It is impossible to find two identical businesses out there. Nonetheless, they all have something in common: the aim to grow revenue and optimize operational costs. In this article, we will focus more on the second aspect.
Cost optimization (in technical fields) is tightly tied to DevOps, as it allows you to build, test, and deploy faster, thus saving resources. In fact, partnering with a DevOps team allows you to automate software development, optimize delivery costs, and speed up your digital transformation.
How to find the best DevOps team for your project? What skills should you look for? As a company with significant DevOps expertise and over 50 successful DevOps projects, we want to share some tips and guidance on finding the best experts.
How can DevOps professionals help your business?
Your DevOps team either helps you set up the processes (e.g., build a CI/CD pipeline) or assesses your current ones, offers ways to improve them and helps you implement all the necessary changes. DevOps services typically cover the following:
- Adopting or migrating to cloud and setting up its infrastructure;
- Creating delivery pipeline and continuous integration;
- Conducting security audit and infrastructure;
- Optimizing and automating processes, etc.
DevOps will help you achieve three main benefits for your business:
Partnering with DevOps experts for your software development project boosts the speed of product release by introducing CI/CD. With this approach, engineers can fix system bugs starting from the early stages of the development process. Moreover, DevOps provides a faster reaction to requests of your customers, adding new features, and updating existing ones.
The implementation of a DevOps methodology involves an ongoing emphasis on quality assurance throughout the development and deployment phases of a product. DevOps professionals take responsibility for tasks such as coding, code reviews, and iterations without needing to involve QA experts, resulting in a streamlined and faster process.
Typically, DevOps teams are small and handle development and operations tasks independently. This smaller team size means improved communication between members, greater agility, and enhanced productivity.
Despite the potential advantages, realizing the benefits of DevOps can be challenging without significant expertise within an organization. Additionally, managing a DevOps team presents difficulties of its own. Consequently, many businesses opt to partner with a reliable vendor that offers DevOps services. However, identifying a suitable vendor that can meet their particular business requirements can be a complex task. Let us explore how to navigate this process.
What are the main characteristics of a trusted DevOps partner?
When looking for experts for your DevOps team, seek the ones with the following characteristics:
Extensive tech background
While a professional DevOps engineer may come from any academic background, posessing a computer science degree can be an extra point for the candidate. However, the most critical factor in selecting a suitable candidate is their practical experience. It is a good idea to seek engineers who have worked in multiple roles, such as system administrators and developers, for several years. Such experts are more likely to bring valuable knowledge and expertise to the team due to their hands-on experience with various IT operations.
Proper programming skills
A comprehensive understanding of off-the-shelf tools, as well as the ability to develop custom solutions through coding and scripting, is crucial for a DevOps expert. Scripting knowledge may involve the utilization of tools like PowerShell or Bash, while coding proficiency may encompass a range of programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, Ruby, and others.
Matching industry expertise
While technical expertise is crucial, it is not the only factor to consider when evaluating candidates for DevOps positions. A deep understanding of the specific industry domain is also essential. Therefore, when seeking a technology partner or candidate, it is crucial to prioritize individuals or firms with relevant experience within your domain.
Experience with one or several major Cloud providers
In addition to other responsibilities, DevOps professionals commonly work with public cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS. Therefore, it is essential to partner with a reliable provider of cloud services who has extensive experience working with public clouds. This ensures that the DevOps team can effectively manage these platforms, resulting in seamless cloud integration and optimized performance.
Knowledge of database systems
During the deployment stage, data processing plays a critical role, that requires the use of SQL and NoSQL database models. Hence, it is essential for DevOps experts to possess a solid understanding of databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, MongoDB, Cassandra, Redis, and other relevant database models.
Experience with test automation tools
Automated software testing is a crucial yet complex component of software development. Therefore, it is vital for your DevOps team to have experience with automation tools, such as Jenkins. This experience ensures that the team is well-equipped to conduct automated software testing, resulting in more efficient software development process.
Interpersonal and communication skills
Apart from tech expertise, interpersonal skills are crucial for successful team performance. Cooperation lies at the heart of DevOps culture, and therefore, it is vital to hire professionals who can establish clear and effective communication within the team.
However, before evaluating candidate skills, finding suitable experts is the first step. If you want to hire a DevOps team, you would need an experienced DevOps vendor with a sufficient talent pool to meet the needs of your project. Let us explore the available options.
How to hire a DevOps team?
Now, let’s take a look and how you can find and hire experts with such skills fast and without redundant headaches.
