The idea of DevOps begins with the need to bring together two traditionally contentious departments within IT organizations – development and system operations. In this context, application developers are primarily involved in developing software, implementing changes, testing, and fixing defects. System operations experts, in turn, focus on the system’s availability and stability. Basically, you have one group of experts constantly pushing changes and another group that opposes changes as they disrupt the stability of the system.
The idea to bring the two groups together results in the emergence of DevOps, a workflow methodology that brings together development and operations. Eliminating the discord between two groups of experts is a great achievement for any business, but how do you make that happen? In this article, we are going to take a closer look at what DevOps actually is, what value it brings to your business, and how to find DevOps infrastructure engineers for your project.
What is DevOps and what is its role in your business?
DevOps is not a solution or a tool, it is a methodology employed by DevOps infrastructure engineers to bring together the development and operations within your IT ecosystem. The goal of infrastructure DevOps engineers is to create a connection between different departments that contribute to software creation and maintenance. DevOps allows for faster coding, testing, and updates to the existing code, which grants three main benefits for your business:
- Velocity. DevOps infrastructure engineers increase the product release speed by introducing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) that encourages faster feedback. That way developers can fix bugs in the system during the early development stages. Additionally, DevOps enables a faster reaction to customer requests as well as adding features and updating the existing ones.
- Quality. A DevOps approach also entails continuous quality assurance throughout the development and deployment of the product. The team of DevOps infrastructure engineers handles the coding, code reviews, and iterations on its own without involving the QA experts, making the whole process faster.
- Better team efficiency. Teams of IT infrastructure DevOps engineers are usually small and perform the whole scope of development and operations tasks on their own. More compact teams mean better communication between team members, agility, and higher productivity.
Read more: DevOps outsourcing: How to get it right
Who are DevOps infrastructure engineers and what are their strengths?
One could describe DevOps as a kind of cultural shift in IT organizations, a set of ideas, methodologies, and principles that can be used throughout organizations to maximize their efficiency. So, what role does the DevOps infrastructure engineer play in your organization and what are their main strengths?
DevOps: a force to bind all things
Let’s say you have a team that consists of developers, QA experts, automation architects, code release managers, and other types of experts your project might need. A DevOps specialist combines the knowledge and skills of both developers and system administrators, a senior-level technology professional who brings together all types of experts working on custom software development projects.
A wide range of responsibilities
As you might imagine, infrastructure DevOps engineers handle a wide range of tasks and responsibilities throughout the development process. Some of the common responsibilities of DevOps engineers include:
- Management of CI/CD
- Performance assessment and monitoring
- Creation of specifications and documentation for server-side features
- Infrastructure management
- Support in the adoption of DevOps practices
- Cloud deployment and management
Versatile expertise across industry domains
DevOps specialists also have a strong understanding of different development methodologies, specifically agile, which allows for iterative development. They also possess a profound industry knowledge, which makes IT infrastructure DevOps especially effective in almost any business context. Of course, an individual engineer who’s spent several years working on projects in the automotive industry might not be as effective in, say, retail. That is why partnering up with a software development company with cross-industry expertise and a talent pool of DevOps experts who have worked in different industries is necessary.
Read more: Top DevOps outsourcing companies in the world
7 essential skills to look for in a DevOps engineer
DevOps engineer is both a system administrator and a developer. Though the degree of each side of this coin might vary depending on the specifics of the project, your DevOps experts must have a sufficient experience in both fields. When looking for DevOps professionals, seek the ones with the following characteristics:
- Extensive tech background. A skilled DevOps engineer may rise up from any academic background, but a degree in computer science can be an extra point for the candidate. The most important factor here is the actual experience the person has, so you have to look for engineers who have worked across different roles, including system administrators and developers, for several years. Having a hands-on experience with different types of IT operations, these people are highly likely to bring valuable knowledge to the table.
- Programming skills. An infrastructure DevOps engineer has to have extensive knowledge of both off-the-shelf tools and be able to code and script custom solutions. Scripting often comes down to the knowledge of such tools as PowerShell or Bash, while coding might include all types of programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, Ruby, and more.
- Industry expertise. Technical skills are not the only thing that matters as your candidates must have a profound understanding of the industry domain you work in. It means that you need to look for a technology partner who has relevant experience in your domain.
- Knowledge of database systems. Data processing is an essential part of the deployment stage, which requires the use of SQL and NoSQL database models.
- Experienced with test automation tools. Automated software testing is complex but integral to the development of any software. That is why DevOps specialists must have experience working with such automation tools as Jenkins.
- Knowledge of Cloud solutions. An infrastructure DevOps engineer also works with public clouds such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon AWS. You need a reliable Cloud partner who offers a strong command of public clouds.
