Roadmap for DevOps Engineers: Building Your Path to Success
If you want to become a DevOps engineer, it is best to follow the DevOps path. The DevOps methodology is an extensive landscape, so you need a DevOps career path roadmap to achieve your goals. How exactly do you become a DevOps engineer? What tools and skills should you prioritize?
The following flow chart road map for DevOps engineers will give you a visual guide. Use it to plan out your career trajectory in an efficient manner.
Many suggest that knowledge of a programming language is the first step of the DevOps learning roadmap. But understanding GIT in the preliminary can pay out in the long run.
GIT is an open-source control system that tracks changes. Multiple developers can use GIT to coordinate work in a non-linear manner. That means it is a crucial version control tool for collaborative development. And of course, foundational DevOps practices are built around collaboration.
In addition, GIT operates as a repository, where you can access infrastructure as code. That delivers immense performance benefits. You can even view projects of other developers and access open-source software.
Beneficial GIT skills include creating workflows, branching, and merging conflicts.
Learn Programming Languages
Next, it is important that you know at least one programming language. Be sure to select a programming language most likely used on future dream projects you hope to work on. DevOps engineers do not always write source code but often make automation scripts. Plus, you will take on many tasks throughout your career that benefit tremendously from coding knowledge. DevOps engineers work with a team, and you will be of limited use if you cannot review code or help with debugging.
Many recommend the following programming languages, that way you build a DevOps roadmap with the right resources:
- Ruby on Rails
As a DevOps roadmap for beginners, select a language with easy syntax and future applications in your career. Learn the IT language of DevOps engineers as the launch pad for your career.
Recognize Different OS Concepts
You will work directly with software systems, so a comprehensive ability with the fundamental OS concepts is necessary. DevOps engineers take on automation, testing, and configuration management tasks, so you need to understand system architecture in order to work. Operations usually undertaken by sysadmin now integrate with development. Plus, development teams use the operating system to run the servers that host applications, so learning the command line terminal is necessary.
Ideally, you learn other concepts such as virtualization, threads and concurrency, process management, and related topics. Linux is popular and widely used, so most DevOps engineers familiarize themselves with the Linus OS. UNIX and Windows are other possible options.
The culture of DevOps focuses on the ideals of integration and automation. To that end, it is important that you learn scripting.
Still, be sure to get a fundamental understanding. Most developers use scripting throughout the entirety of their careers. Be sure to focus on both client-side and server-side skills.
Containers hold packages of code. That type of isolation makes it far easier for application deployment. Such agility allows for the acceleration of all development cycles. As such, it is a foundational concept that supports DevOps practices.
For example, before, operations teams had to make sure different servers ran the same software versions. But with containers (which solve app conflicts between different environments) all applications will be in the same environments, driving collaboration between Developers and Operations. It greatly improves upon older monolithic applications.
To start, familiarize yourself with Docker, a popular open-source container technology. Learn the Docker architecture, Docker commands (e.g. docker pull, docker create, docker build, docker push), and the training basics of how to run containers.
Learn Container Orchestration
The deployment of different applications across different environments is known as container orchestration. It is the management of containerized applications with automatic provisioning and scaling. As part of an iterative DevOps cycle, you will need extensive knowledge of container orchestration.
Container orchestration means skill with Kubernetes. Kubernetes is another open-source platform that can manage containerized workloads. Developers can view, access, and deploy containerized environments. In turn, you can use the modular nature of Kubernetes to orchestrate your entire pipeline, making it far more agile and portable.
That once again combines previously siloed development practices. Since it has a transformative impact on your infrastructure (infrastructure as code), Kubernetes is an essential aspect of the DevOps roadmap.
Networking & Security
Everything is connected with web-based applications. As a result, DevOps must establish network protocols that determine how applications communicate and transfer data between devices. That covers request types and security functions, such as configuring firewalls and Dynamic Name System (DNS). Don’t forget other important networking basics including OSI Model, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SSL, TLS, etc.
Any data transfer across a network also includes risk. And siloed developers place more focus on velocity rather than security. That's why it is your job as a DevOps engineer to mitigate that risk. All applications need infiltration defense from bad actors and criminals, regardless of the enhanced speed DevOps practices and tools provide. A basic understanding of cybersecurity and how it can integrate with DevOps data management practices is critical knowledge on your path to DevOps.
