DevOps has gained popularity in recent years. According to stats, around 47% of respondents use DevOps as the software development methodology. Moreover, according to Allied Market Research Insights, the value of the DevOps market which was valued at $6.78 billion in 2020 is expected to reach a CAGR of 24.2% by 2030.
And if you too have an interest in becoming a DevOps engineer, it is a must to know what DevOps is, what responsibilities you will have to handle, and what tools and technologies you will need to understand.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
DevOps doesn’t have any universal definition. It is the term that is derived from two words Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops). DevOps is a collection of cultural aspects, methods, and tools that helps in automating software development processes.
DevOps is used to manage the complete application development lifecycle consisting of planning, development, deployment, testing, monitoring, delivering, and operating. In simple terms, DevOps can be defined as the union of processes, technologies, and people to give continuous value to customers. DevOps allows developers, quality engineers, security, and IT operators to coordinate and collaborate for creating reliable and better-performing products.
Some of the benefits of DevOps include
- A better time to market
- Easy market and competition adoption
- Improved recovery time
- A shorter cycle for releases
- Maintained reliability and stability of the software
A DevOps engineer has to work with different departments and teams to build and implement software solutions. Considered an all-rounder, a DevOps engineer is responsible for almost everything.
To be more precise, here is a list of tasks that a DevOps engineer is responsible for.
Planning: DevOps engineers need to plan projects by communicating operational requirements and development forecasts with other participants throughout the team and gain their knowledge of risks, system options, costs, impacts, etc. They also need to split the project into smaller independent tasks, create integrated plans that take errors and defects into account, and use feedback to re-plan.
Documentation: Taking notes and documenting specifications for the backend of the software is yet another responsibility that DevOps engineers need to take care of.
Analysis: If a DevOps engineer is working on a project that’s already in the market, it is important to analyze the technology being used to develop processes and plans to improve the software.
App Development: They are also responsible for developing codes, builds, configurations, installations, and maintenance of software solutions.
Testing: As the software gets developed and starts to receive continuous deployment, it becomes essential for DevOps engineers to conduct continuous testing to improve code quality, reliability, and security.
Automation: A DevOps engineer has to use automation to make the software development lifecycle reliable and consistent. Automation allows the DevOps team to easily scale environments, accelerate pipeline processes, alter CI/CD workflows, run reliable tests, set up infrastructure, and monitor pipelines.
Monitoring: To analyze the stability and performance of application infrastructure, the DevOps team needs to monitor the logging, alerting, and tracing of the web app.
Deployment: It refers to the act of setting up and installing a software version into the production environment. The software version can be an external, internal, or development release version. The responsibility of continuous deployment for automated releases is also of DevOps engineers.
Maintenance: DevOps engineers also have to ensure that all environments are running smoothly by identifying and removing vulnerabilities, improving pipelines, ensuring the availability of services, and keeping software updated as well as secured.
Now that we are much aware of what DevOps is and what responsibilities it entails, let’s dive into the roadmap that will help you set your path to becoming a successful DevOps Engineer.
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A programming language is used by developers to communicate with computers. It is a set of instructions written to perform certain tasks, especially to develop web apps, desktop apps, mobile apps, or websites.
An operating system is a program that manages software resources and hardware of the computer system. It helps in the allocation of memory, input and output, file storage, and network connections.
A few concepts of Operating Systems that you as a DevOps Engineer will need to know are Input/Output Management, Computer Networking, POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface), Virtualization, Memory/Storage, File Systems, Sockets, Processes, Service Management (systemd), Startup Management (initd), Threads and Concurrency, etc.
Apart from the basic concepts of OS, you also need to understand operating systems like Linux (eg. SUSE Linux, Ubuntu/Debian, or RHEL/Derivatives), Unix (eg. OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD), and Windows.
Servers can be a piece of computer software or hardware that offers functionality for programs, called clients. A server is designed to process requests and return requested data to the user’s computer over a network.
