1 Aug 2023 · Culture

    A Quick Overview of the DevOps Engineer Role

    8 min read

    DevOps is becoming increasingly important as organizations strive to be more agile in creating their systems. However, most of them still struggle to find a balance when using this method.

    A report by Gartner states that 75% of DevOps efforts fail to meet expectations due to specific organizational learning issues. Some challenges you might find in handling Devops are:

    • Lack of collaboration
    • Unmanaged organizational change
    • Unrealistic expectations in DevOps

    DevOps engineers bridge the gap between development and operations teams to ensure quick and efficient software releases to the market. 

    By combining two disciplines (development and operations), they create more efficient and effective workflows for faster delivery of products and services. This helps your company to stay competitive in the ever-changing market.

    This article will provide an in-depth look at the responsibilities and qualifications required to become a DevOps engineer.

    What is DevOps?

    A combination of software development and operations, DevOps is a methodology that aims to build and improve products faster than traditional processes, where development and operations are siloed and separated.

    DevOps increases your ability to maintain customer satisfaction and compete better on the market.

    Using this approach, you encourage faster development by automating and collaborating throughout the software lifecycle.

    Your teams also ensure that the application they create is secure and compliant with industry standards. This protects your organization from potential legal and financial risks associated with software vulnerabilities.

    DevOps can be combined with several other methodologies, including Agile and Lean.

    What is a DevOps engineer?

    A DevOps engineer is an IT professional with a broad knowledge of development and operations in an organization. They introduce tools, systems, and processes to balance the team’s needs throughout the software development cycle.

    The development and IT operations teams have different functions and responsibilities. While development deals more with building the features of an app, IT operations focus on maintaining its stability once it is on the market.

    DevOps engineers consolidate the two teams’ functions via code, application management, and maintenance based on the DevOps philosophy and its tools.

    Key responsibilities of a DevOps engineer

    DevOps engineers take on the following responsibilities with the role.

    Writing and editing code

    DevOps engineers know how to write code to automate systems and prevent errors. Additionally, DevOps engineers can troubleshoot and debug applications they built themselves. They apply security patches via coding and test if they work properly with their applications.

    Most crucially, engineers oversee code that other programmers and developers have written.

    Project management

    DevOps engineers contribute to setting goals and strategies for a project. They introduce appropriate methodologies and tools for the team to use, and optimize processes as needed. For instance, DevOps engineers can implement and maintain continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines to make updates and fixes quicker. Furthermore, they devise procedures for troubleshooting in case something goes wrong.

    Monitoring and tracking staff communications

    DevOps engineers use a variety of tools to monitor and track staff communications. This ensures that the teams are on the same page and that any issues are addressed quickly.

    They create team channels, moderate conversations, and conduct team meetings as a way to engage each team member. In this way, they can send relevant files and tickets, verify information, and ask questions regarding tasks.

    Server administration

    DevOps engineers handle the company’s servers that run their systems, including virtual machines and serverless functions.

    They ensure that each network runs as intended and can support its users and applications. 

    To do this, DevOps engineers understand the server’s requirements, including their operating system(s) and other software.

    They are also responsible for managing resources, such as memory and network bandwidth, to ensure optimal resource efficiency and usage.

    DevOps engineers also troubleshoot server issues, identify root causes, and implement solutions. After which they coordinate with the development and IT teams to avoid further problems.

    Evaluating and coaching team members

    DevOps engineers serve as the team leads for development and IT. They evaluate team performance to see if they are hitting their metrics productivity goals.

    DevOps engineers are primarily responsible for setting performance metrics and standards for teams. In this way, they can monitor how their teams fare in terms of the system’s quality and customer satisfaction, among other things.

    Often, some employees need to catch up in terms of reaching metrics or using new tools at work. DevOps engineers ensure no one is left behind by conducting training and coaching sessions as required.


    Before the system is built, DevOps engineers create the prototype. They envisage the application according to the client’s wishes, from its look and feel to its navigation.

    The DevOps engineer builds the system’s architecture from this prototype, with hardware, software, and network components.

    They also develop security protocols according to industry standards. For instance, payment apps must have means to encrypt a customer’s personal data in accordance with PCI-DSS compliance.

