Step Up to DevOps – The Elevator to The Future

Sometimes, when you walk into your office, the world looks quite alien to what it used to be just a few years back. Gone are the burdens of monolithic software. Away and out is the heavy-lifting that most application development cycles used to suffer. You don’t see any more shelves of pending files and bugs. You do not sneeze at the dust that would pour on you when you entered those dark and dingy server rooms. As IT is becoming modular and we see the rise of microservices, Cloud-first applications, containers and AI- the way you work on applications – gets lighter, gets sharper. It’s an expanding paradigm, upending the application model for many businesses. 

Agility is a fundamental part of application development- it becomes the ground that IT teams stand on- not a fancy sky they may, or may not, touch. The same imperatives trickle into your lives as an IT professional. And that’s where you cannot afford to ignore DevOps and the skills that it lays down the path for. 

What is DevOps and why is it important?

You must be familiar with this new IT zeitgeist by now. It is a new software development approach that injects better collaboration between the development and the operations teams. DevOps aims to bridge the gap between developers and operations during software development – this is intended to elevate agility, create productive and efficient workflows, and leverage collaborative innovation. DevOps has broken the long-standing walls between development and operations. Now developers and operations teams are not working in islands or cubicles constructed far away from each other. Culturally, psychologically and literally – they are close to each other – with no room for latency. They are leveraging the tenets of collaboration, continuous development, continuous monitoring, iterative development, and on-the-go fixes- as they ship out applications in a lean, fast, and seamlessly together manner. You do not need to be told – how this transpires for the talent landscape. As they embrace DevOps with intense enthusiasm, organizations will need more DevOps talent- fast and good.

Demand for DevOps professionals

As per a recent report from the DevOps Institute- based on 2,000 IT professionals worldwide – we can gather that the continued adoption of DevOps needs deep support from a learning organization. This has to be bolstered with the continuous development of multi-faceted, skilled DevOps professionals. In ‘Upskilling 2021: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report’, it was noted that seventy percent felt that a learning organization was a predominant model–the DevOps way of working–while 45 percent leaned toward a safety culture. Also, 39 percent struggled with a defined and systematic up-skilling program. However, 52 percent of organizations already have a formally designed up-skilling program or are currently developing one. Plus, sixty percent of organizations are recruiting now or in the future – with no interruption from the pandemic turbulence.

DevOps job titles, roles, and responsibilities

The Upskilling 2021 report indicates that the essential skills for a successful DevOps person cover many areas like – automation, human, technical, functional, process and framework and domain categories. Also, 47% of the survey respondents have identified SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) skills as a must-have skill in the process and framework skill domain this year (this was at 28% in the previous year’s survey). Not far behind are other proficiency areas – like DataOps -voted by 27% as a must-have skill domain in the automation tool skill domain. Like- models – that received 22%. And, of course, is the most demanded job category- there were DevOps engineers. They constituted 53% of recently recruited DevOps positions. Operational engineering is another area gaining prominence- with 60% of respondents planning to recruit for operations engineering – as per the 2022 data on Upskilling. Other roles that show a pronounced appetite are – Team Leader (40%), DevOps Engineer, Software Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer, Infrastructure Engineer and Automation Architect (the top five job titles recently hired). In addition, there was a spotlight on security and cybersecurity (identified by 92% as essential skills) and some form of DevSecOps (by 93%).

Common DevOps challenges

Fast forward to the 2022 Upskilling report from DevOps Institute, and we can immediately observe that inadequacy of DevOps talent is a prime challenge. About 47% showed that resource and skill shortage is one of their top three challenges. Even if 52% of the survey respondents claimed that they have formal up-skilling in place, 27% have only begun to develop one, and 16% still do not have a formal up-skilling program. Also, lack of time (53%), lack of budget (47%), lack of content in topic or depth (32%), and lack of priority from leadership (29%) emerged as some salient barriers to DevOps.

Industry observations and reports echo the fundamental need of the hour. DevOps at any organization hinges a lot on the breadth and depth of capabilities and the supporting skills of the team members and within the team. The enterprises with the DNA of a learning organization and commitment to continuous learning, get a headway here. Also, we need to remember that though 93% of organizations (in the 2022 report) opine that human skills are critical, just addressing the technical side of skills will not suffice unless human skills like collaboration, creativity and initiative are also given priority. The reports iterate that managing talent debt alongside technical debt helps to strengthen competitiveness and drives organizational growth.

In the 2021 State of Continuous Delivery Report (from CD Foundation- part of the Linux Foundation)- it was noticed that in 2021 – while only 26% of developers don’t participate in DevOps activity, only five percent of developers identify themselves or their job title as being a DevOps engineer/specialist. There are also voids in the adjacent areas of DevOps execution. For example, just 32% of developers make continuous integration part of their deployment process, and the figure drops to 29% when it comes to continuous deployment. Merely 18 percent of developers use both continuous integration and continuous deployment for fully automating the code development pipeline into deployment and operations.

How to build DevOps expertise?

The DevOps scenario gets even more underlined on skills in the 2022 report. But what’s notable is that in 2022, up-skilling has emerged as much an individual endeavor as it is an organizational responsibility. It turns out that IT professionals ultimately control and manage their own up-skilling journeys. In fact, recruiting trends confirm this pattern – and remind us that building critical skill sets is a worthy personal investment. So there is an imperative for continuously upgrading these main areas- Process and Framework skills, Human skills, Technical skills, Automation skills, and Leadership skills. If teams are spending 54% of their time globally on tool-related up-skilling or training across dev, sec, and IT- where does that accelerated pace of DevOps leave you?

Get a lead in DevOps with CMU DevOps program

According to the State of DevOps Report, 83% of IT decision-makers report their organizations are implementing DevOps practices to unlock higher business value through better quality software, faster delivery times, more secure systems, and the codification of principles. Unsurprisingly, developers and DevOps professionals remain in the hot seat as their organizations or customers demand that convenient and user-friendly solutions be created and deployed at an even faster rate, according to a recent IDC study.  

The Advanced Certificate Program in DevOps by Carnegie Mellon’s Executive Education Program in the School of Computer Science (CMU) helps tech professionals build the right expertise to tap into this massive DevOps opportunity. This unique 6-month program, designed and developed by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, is delivered by Lenn Bass and Hasan Yassar, the distinguished and globally recognized CMU faculty. You get to learn from the CMU faculty through LIVE interactive sessions, benefit from the best-in-class self-learning content, assessments, and hackathons and join the league of an elite Executive Alumni group of CMU. 

With the CMU DevOps program, you can cover that ground well by investing your time in building advanced capabilities in DevOps. 

Building advanced capabilities in DevOps would be brilliant. Next time, you won’t feel alien when you walk into the office. You would be the one who makes things happen – and not stare at them. Hit that switch. Embrace DevOps.


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