- Interpersonal and communication skills. Last but not least, interpersonal skills are vital to the proper performance of development teams. Cooperation is at the core of DevOps culture, and thus you need a person that can establish comfortable, fluent, and effective communication within the team.
But before you evaluate the skills of your candidates, you need to first find them. Finding infrastructure DevOps engineers is easier said than done. If you want to hire reliable DevOps experts, you would need an experienced DevOps development vendor who has a sufficient talent pool to satisfy the needs of your project. Let’s see what your options are.
How to find the best DevOps engineers for your project
Now that we have figured out who the DevOps professionals are and what skills they must have, let’s take a look and how you can find and hire such experts fast and without redundant headaches.
Read more: Cloud DevOps: how a single engineer can make or break your project
Choose where to hire developers
There are several routes you can take when looking for IT infrastructure DevOps experts:
- In-house. In-house experts are the most reliable employees but they are pretty hard to come by and hire. Hunting for good talent, especially such rare ones as DevOps infrastructure engineers, can be a daunting task. It might take you months upon months of filtering through CVs and interviews to hire a good expert for your project.
- Freelance. Freelance platforms are the fastest and the most straightforward way to find any type of employee for a short period of time. However, speed and convenience come with their own set of flaws. Freelancers are rarely a long-term solution as they tend to move around a lot jumping from one gig to another depending on who pays more.
- Outsourced or outsourced engineers. Outsourcing is the best option for businesses that don’t have the right talent in-house but need to kick the project off fast. Partnering up with a reliable software outsourcing vendor gives you access to their top talent, and you can thus hire DevOps engineers for long-term projects faster. Outstaffing also gives you the opportunity to engage external experts from your vendor’s talent pool boosting your in-house team’s performance.
Compile the list of potential partners
The best way to quickly compile a list of the best software outsourcing firms is to go to the ranking websites that offer overviews of technology vendors. Such websites as Clutch contain information on the vast numbers of technology providers across the globe. There, you can filter the vendors by industries, regions, ratings, technology focus, and more. That way, you can select several vendors that match your requirements and narrow down your search for DevOps experts.
Specify the details and ask the right questions
After you have shortlisted the potential DevOps vendors, you may want to get in touch with the potential DevOps providers and specify the details of the cooperation. To make the best choice when looking for a DevOps infrastructure vendor, you need to ask the right questions. Here are some of the things you need to clarify:
What is their DevOps expertise?
A reliable vendor that offers DevOps services must have a proven track record of successful DevOps engineering projects. These projects may encompass the use of a wide range of technologies and broad expertise. DevOps expertise can be a decisive factor in the success of your project.
N-iX offers a wide variety of DevOps services that can range depending on your project needs. For instance, we offer on-premise to Cloud migration services, infrastructure setup, application development, and much more to enterprises across Europe and North America.
Do they have experience in your market segment?
Market and industry expertise is as important as technical knowledge, and you need to partner up with a vendor who has actual experience working in your industry domain. Finding IT infrastructure DevOps experts is a challenge in and of itself, but finding an expert who has a practical experience in your specific industry can be even more challenging.
N-iX is a custom software development partner that works with clients in such industries as manufacturing, automotive, fintech, healthcare, telecom, and more. Over two decades on the market, we have helped hundreds of clients and gained invaluable hands-on experience across numerous industries.
Do they comply with relevant quality and security standards?
Compliance with the relevant standards is vital for successful product development across many industries. For instance, ISO standards are commonly used in manufacturing software development across the US and the EU. Compliance with the standards is vital for product certification, and you need a development partner who sets the development process according to such standards. N-iX DevOps infrastructure engineers are certified to meet security and quality management standards such as ISO 9001.
How do they ensure transparent communication?
You will need streamlined communication with your vendor, and your DevOps engineers will have to report all the aspects of the project, including potential issues and delays. Your development partner has to guarantee full transparency of the development process, convey all the vital data, and provide all the required documentation. Interpersonal communication within the team is also vital, so you may want to assess your candidate’s soft skills.
Partner with reliable DevOps engineering professionals
After a careful selection among the potential vendors, you can finally make the choice. Work with a partner who can provide reliable DevOps infrastructure engineering expertise that will bridge the gap between development and operations. You can outsource your entire project from product discovery up to market launch. Or you can use team extension service and acquire the talent you lack for the successful completion of the project.
Bridge the gaps between development and operations with N-iX
- N-iX has 20 years of experience across industry domains including manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, telecom, retail, and healthcare, to name a few;
- Our DevOps team consists of 45+ senior engineers who have already delivered over 50 successful projects;
- We operate across 9 global locations in Europe and the US providing our services to Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders around the world;
- N-iX complies with international security standards such as ISO 27001, ISO 9001, PCI DSS, and GDPR;
- N-iX is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and Google Cloud Platform Partner.