DevOps culture growing
DevOps is now important in many organisations

The continuing rise of DevOps culture

28 Apr 2015

Ever since the concept of DevOps was introduced at a conference in Belgium in 2009, the DevOps culture has grown from strength to strength to become a mainstream IT practice worldwide, says Stephen Killilea of Hays.

There are a lot of opinions about what DevOps is, but as of yet there is no definitive answer.

Wikipedia defines it as a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration (information sharing and web service usage), integration, automation, and measurement of cooperation between software developers and other IT professionals. This definition says a lot without really outlining the goal of DevOps.

Personally, I prefer Dustin Whittles’ brief definition of DevOps as operations working together with engineers to get things done faster in an automated and repeatable way.

Among all the definitions of DevOps there is one constant: DevOps is a cultural shift towards developers and operations working more efficiently in unison. Rather than looking at one-off fixes, a DevOps environment aims at creating enhancements among clusters of servers to ensure that operations is continued in an efficient, repeatable and automated way.

What jobs relate to DevOps?

In the past year I have seen DevOps recruitment move from niche to mainstream. It has passed the boundaries of the agile, relatively unstructured environment associated with a start-up, to being embraced by large companies in various industries. DevOps can now be found in IT teams across nearly all industries including gaming, banking, finance and mobile.

This is evidenced in a recent survey undertaken by Venturebeat, which showed that 55pc of companies surveyed in the US have implemented the principles of DevOps in their business, as well as 40pc of UK organisations.

The trends in employment have largely matched the growth of DevOps as a principle with increasing demands for engineers from DevOps environments or with the skills associated with DevOps.

Initially, when the idea of DevOps entered the commercial environment, the job title associated with this position was an Agile Systems Administrator. As it has increased in popularity, the titles have changed. The current positions I am seeing related to Devops are Site Reliability Engineer, Server Reliability Engineer and the rather functional Systems/Software Engineer. However, DevOps Engineer is definitely becoming more prevalent in this area.

As companies across multiple industries continue to embrace the DevOps culture, the demand for candidates with experience in Puppet, Bash, Chef or Python with cloud exposure has multiplied.

How do organisations attract suitable candidates?

From my experience of recruiting in IT, I’ve noticed that other nations in Europe embrace new IT trends a little quicker that we do in Ireland. DevOps is proving no different.

As a result of this, a lot of the candidates who have relevant experience in DevOps are based overseas. Organisations who wish to recruit candidates with experience in an agile DevOps environment have found that they have had to relocate employees for the position.

Of course there are many challenges to relocating candidates from others countries, so if you are a jobseeker based locally, who has worked with languages such as Python, Puppet, Chef and Bash, you could be in demand for organisations with a DevOps culture.

Equally, I am seeing software engineers taking steps towards more operational, if not purely operational, positions. These candidates can be especially valuable to organisations who are in the start-up process.

The nature of a DevOps environment is linked very closely to the size and culture of the organisation that has implemented it. For example, within a large financial institute the role of an engineer in a DevOps environment is very defined and process driven, whereas in a start-up the tasks undertaken by an engineer can vary, depending on the requirements of a business at a certain time.

Nevertheless, DevOps positions are continuing to grow and I don’t see this slowing down in the near future. It is now part of the mainstream IT team culture and is being embraced across all industries.

Stephen Killilea

Stephen Killilea is a Senior Consultant specialising in infrastructure and support at Hays Recruitment


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