management teams. However, this brings opportunities for forward-thinking business leaders to change the way they use technology, and for skilled DevOps engineers to make their mark in today’s enterprises and SMB’s. Why not contact our team here at Clifford Associates. We are an industry leader, we understand the challenges and we can help you to resource your DevOps team.
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