Navigating the Stages of Transition in DevOps: A Roadmap to the Career Progress
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DevOps practices bring together software development and operations, creating a methodology that makes the software development lifecycle (SDLC) far more nimble and much quicker. That benefits team members, companies, and customers alike. As a result, for many professionals, figuring out how to become DevOps engineers or other types of similar professionals is a common goal.
While the path ahead may seem daunting, a successful DevOps transition is possible if you plan the journey correctly. Here’s a look at how to move into DevOps, as well as a transition DevOps path for companies.
What Should You Do Before Your Transition to DevOps
Whether you want to transition from IT to DevOps, transition from operations to DevOps, or transition into the field from another one, there are a few steps you need to take to make sure that you’re ready. Here’s a breakdown of the stages for transition in DevOps from another field.
Evaluate Your Background
As the first step for figuring out how to transition into DevOps, you need to evaluate your professional background. For many professionals, prior experience working as software engineers, database administrators, systems engineers, or similar roles can prove valuable. DevOps does involve technical components, so determining how your skills align with your target job helps you determine what you may need to learn prior to transitioning to DevOps engineer.
Learn Necessary Technologies
While DevOps is largely a methodology, understanding the core technologies typically in place can expedite DevOps transitioning as a professional. Here’s an overview of common technologies professionals usually need to learn:
- Operating systems: Linux, Windows
- Cloud platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform
- Containerized coding tools and platforms: Docker, Kubernetes, LXC
- Automation technologies: Source Code Management (SCM), Ansible, Puppet, Chef, Selenium
- Version management tools: Git, Jenkins, Maven
- Monitoring tools: Nagios, Splunk
- Automated testing tools: Mabl, Xray, Mend
Develop Technical Skills
During the transition, professionals also need to acquire the necessary technical skills. Understanding the IT language of DevOps engineers is a critical starting point, as it makes shifting into a new role simpler. Plus, it can familiarize professionals with DevOps culture, as well as understand what many companies have to gain by adopting the culture and principles.
While the precise skills a professional needs can vary from one role to the next, some capabilities are commonly must-haves. Here is a list of technical skills worth developing:
- Scripting and coding: Java, Python, Go, Ruby, C, C++, Bash, PowerShell, Node.js
- Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD)
- System integration
- Cloud infrastructure
- System maintenance and support: troubleshooting, bug fixing
- Security skills: code analysis, threat mitigation, change management, vulnerability assessment
By reviewing useful books for a novice DevOps engineer, you can also find out more about valuable skills that can help you enter or advance in the field. As a result, it’s wise to review them as part of your DevOps transition plan.
Get the Right Certifications
If you want to land a role in this field, the right certifications make a difference. With a certification, you show that you understand critical parts of the development process, core methodologies, and other aspects of DevOps.
Here are a few certifications that are worth considering:
Steps to Transition to DevOps
For companies undergoing DevOps transformation, using the right strategy is essential. DevOps involves more than a shift in the technologies leveraged and development processes; there’s a culture change that needs to occur, too. As a result, a methodical approach is typically best.
Here is an overview of the stages of transition in DevOps.
Choose a Pilot Project
The transition is easier to manage if the rollout is controlled. One way to ensure that is to select a small pilot project that can serve as a test run. It creates opportunities to secure buy-in and ensure that all involved parties are ultimately on the same page. Plus, it allows companies to address missteps when their impact is minor, ensuring the process is ironed out before the rollout expands.
Change Infrastructure to a Cloud-Based System
Implementing cloud infrastructure greatly benefits DevOps. You can reduce latency and increase resource accessibility. Plus, cloud systems are typically highly scalable and allow companies to centralize management, creating a uniform platform that professionals can use for deployment, integration, testing, and application releases.
Which cloud solution a company selects may vary depending on its unique needs and existing service partnerships. Generally, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform make up the most popular solutions, so they serve as a strong starting point for those taking their first venture into the cloud.
