DevOps: A Brief Guide
DevOps is one of the most discussed topics in the IT field. Yet, despite its rising popularity, there is still some confusion about what this term means. In this article, we will try to clear up this confusion, and we will look at what DevOps engineers do, and how they help businesses.
Now you’ve got a good idea about what this article is about, let’s start by looking at life before DevOps.
Life before DevOps
Before DevOps surfaced you had two teams, a software development team and an operations team. Yes, their goal was always the same: They wanted to deliver the best possible product to the customer. But their objectives were different.
The job of the developers was to make any necessary changes in the software as soon as possible. While the operations team was responsible for checking that the system was stable and free of errors. These two teams had separate managers and different key performance indicators.
Overtime, the priorities of the two teams wavered, which inevitably led to projects taking longer to complete than they should have, and the projects started to get more costly.
Companies needed a solution, and this is where DevOps came from.
You’ve had a little history lesson, let’s now look at DevOps in more detail.
What is DevOps?
As the name itself suggests, DevOps is a set of practises that focuses on the collaboration between the development team and the operations team in the software development process.
DevOps aims to shorten the software development time of a project, while ensuring that the product is still of the highest quality, and that it is improved as required by the environment. Shared responsibility, focus on problem-solving, and faster feedback are the foundations of every successful DevOps team.
DevOps practices may vary in different companies, but the main principles are the same:
Communication and collaboration
In DevOps, both developers and ops are responsible for the entire development and infrastructure lifecycle. This means that they must all work together to achieve the common goal.
DevOps heavily relies on toolchains to automate software development and deployment processes. They must endeavor to keep up with changes so this is one way of securing that.
Continuous integration is a DevOps practice where small pieces of code are integrated and verified very often. It allows the engineers to detect and fix any bugs as quickly as possible.
Continuous improvement is when DevOps manage the end-to-end performance of a product. This ensures that the product is always performing as it should, and it optimizes the costs too.
Continuous monitoring is focused on detecting any issues while code is moving from one stage to another.
Implementing these principles has its challenges. Therefore, companies need DevOps professionals to help them out.
You now know what DevOps is, now let’s look at what a DevOps engineer does.
What do DevOps engineers do?
DevOps professionals have a good understanding of the software development lifecycle, methodologies, best practices, as well as in-depth knowledge of various automation tools. They work closely with developers and operations teams overseeing that software updates are released as fast as possible.
A DevOps engineer’s day-to-day tasks can vary based on the company's size, structure, and the nature of the project. But usually, they have these responsibilities:
- Building and maintaining tools for deployment, monitoring, and operations
- Automating and optimizing release cycles using various tools
- Troubleshooting and resolving issues in development, test, and production
- Building infrastructure solutions in cloud-based environments
- System monitoring
What skills do you need to become a DevOps Engineer? Usually, companies are looking for:
- Good understanding of Linux
- Knowledge of cloud platforms (Azure, AWS, and GCP)
- Experience with configuration management and deployment tools (Puppet, Chef, Terraform, and Ansible)
- Software security
Soft skills play a significant role too as successful DevOps professionals are impeccable organizers and great problem solvers, who have strong interpersonal skills.
As you can see a DevOps engineer actually does many different things, but you still might be wondering why do companies actually need a DevOps engineer… Keep reading to find out why.
Why do software development companies need DevOps Professionals?
Software development companies are working in a highly competitive field, and their ability to deliver high-quality products in a short time is what actually sets them about from their competition. Implementing DevOps principles allows companies to work more effectively and to serve their customers better.
Here are the main advantages of practicing DevOps:
The DevOps model focuses on automation, continuous delivery, and collaboration between teams. Automation ensures that there are smooth, but reactionary changes in the software development lifecycle when needed. Collaboration enables quick and continuous feedback between co-workers. As a result of this, companies can release new applications and updates faster.
In DevOps, testing is a critical component during all stages of the software development lifecycle. Continuous integration and continuous delivery ensure that each change in the application is bug-free and safe, and continuous monitoring helps to find any issues in real-time.
Another advantage of adopting DevOps practices is to strengthen security. Each person is responsible for their work, so they can make sure that it is secured to the highest standard.
As you can see there are many advantages to using the DevOps principles, and perhaps you would like to know more about it, or maybe you’d like a career in this area. Read on for more details on this.
DevOps is a relatively new field in the software development world, but it's becoming more and more popular. That is why there is such a high demand for skilled DevOps Engineers.
If you are still deciding which career in IT is for you, then you should definitely look into DevOps.
Not sure where to start? Check out our intense 12-week long DevOps course.