Get to Know Server Management
Server management refers to the monitoring and maintenance of server performance. Since businesses rely on servers to run IT functions, maintaining peak performance is necessary. That extends to the security of the server but also to its possible optimization. A server with few downtimes meets the needs of any enterprise.
But such server management tasks can benefit from automatization, and for that reason integrates perfectly with the DevOps mindset. You will need to know the basics of hardware monitoring (CPU, RAM), software updates (tune performance issues), security practices (antivirus and privacy), and backups (protect against data loss). Knowledge of helpful DevOps tools that support performance enhancements (Ansible, Spinnaker, and AWS Systems Manager) is a good idea. You will also need to know your way around web servers such as Apache Tomcat, NGINX, etc, at this stage of your DevOps career roadmap.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Development are development practices designed to improve the efficiency of your pipeline. It is a necessary update from the older models with siloed operations. Instead of following a sequential development, all creation, testing, and updating occur with continuous, automatic updates. That makes for a more holistic and rapid development cycle. As such, it is a cornerstone of the DevOps methodology and best explains how to become a DevOps engineer.
That's why in this stage of your DevOps complete roadmap, you will need knowledge of the entire CI/CD pipeline. That includes all four phases (source, build, test, and deploy). Tasks may include setting up a CI/CD server, automatic iteration updates, and stage gate approvals. Knowledge of popular CI/CD tools will also be of benefit:
- Azure DevOps
Become Proficient in Cloud Computing
It is rare to see data held on-premise anymore. The advantages of modern service management strategy are too numerous, and most projects you will work on now involve applications stored in cloud environments. That's why it is important for you to have basic skills with popular cloud platforms.
Amazon Web Service (AWS) is a leader in the cloud industry — you could devise your own AWS DevOps engineer roadmap if you so please. However, there are other major platforms with excellent use cases. Fundamental knowledge of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Heroku, and Alibaba can be advantageous throughout your career, though ideally you select one cloud provider and focus your energies. There are numerous boot camps and certifications you can complete throughout your professional development.
As a bonus, consider gaining advanced cloud design pattern skills as well. The cloud offers quick resource provisioning and configuring, and as such has become a stage of the roadmap DevOps engineers want to learn extensive supporting skills for.
Monitoring & Observability
You will need to learn about monitoring all aspects of the development lifecycle (integration, testing, deployment, etc). A real-time view of all applications and infrastructure is necessary to prevent downtimes or catch errors before they become larger hassles. The sooner your team can respond to problems, the better. But that only works if you continually track performance levels. A responsive team can better manage long-term impacts (a clear DevOps concept).
Luckily, there are numerous tools to support the important role of application monitoring and infrastructure monitoring. Nagios, Icing, Datadog, Jaeger, Zabbix, Monit, AppDynanic, and New Relic are all possible options. Prometheus and Grafana can also help you visualize your data. Select the tools that help you accomplish your goals or the solutions most likely used by your employer.
Understand Software Engineering Practices
There are several different development methodologies a company may opt for. Agile is common but often includes other processes such as Scrum and Kanban. Other options include Waterfall, Six Sigma, and Lean.
In short, there are many ways to manage the Software Development Lifecycle. As a DevOps engineer, it is a good idea to learn the best practices of development execution. Many overlook these types of leadership-based skills, but they are crucial aspects as you build your roadmap to become a DevOps engineer.
Read Additional Books and Manuals
Lastly, invest in your own education. Continuous feedback and improvement are core tenets of the DevOps culture, and you can apply that mindset to your growth. You can achieve that with a mind open to new opportunities or experimentation. That includes both theoretical and practical experience. As you acquire more skills, you will drastically improve the pace in which you complete your DevOps developer roadmap.
- The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations
- The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
- The Unicorn Project: A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data
We also have a list of useful books for a novice DevOps engineer that you can use as a starting point in your research.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when viewing the complete DevOps Roadmap. The vast knowledge requirements at each stage of your DevOps journey can appear daunting. But that also means you have numerous technologies to discover and explore — it is a long and exciting career.
Use the DevOps journey map as your step-by-step guide to ensure you focus on the core tools that will drive results and help you reach your goals. And if you need more support, head over to the Anywhere Club. Our network of IT professionals offers you a community full of IT courses, boot camps, and mentors. Join the team and get started on your DevOps Journey.