Invest in Your Team’s Training
While many team members will have technical capabilities that translate directly into this area, using training to familiarize them with culture and methodology ensures everyone starts off in the best possible position. DevOps alters how development moves forward, so it’s wise to introduce the core concepts before launching the project.
Similarly, upskilling professionals to ensure they’re comfortable with newly introduced technologies streamlines the transition, functionally reducing the inherent learning curve. In turn, that makes them more confident in their capabilities and can also ensure that project timelines don’t need to be extended to accommodate for limited technical knowledge in various areas.
Set the Budget
Having a firm budget is critical for any project, including those involving DevOps. Determine how much the selected project should cost and add a buffer to deal with the unexpected. It’s also wise to have mechanisms in place to prevent scope creep, as introducing too much once the project is underway can cause it to become far more expensive than initially planned.
Employ Proper Tools
DevOps relies on specific tools and technologies to support CI/CD and other critical aspects of the methodology. Before launching the project, make sure that team members have access to all of the tools they may require.
Git, Kubernetes, Docker, Jenkins, Splunk, and many others provide value. However, you want to ensure that the selected tools not only cover all of the critical bases but are also compatible. Similarly, ensuring any selected solutions aren’t accidentally redundant is wise, as limiting the toolset to those that are needed without unnecessary overlap can increase efficiency.
When you’re selecting tools, also make sure that communication and collaboration platforms are part of the mix. Being able to share information effectively and in a centralized manner streamlines the project, so it’s wise to invest in this area as early as possible.
With DevOps, companies traditionally implement new technologies and alter processes. As a result, reassessing your security position is essential. Typically, new procedures and security mechanisms will be a necessity to safeguard systems, applications, and data. Since that’s the case, invest in solutions that enhance security from the beginning, as preventing issues from the start is far more effective and cost-efficient than having to address security down the line.
How to Measure DevOps Transition Success
Determining whether a DevOps transition is a success usually involves tracking specific metrics related to the goals that are commonly associated with the move. Here is a list of some widely used metrics that help companies gauge the success of their transition:
- Deployment frequency
- Lead time for changes
- Mean time to recovery
- Change failure rate
- Passed automation tests
- Defect escape rate
It’s also wise to assess the quality of communication between various team members. DevOps is designed to eliminate silos, so assessing collaboration can allow companies to determine if the involved professionals are embracing the methodology and coordinating effectively.
Find a DevOps Job
After figuring out how to transition to DevOps engineer from another field, it’s time to join a DevOps team and pursue your new career. Usually, the first step you’ll need to take is to update your resume to ensure the content is targeted to this type of position. Then, practice common DevOps interview questions to optimize how you’ll respond.
Once you’ve handled the steps above, it’s time to begin a job search. Leverage your professional network to find suitable opportunities. You can also use traditional options like searching job boards or working with a recruiter to get support and access more opportunities.
A transition to DevOps is an exciting option for professionals and companies alike. DevOps provides substantial gains when it comes to efficiency, and professionals with the right skills are in demand. Just make sure to use the process above to streamline your transition, ensuring you’re following a reliable roadmap as you prepare to take the next step in your career or operational journey.
Can I Get a DevOps Job with No Experience?
While getting a DevOps job with no experience is challenging, it’s possible. Spend time honing related skills as a starting point. If possible, earn certifications that showcase your expertise, too. That way, you’re in the best possible position.
Can a Beginner Start DevOps?
It’s possible for anyone to start learning about DevOps, including those who are new to IT. Additionally, the principles are something any professional can embrace, regardless of their current experience level.
Is DevOps Job Easy or Hard?
As with all methodologies, learning DevOps may be tricky for some, as there is a bit of a learning curve. However, as you hone your skills, they typically become second nature, making you highly efficient in using them in a related position.
Can a Non-Tech Person Learn DevOps?
Yes, non-tech professionals can learn DevOps. While the methodology is more commonly used by technical professionals, many are adaptable and can apply to other types of roles. Similarly, you don’t have to have a technical background to start preparing to transition into the field; you just may have a longer journey since you don’t have a foundation in technology.