    With this in place, they will tap their development team to build the system. This includes writing code, configuring the system, and testing to ensure that the system meets the client’s requirements. 

    Testing systems performance

    DevOps engineers test their current systems to see if they work as intended. They also keep a record of system logs for potential issues and bottlenecks.

    DevOps engineers use various tools to test a system’s performance, with the most common involving JMeter, LoadRunner, and Gatling. These tools allow for more accurate evaluation by simulating user scenarios and measuring response time and resource utilization.

    Additionally, DevOps engineers use A/B testing to compare the performance between different versions. This helps them identify which performs better and to make changes accordingly.


    Last, DevOps engineers ensure that there is an appropriate level of security for every process and the app itself.

    DevOps engineers conduct security audits for software, which involves scanning for known security flaws. Once potential vulnerabilities are identified, they can perform steps to mitigate them, such as additional security controls or rewriting some parts of the code.

    Implementing the latest security patches and updates is crucial to a DevOps engineer’s work. This ensures that any newly-discovered vulnerabilities are addressed quickly and effectively.

    DevOps engineer qualifications

    DevOps engineers must possess specific qualifications.

    Most companies look for experience and certifications rather than educational attainment. Therefore, if you want to work in DevOps, it is recommended that you focus on gaining appropriate work experience and skills.

    Extensive knowledge of programming and IT, and experience in handling and monitoring teams are some of the most common aspects that make an applicant qualified for this role.

    Skills and certifications

    Programming skills and certifications

    Another path involves learning programming and coding. Tons of free and paid programming boot camps are available on the market to help you understand the basics of programming.

    Apart from this, you must learn more complex programming aspects, including the following:

    • Algorithms
    • Data structures
    • Databases
    • Object-oriented programming (OOP)
    • Integrated development environments (IDE)
    • Cloud computing

    You can get certified for one or more specializations as a way to showcase your skills to your employers. The most common certifications for DevOps engineers include:

    Work experience

    While learning software development is recommended, developers are not the only professionals who are qualified for this position.

    Previous roles

    Anyone from your team holding a related position is qualified to become a DevOps engineer. This includes system administrators and software testers. They are qualified for the position as long as they have extensive experience maintaining and managing systems.

    Communication and collaboration

    In addition, DevOps engineers should have strong communication and collaboration skills. It’s best to harness them with experience collaborating with team members and other departments for a software project.

    Project management

    DevOps engineers must have ample experience with various project management methods. Specifically, as a good starting point, they should be familiar with agile and lean methods.

    How to get qualified as a DevOps engineer

    There are certain ways one can get qualified as a DevOps engineer.

    Applicants must first possess a role involving software development or IT. Some options include software tester, UI/UX developer, and IT specialist.

    Get certified

    Getting certified highlights an applicant’s skills and expertise in IT and development. So, it’s a good idea to get certifications from legitimate institutions that provide them.

    Take internships or freelance work

    One way to gain appropriate skills and work experience for the role is through internships and freelance work. Many organizations offer development internships for fresh graduates and employees venturing into a new career.

    Conclusion: hiring a DevOps engineer

    In conclusion, DevOps engineers perform the essential task of pulling the entire technology operation together. This can be a great boon to a company.

    While DevOps engineers can be hired traditionally, i.e. in-house, recruiting engineers is increasingly common.

    All in all, hiring a DevOps engineer is the best way to optimize the entire development process.

    This article was written by Derek Gallimore, CEO Analyst at Outsource Accelerator.

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    Writen by:
    Outsourcing expert Derek Gallimore is the Founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, the world's leading outsourcing marketplace and advisory. Derek has been in the industry for almost a decade -- and he is a passionate believer in the power of outsourcing to grow your business. When he's not helping businesses with their outsourcing needs, Derek loves traveling, experiencing new cultures, keeping fit, exploring longevity, and living a full life.
    Reviewed by:
    I picked up most of my skills during the years I worked at IBM. Was a DBA, developer, and cloud engineer for a time. After that, I went into freelancing, where I found the passion for writing. Now, I'm a full-time writer at Semaphore.