How DevOps can redefine your IT strategy

Is DevOps the flavor of the month or the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for? We ask experts what they think of the trend, where to find talent and how IT workers can break into this emerging field within IT.

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DevOps departments

Another interesting fact from in the Puppet Labs survey is that 16 percent of those surveyed reported working within a DevOps department. This is a new trend, having only come into existence within the past five years. Of those who reported working within a DevOps department, a majority work in companies with 20 to 499 employees. These individuals, according to the Puppet Labs study, tended to work in the entertainment, technology and Web software industries.

But before you create your own DevOps department, beware that there are critics of this practice and their argument isn't without merit. In a recent blog post, Jez Humble wrote, "The DevOps movement addresses the dysfunction that results from organizations composed of functional silos. Thus, creating another functional silo that sits between dev and ops is clearly a poor (and ironic) way to try and solve these problems. Instead, DevOps proposes strategies to create better collaboration between functional silos, or doing away with the functional silos altogether and creating cross-functional teams (or some combination of these approaches)."

Making a career in DevOps

If you hope to take advantage of the DevOps trend there is good news. According to a recent study from Edureka, there has been a 75 percent increase in job listings that contain DevOps. However, there are things to consider: Our experts agree that strong collaboration and adaptability are essential but more in needed.

"DevOps roles require more interpersonal and communication skills than either a traditional heads-down developer or operations person. [Because] you are in essence bridging the gap between the two areas, collaboration skills are key and the creativity to solve real-world problems is critical. Additionally, one needs to have a strong focus on process and continuous improvement," says Tracy Cashman, senior vice president and partner with WinterWyman.

"A successful DevOps candidate will likely have experience in both software development and operations, experience with soft skills and a collaborative approach to work, and a drive to learn and evolve as the needs of business and technology change," says Goli.

DevOps certifications?

Experts are split on certifications. "DevOps, to me, is more about on-the-job training vs. certifications. Companies want to know that you have 'been there, done that'," says Cashman.

Yochem agrees for the most part. "Most of the certifications are still platform/discipline-specific, and many of these are part of the DevOps world. But, overall, no certifications are necessary here."

There are some certifications out there worth looking into, according to Goli andHenry, although they aren't the silver bullet you may be looking for. Lean certifications or certifications offered that can express a background in certain technical tools, such as configuration management tools or cloud certifications.

Final thoughts

DevOps isn't something you can just decide to do. Much like big data, it requires a culture change and a breaking down of the functioning silos within the IT organization. It needs to start at the top. The end-game is to have your development and operations team working in a collaborative fashion toward the collective goal of continuous delivery of better software.

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