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The Ultimate Guide To DevOps Hiring & DevOps Best Practices

The Ultimate Guide To DevOps Hiring & DevOps Best Practices

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Updated: October 30, 2021

Finding it hard to maintain delivery timelines with your software? When your team is divided into a software development and operations team, there is always a huge gap between creation and delivery.

While software development is focused on planning and executing codes, the operations team tests it out in real-life situations. So, the waiting period for feedback often causes a huge delay.

The only way to make this process seamless is to Hire DevOps Engineer.  Now, based on your company culture, product or goals, the meaning of DevOps varies, So DevOps hiring or consultant is no easy feat.

The good news is that there are some basic thumb rules that can help you with the process, or at least get you started. Here is everything that you need to know about hiring DevOps for your company.

What is DevOps and Why Is It Important?

Hiring-Practices-DevOps

 

In the simplest terms, DevOps is a synergy between your development team and operations team. For any end-user oriented product, there are a few stages that it needs to go through. These tasks are divided between the development and operations teams.

To understand what a DevOps engineer can do for your business, you need to understand the differentiation between these two teams.

Let us say you have a new application or software that you want to sell to a customer or implement in your organization.

The software development team plans the product- this includes the UI, the functionality and the code. Once they have completed this, they hand it over to the operations team who will deploy and test it in real-life situations. Then, if there are any bugs or issues, they report back to the development team.

This instantly causes a lull in the process. The development team must wait for the feedback. In the meantime, if they are assigned a new project, the former goes on a waiting list. This results in a vicious cycle that delays the whole process.

DevOps engineers fix this gap. They have the skills and experience that can break this barrier and help create a smooth and continuous cycle that is often called the DevOps infinity loop.

What is the DevOps Infinity Loop and Why is It So Important?

DevOps Infinity Loop

 

A DevOps infinity loop allows you to create and release software without any break in the process. This loop includes a few key phrases: 

  • Planning- This is when the development team and the stakeholders determine the features and goals of the project.
  • Code and build: The developers write the code and check it into a repository which is the single, easily accessible source. Then, using an automation tool, the build phase is initiated. This is where the code is retrieved and executed.
  • Integration: When you have multiple teams working on the code, it is merged into the central repository. The DevOps engineers use automation tools for code review, testing and validation.
  • Testing: DevOps testing is different from manual testing. While it does not entirely replace human testers, it uses certain tools for continuous testing. One common tool is Selenium which helps you test multiple codes parallelly. These tools also generate detailed reports that help stakeholders assess the functionality of the product.
  • Deployment: The last stage of the development cycle, which is deployment, is usually the most chaotic one. It consists of a series of manual, time-consuming processes. DevOps eliminates all these processes and ensures continuous deployment through automation. Every code is taken through the DevOps pipeline for immediate production. This allows you to schedule several deployments in a day, based on the volume generated by the team.
  • Operations: The IT admins are given reliable software management tools that help them collect data and operational details about the code once it is in production.
  • Monitoring: The DevOps infinity loop is complete with continuous monitoring. Using tools like Wireshark, the software is continuously monitored. These tools create easy communication and collaboration channels between the development and operations teams. They are given alerts as production issues occur to eliminate any waiting time.

So, the role of the DevOps engineer is to put methodologies, tools, and procedures into place to keep the infinite loop of communication between the teams.

Now, this changes from one company to another. Therefore, it is very difficult to define the role of a DevOps engineer, making it even harder to hire one that fits into your organization.

Why Does Your Company Need DevOps? 

The next question is, does your company benefit from hiring DevOps? Let us take a look at the advantages that a DevOps engineer brings to an organization:

  • Software deployment is faster with continuous updates.
  • The work environment is stabilized. The stress of fixing software or adding new features is significantly reduced, making your teams more productive.
  • Production quality improves as you get consistent feedback from the end-user.
  • Automation helps you eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks, giving you more headspace for innovation.
  • Get reliable and quick techniques to solve technical errors or other problems from the time of creating until the deployment of the software.
  • Production and management costs are reduced by a large margin. With maintenance and feedback being automated, you also save on time. In business, time is money.
  • Software delivery timelines are shorter.
  • Your teams are highly productive with seamless collaboration and communication.
  • The IT infrastructure of the company improves. You experience lower downtime as fixes and updates are put into a continuous process.
  • Security of your IT infrastructure and data improves.

Then we come to another vital question, do all businesses require DevOps?

Essentially, any organization that is involved in creating applications and innovating in the field of technology needs a DevOps team. Others who are merely using IT services and products may benefit from a DevOps team as they scale up. If you use customized software for business operations, implementing DevOps will help you stay ahead, prevent downtime and also innovate specifically for your business.

Common Misconceptions about DevOps

The DevOps role is a less understood one. It is a dynamic role that is also shrouded in myths and misconceptions.
In order to hire a good DevOps Consulting team, you should be aware of these misconceptions:

DevOps is a job title
Just because someone has the term DevOps in their title or resume, it does not mean that they are suitable for the role. DevOps is a mentality and a way of working. The individual should be able to understand different technologies and must also be adept in working with people.