1. Choose where to hire developers
There are multiple options to explore when searching for DevOps professionals:
- In-house: This option involves hiring DevOps experts as full-time employees. While such employees are highly reliable, finding and hiring them can be a challenging task, especially if seeking rare skills. The hiring process may take several months, involving sifting through numerous CVs and conducting multiple interviews.
- Freelance: Freelance platforms are the fastest and most convenient way to find temporary employees. However, while speed and convenience are benefits, freelancers are often not a long-term solution as they frequently switch jobs based on pay.
- Outsourced or outstaffed engineers: Outsourcing is the best alternative for businesses that lack the necessary in-house talent but need to initiate a project quickly. Partnering with a reliable software outsourcing vendor offers access to their top talent pool, enabling you to hire a DevOps team for long-term projects faster. Outstaffing allows you to engage external experts from your vendor’s talent pool, boosting your in-house team’s performance.
2. 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 vendors matching your requirements and narrow down your search for a vendor that will overtake managing of your DevOps team.
3. Specify the details and ask the right questions
After you have shortlisted the DevOps vendors, you may want to get in touch with the potential providers of DevOps services and specify the details of the partnership. To make the most informed choice when searching a vendor that will help you adopt a DevOps team model, you need to ask the right questions. Here are some of the aspects you need to clarify with your tech partner:
What is their DevOps expertise?
A trustworthy vendor that offers DevOps services should demonstrate a solid track record of successful projects. These projects should encompass the use of diverse technologies and extensive expertise, as DevOps proficiency can be a critical element in your project's success.
At N-iX, we provide a wide range of DevOps services tailored to meet your project's specific requirements. Our offerings include on-premise to Cloud migration services, infrastructure configuration, application development, and more, serving businesses 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 experience working in your industry domain and managing a DevOps team. Finding DevOps professionals is a challenge in and of itself, but finding an expert with practical experience in your specific industry can be even more challenging.
N-iX is a custom software development partner that works with clients in finance, manufacturing, supply chain, retail, e-commerce, healthcare, and other industries. 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?
Meeting relevant security standards is crucial for successful product development in many industries. For example, ISO standards are widely used in software development for manufacturing in the US and the EU. Compliance with these standards is necessary for product certification, so it's important to work with a development partner who streamlines the development process according to these standards. At N-iX, our DevOps professionals are certified to meet security and quality management standards like 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.
Do they encourage the certification of DevOps experts?
Cloud vendors such as AWS, Azure, or GCP offer their own DevOps certifications to showcase a professional's skills and proficiency in using specific tools. The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer-Professional Certification, for instance, proves the technical knowledge in provisioning, operating, and managing distributed application systems on the AWS platform.
Moreover, it's essential to ensure that your potential DevOps partner has a strong internal DevOps community. At N-iX, we have a DevOps community that fosters knowledge sharing among experts from different projects and domains. These meetups help our DevOps professionals enhance their skills and expertise and enable our clients to maximize their DevOps transformation.
Partnering with a DevOps team: success stories
Streamlining operations and optimizing costs in energy
Our partner, one of the largest energy suppliers in the UK, sought to enhance their business efficiency and collaboration with an affiliated company by creating a unified platform to manage their boiler insurance operations.
Through our partnership, the client reaped several notable benefits:
- Reduced management overhead and operational costs by up to 70%
- Decreased infrastructure expenses by up to 50%
- Improved operational efficiency and streamlined collaboration with the affiliated company via a new unified back-office platform
- Enhanced customer satisfaction by delivering a new website with an intuitive UI and multiple useful features
- Boosted employee productivity by automating payment collection and minimizing manual work
- Accelerated time-to-market by utilizing automation tests and setting up a CI/CD pipeline
- Achieved significant cost savings by integrating with Bottlerocket OS and Karpenter cluster autoscaler.
Keep reading about optimizing costs in energy
Why hire a DevOps team from N-iX?
- With over 20 years in the software development market, N-iX has long-standing expertise in various domains, including logistics and supply chain, manufacturing, fintech, healthcare, retail, agritech, telecom, and more;
- N-iX has more than 45 DevOps experts on board who successfully delivered over 50 DevOps implementation projects;
- N-iX has a strong presence on the US market, partnering with numerous US industry leaders such as Gogo, Fluke Corporation, Office Depot, Seeking Alpha, TuneIn, and many others;
- The vendor is compliant with PCI DSS, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and GDPR data protection standards;
- We are a certified AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, Microsoft Gold Certified partner, and Google Cloud Platform Partner.