And as a DevOps engineer, you need to get administrative knowledge of different types of operating systems to manage these servers. Server management can consist of monitoring and maintaining servers to ensure that they are performing as expected and are reliable.
Server management also helps in reducing slowdowns in servers, building secure servers, and scaling servers as per the requirements.
A terminal is a text-based computer interface used to interact with the computer system through a command line interface (CLI).
And to be a DevOps engineer, you will have to learn about bash scripting, PowerShell/Emacs/Vim/Nano, Compiling apps from source, terminal multiplexers (screen or tmux), process monitoring, system performance, text manipulation tools, and network tools.
Network security protocols are used to ensure the integrity and security of data transfer over a network connection. It defines the methodology and processes used to secure network data from unauthorized access.
Some of these network security protocols are HTTP, HTTPS, FTP/SFTP, SSL/TLS, SSH, Port Forwarding, SMTP, IMAPS, POP3S, Domain Keys, SPF, and DMARC.
A DevOps Engineer needs to know the way to set up proxies like Reverse Proxy or Forward Proxy, caching servers, load balancers, firewalls, and web servers like Tomcat, IIS, Apache, and Nginx.
Here proxies act as an intermediary between clients and servers to help block client identity, access to certain content, web acceleration, and security and offer restricted internet to organizations.
Caching Servers acts as servers that store web pages locally in the form of a temporary cache to speed up data access.
Load Balancer helps in routing client requests across capable servers to process those requests to maximize the speed of the web app and maintain traffic on the servers.
Firewalls monitor and filter requests to ensure there is no threatening traffic on the server.
Learning to work with the above-mentioned technologies will ensure that there are no threats in the server and that all tasks run smoothly.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) refers to the management and provisioning of infrastructure such as virtual machines, networks, connection topologies, and load balancers through code instead of doing it manually.
IaC allows the DevOps team to create versions, rollback, and manage changes using the same workflow as used to develop software by programmers.
Some of the common concepts of Infrastructure as Code are Containers like Docker or Nomad, Secret Management through Sealed Secrets, Vault, SOPS, or Cloud Specific Tools, Container Orchestration through Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, or Nomad, Configuration Management through Ansible, Puppet, or Chef, and Infrastructure Provisioning through AWS CDK, Terraform, CloudFormation, or Pulumi.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) is the process of automating the continuous integration of code changes into a single codebase and running integration and regression tests to automate the release process.
Continuous integration, continuous deployment, and continuous delivery are the core concepts of CI/CD. Learning the basic concepts of CI/CD as well as their tools like Gitlab CI, Jenkins, Azure DevOps Services, Drone, and Travis CI will help you make the process of integration, delivery, and deployment easier.
Monitoring the software and infrastructure of the project as a DevOps engineer includes overseeing every process from planning, development, integration, testing, deployment, and operations through historic replays, real-time streaming, and visualizations.
You can do infrastructure monitoring using tools such as Nagios, Grafana, Zabbix, Monit, DataDog, and Prometheus. For application monitoring, you can use Instana, OpenTelemetry, Jaeger, New Relic, and AppDynamics.
Also, you can manage logs using Elastic Stack, Splunk, Graylog, Loki, and Papertrail.
Last but not least, as a future DevOps Engineer, you also need to understand different cloud providers and the services they are providing along with their use cases in the market. A cloud provider is an IT company that offers computing resources over the internet to consumers and delivers them on demand.
Some of the popular cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Heroku, Alibaba Cloud, Digital Ocean, Vultr, etc.
Apart from knowing cloud providers and their services, a DevOps engineer should also be aware of the cloud design patterns to build reliable, secure, and scalable cloud applications. Other basic concepts you need to understand about cloud services are availability, design and implementation, data management, and monitoring and management.
Remember that this roadmap will only help in choosing the right path for your DevOps career. Undoubtedly, we are going to see much more languages, tools, frameworks, and other technologies in the future, making it crucial to always keep learning to ensure a secure and successful career.