DevOps means adopting different tools
With the DevOps movement picking up pace, the biggest misconception is that you just have to follow a checklist and adopt automation tools. While this is integral to the DevOps loop, there is more. When you use DevOps to streamline processes, you must make a cultural shift. It is more about enabling collaboration. As opposed to common belief, DevOps is more about the people than it is about automation.

Employing DevOps Engineers Means That You Will Release Software Every 5 Minutes
The release of the software is based on need. It may be several times a day sometimes or every couple of weeks. Take Facebook, for example. They roll out changes whenever a problem is detected and a solution is engineered. The same allies for Netflix and Amazon, who are pioneers in the DevOps movement.

You can get a DevOps Certification
There are so many online courses that are offering certification courses for DevOps. Sure, they teach you about important software and technology. But, these certifications are not a test of whether someone is a good DevOps engineer or not. It requires several other skills including people management, problem-solving, communication and even some knowledge about marketing a brand.

Challenges with Hiring DevOps

Now, let us come to the most important issue at hand. Why is it so difficult to hire DevOps? 

  • Shortage of talent: A DevOps engineer must have sound technical knowledge. This includes programming skills, understanding of Quality Analysis, knowledge about the SDLC or software development life cycle and a lot more. This means that you cannot hire someone straight out of university or college. DevOps engineers are usually senior and experienced individuals. This makes it hard to fill that gap in the market for talent.
  • Assessing talent is challenging: There is no ‘course’ or ‘certificate’ that can help you gauge the qualification of the individual. It is also not about seniority. DevOps is more a mindset, than a skill. So, identifying good talent can be difficult.
  • The field is very competitive: Given that there is so much demand and so little talent, this field is naturally competitive. This means hiring a fully experienced DevOps engineer can be expensive.
  • It is difficult to define the role for your organization: The biggest question you need to ask yourself before hiring a DevOps engineer is, ‘what does this role mean for your organization?’. Once you understand what gaps the DevOps engineer needs to bridge between your teams, you can decide on the skills that are key to fulfilling this role.

How to Identify Good DevOps?

Here are some simple tips to help you identify a good DevOps engineer:

  • Basic technical knowledge is a must. They should have an understanding of networking technology, server function, encryption, database, storage and security.
  • Formal technical training is not enough. Experience is a must with a DevOps engineer.
  • Soft skills are very valuable. Your DevOps engineer must be able to lead a team, solve problems on the go and help people collaborate effectively.
  • Focus on the personality of the individual. If you feel like they do not have a collaborative mindset or have set ways of working because of seniority, it is best to keep your search on.
  • Frequent job changes on the resume is a red flag. It is a good idea to find out why they chose to spend short durations at so many organizations.

Best Practices in Hiring DevOps

There are some best practices and strategies that can help you overcome the above-mentioned challenges: 

  • Create a DevOps vision for your organization: As mentioned before, the meaning of DevOps changes from one organization to the other. You need to set specific goals while implementing DevOps. Identify the issues that you want to solve and the processes that you want to streamline.
  • Attitude matters: DevOps is a cultural shift from the regular IT silos that we identify. There is a good chance that your staff may resist this change. So, you need a DevOps engineer who has the personality to handle these challenges. There is a good chance, you may even lose some of your senior employees during the transition process. Does your DevOps engineer have the skill to prevent this or make changes based on requirements in these situations?
  • Look for DevOps in the right places: Given that the DevOps community is very small, there are some waterholes where you can find great talent. This includes social media outlets like LinkedIn. You will also notice that there are DevOps conferences that take place regularly. Build your network in the initial stages so that when there is an urgency to fill a vacancy, you have leads in place.
  • Create your own DevOps engineers: According to Indeed, DevOps engineers are the hardest roles to fill. The best way to help your organization is to identify individuals who are already technically sound and invest in soft skills and management training.  

DevOps Engineer or Consultant: Which One To Choose

If your requirement is ongoing and continuous, then hiring a DevOps Engineer is a good idea. A DevOps Consultant is an expert who can offer his services only when required.

Which one should you hire? Let us take some points into consideration:

  • DevOps engineers are very difficult to find. So, in case you have an urgent requirement, a DevOps consultant can give you a bird’s eye view of the whole process and help you streamline it.
  • It is cheaper to hire a DevOps engineer if you are in the business of innovation. This means that you need continuous feedback and output. Going to a consultant is not only expensive but also inconvenient.
  • Security is a major concern with consultants. If the consultant is not properly verified or skilled, your data is at risk.

Ultimately, it depends upon your business and what your final DevOps vision is. Always remember the golden rule of DevOps while recruiting. It is the management of people, not just tools and checklists.

If you find DevOps recruitment challenging, BitCot offers the perfect solutions for you. We help you Hire Full-Time DevOps Engineers or consultants based on the specific requirements of your organization.

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    Raj Sanghvi BitCot CEO

    Author: Raj Sanghvi

    Raj Sanghvi is a technologist and founder of BitCot, a full-service award-winning software development company. With over 15 years of innovative coding experience creating complex technology solutions for businesses like IBM, Sony, Nissan, Micron, Dicks Sporting Goods, HDSupply, Bombardier and more, Sanghvi helps build for both major brands and entrepreneurs to launch their own technologies platforms.

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