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DevOps – an emerging methodology

Date: 17 March 2017

No longer merely a buzzword in the technology industry, ‘DevOps’ has established itself as a serious methodology for streamlining business processes and improving software and IT service delivery efficiencies.  It is however more than just a methodology – it is a culture, a mind-set in itself, and can be used to achieve unprecedented levels of collaboration and organizational improvement.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of practices, tools, and policies that brings together different departments within a business to create a more efficient and collaborative approach to software delivery and new systems deployment. It is a combination of development and operations. In the past, product managers, business analysts, and software engineers worked together to create a release plan for a new system – DevOps replicates this process but in a much more streamlined and agile way.

As the DevOps culture gains momentum worldwide, San Francisco is emerging as one of the key centres for adoption. Here at Glocomms, we have witnessed a sharp and significant rise in the demand for candidates with relevant DevOps skills. Over the last few months, large and small businesses have begun to understand the multiple benefits of adopting this new kind of framework.

Why choose DevOps?

So what are these benefits? Some companies are already making the transition from traditional IT operations and development practices to DevOps, and it is predicted that by the end of the year, 25% of Global 2000 organizations will adopt DevOps as a practice. A further 10% of organisations questioned by a techradarPro survey said they plan to adopt DevOps practices within the next 12 months.

This highlights DevOps’ evolution from a niche methodology to a mainstream strategy. Competency is therefore becoming an essential resumé item with its specific practices and toolsets – but senior-level candidate numbers in this field are lacking.

Some of the benefits afforded by DevOps are:

  • An ability to deploy code more frequently than competition
  • Continuous software delivery
  • More stable operating environments
  • Faster delivery of features or new services
  • Improved ability to respond to changing business requirements

Smaller businesses may well find it easier to implement DevOps, as the methodology itself is still in an embryonic stage, and can be built into a start-up or a smaller business from the roots. DevOps in such companies encourages tighter communication and lessens the impact of limited resources right from the start.

Established companies such as Netflix, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn have already recognised the benefits of a DevOps strategy and embraced the practice in house. Netflix in particular, is investing significant sums developing a DevOps team and an overall company culture that welcomes this new way of working. The Chaos Monkey bug is a smart-failure system that is designed to continuously disrupt Netflix’s systems; DevOps engineers are therefore constantly working to adapt to continuous failures, which in turn helps them build more resistant systems. But this is only possible with a company culture that trusts these professionals to do their jobs.

This is where a number of businesses are failing – company culture has not yet caught up with the new business framework in place.

What skills do DevOps professionals need?

DevOps is by nature, cross-functional and cross-disciplinary. Employers therefore look favorably on candidates with experience within different business functions, for example those who have worked in engineering, systems development, and operations.

Some of the technical skills required may include continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) experience, as well as automation and configuration management (CM), and automated acceptance testing and system/application monitoring. A typical DevOps-enabled organization might expect proficiency with CM tools like Chef, Puppet or Ansible, as well as other automation and orchestration platforms like Jenkins and Travis CI. Increasingly, continuous security monitoring and integrity validation solutions also form part of desired skillsets, as do Containerization technologies such as Docker and CoreOS’ Rocket.

Softer skills required by DevOps professions include communication, collaboration and co-operation. Candidates need to be able to break down barriers between technical teams and the rest of the business in order for this approach to reach its maximum commercial potential.

Glocomms & the DevOps market

When it comes to DevOps candidates, demand is currently outstripping supply. As DevOps is a relatively new growth area, experienced candidates will find themselves in high demand. Jobsignal.io recently revealed that the average DevOps salary is $10,000 more than a developer role. And the region offering the best compensation for candidates now is right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you would like to learn how implementing DevOps into your team could benefit your business, get in touch.

Tagged In: Glocomms
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