February 16, 2024
Ever since DevOps hit the IT scene about ten years ago, people have been singing its praises. Organizations that use DevOps testify that it has helped them produce and improve products at a faster pace. The result is happier customers and a competitive advantage. It’s no wonder then that the demand for DevOps engineers is on the rise.
Are you wondering whether you need a DevOps engineer and how to hire one? In this article, we’ll review the roles of a DevOps engineer, the benefits of hiring one, and how much it will cost you.
The only way to explain who DevOps Engineers are is to first explain the concept of DevOps.
DevOps emerged in the IT industry between 2007 and 2008. It was born out of the need to bridge the gap between software development teams and operations teams. Traditionally, developers who write code are functionally and organizationally separated from teams that deploy the code.
The two teams (developers and operations) often have different leaders and different goals. In some extreme cases, they even work in different buildings. The effect of this is siloed teams who are only concerned about achieving their own purposes. A more devastating impact of the discord between development and operations is lower productivity, delayed product releases, and ultimately, unhappy customers.
Developers blame operations for the delays, and likewise, operations blame development for throwing their work "over the wall" to them. While it's easy to point fingers, the problem is far more significant – it's the way the system is structured. Developers are primed to write code for the development environment, which is very different from the production environment.
To solve the problem, some industry experts joined forces to find ways to get development and operations to work better together, to think alike, and to share responsibilities. The result was DevOps- a combination of the words “development” and “operations”. DevOps is a practice that integrates development and operations to increase productivity by automating several aspects of the development-to-production process.
So, who is a DevOps engineer? A DevOps engineer is, in a way, the middleman that drives the collaboration between development and operations teams. DevOps engineers are general IT experts who have a wide range of knowledge about both operations and development. Amongst other things, DevOps engineers must be masters of infrastructure management, coding, and system management.
Another way to put it is that a DevOps engineer must possess the skills to be both a programmer and a systems administrator all in one.
As you can tell, the role of a DevOps engineer comes with a vast number of tasks and responsibilities, all of which are important for fully adopting a DevOps culture. In this section, I'll give a brief description of some of these tasks.
Release engineering includes the entire process of writing and deploying code. A DevOps engineer must optimize the procedures for developing and deploying software so that there are no undue lags at any stage.
Infrastructure provisioning is one of the DevOps engineer’s big tasks. He has to be able to plan relevant additions and integrations on various systems. A DevOps engineer should have oversight of every component of an organization’s infrastructure, including deploying servers and managing storage and networking for hosting applications.
The primary reason for DevOps was to resolve the disparity between development and operations teams. Therefore, the essential task of a DevOps engineer is to foster collaboration between the two teams. They should ensure that both teams share responsibility for releasing products and have the same objectives.
Apart from technical skills, a DevOps engineer requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Often, production delays occur because IT operators have to test and detect errors in the application code written by developers. If there are errors, the code goes back to the developers to be fixed. The problem with this is that it’s incredibly time-wasting and counterproductive.
A DevOps engineer’s job is to optimize the process by testing at various stages, and not only after completion. This leads to increased productivity and higher quality applications.
When an organization adopts the DevOps approach after years of following the traditional development vs operations approach, it can be unsettling and confusing. It is up to the DevOps engineer to address the questions and concerns and to explain why DevOps is good for the organization.
DevOps advocacy goes beyond organizing a one-off seminar or training workshop. It's a lifestyle of continually reminding people about the benefits of DevOps.
Anyone who owns a software organization will certainly benefit from hiring a DevOps engineer. For large organizations, the need for DevOps is rather apparent. Plus, the thought of increased productivity is almost irresistible. It’s a little different for small organizations, though. DevOps engineers don't come cheap, so, understandably, a small business would be hesitant to hire one.
If you do decide to hire a DevOps engineer in a small organization, then there are some tips to give you more guidance. Firstly, you should identify your organization’s specific needs. What do you need at the time to grow your business? Then check to see if your needs are in line with the roles of a DevOps engineer. Secondly, you might want to hire an in-house DevOps—someone who becomes a full-time employee.
The reason for this is that external consultants tend to be pricier than in-house DevOps. Cost aside, hiring a DevOps engineer is good for your organization in the long run. Why? Because DevOps is a culture. Just like any other culture, it takes a while to get used to it.
So, it's an excellent idea to hire a DevOps engineer in the early stages so that it becomes the default way of thinking in the long run. Organizations that have tried to implement DevOps later have struggled to overhaul their old systems in favor of DevOps.
Organizations that adopt the DevOps culture notably work faster, and release products more frequently. The reason for this is that a DevOps engineer’s job includes optimizing and automating as many processes as possible.
Although speed is a massive component of the DevOps culture, it does not mean quality is undermined. A DevOps engineer will ensure that your organization produces quality applications at a rapid pace. This way, customers know they can rely on you for both quality and speed.
DevOps works on the principle of automating any process that can be automated. The benefit of this is that it protects and secures your intellectual property.
One of the first things a DevOps engineer will do is build a central collection of codes. Anytime there are code changes they will be integrated into the central pool. What this does is to reduce the amount of time it takes to approve and release software updates. Instead of painstakingly going through an application to identify errors, you can simply run it against the codes in the central repository.
No matter how much you plan and prepare, failures will still occur now and then. When they pop up, an organization must deal with it quickly and return to operational efficiency. If issues aren't promptly and expertly dealt with, customer satisfaction will decline. Thankfully, a DevOps engineer has the skills to ensure that critical issues are resolved quickly.
Now to the all-important question of whether you can afford to hire a DevOps engineer or not. Currently, data shows that an entry-level DevOps engineer earns about 86,700 USD a year. Of course, a more experienced DevOps engineer will make far more than this. According to arc.dev, the current hourly rate for freelance DevOps engineers is between 81 to 100 dollars.
This comes to a total of 171,100 USD a year. As you can tell, DevOps engineers don't come cheap. For organizations that cannot afford such steep rates, the solution might be to outsource the work to an offshore developer. Preferably, these professionals should live in countries with less developed economies or lower costs of living.
Because of this, their rates are much more affordable. The advantage of outsourcing is that you have access to talent you would ever be able to afford within the shores of your country.
Alternatively, to reduce the rates, you can consider hiring offshore to countries like the Philippines. Here at Cloud Employee, we work with companies looking to hire professional DevOps developers in the Philippines. Talk to us, learn more how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.
Altogether, DevOps is a movement that signifies a paradigm shift from the traditional separation between development and operations teams. It aims to increase productivity by fostering collaboration between the two vital teams. However, this cannot be achieved without a capable person in the driver's seat.
That's where a DevOps engineer comes into play. I hope that this article has revealed all you need to know about hiring a DevOps engineer for your organization.
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