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DevOps and you: Advice for building your career

Portions of this post were originally posted on the Puppet blog, and are republished here with Puppet's permission.

Demand for people with DevOps skills is growing rapidly because businesses get great results from DevOps. Organizations using DevOps practices are overwhelmingly high-functioning: They deploy 200 times more frequently, with 2,555 times faster lead times. They recover 24 times faster from failures, and have one-third the  change failure rate that other organizations experience, according to Puppet’s 2016 State of DevOps Report.

If you believe DevOps is the future, our new ebook is for you. DevOps and You: Advice for Building Your Career includes stories of how people got started in DevOps, details on how to improve your DevOps skills, and advice for landing your next job.

What are DevOps skills?

Whether you want to be a DevOps engineer or site reliability engineer — two very common DevOps positions — you’ll need to beef up your skills. While it’s great to improve your coding skills, and get familiar with automation tools, you’ll also want to seek out projects that allow you to exercise the people and communication skills that are at the core of DevOps.

Find opportunities to collaborate within and outside of your team. Help your company move to a faster test and deployment rhythm. Be open to listening to others’ ideas.

Keep in mind that DevOps is less about doing things a particular way, and more about moving the business forward and turning technology into a strategic advantage.

DevOps points to a growing recognition that software isn’t written in the old way anymore. Where software used to be written from scratch in a highly complex and lengthy process, the complexity of today’s software lies less in the authoring, and more in ensuring that the new software will work across a diverse set of operating systems and platforms right away.

Likewise, testing and deployment are now done much more frequently. That is, these can be more frequent — if developers communicate early and regularly with the operations team, and if ops people bring their knowledge of the production environment to the design of testing and staging environments.

What is a DevOps engineer? And should you be become one?

There’s not a single established  track for becoming a DevOps engineer. In fact, many people  who start as developers find they're interested in deployment and network operations. Just as often, sysadmins discover a passion for scripting and coding, and work closely with the development side, helping to improve the testing and the rest of the deployment process.

If DevOps is understood primarily as a mindset, you don’t actually need "DevOps" in your title. You do need to be able to offer an employer a core set of DevOps skills and knowledge:

  • Ability to code and script, and use a variety of technologies and tools

  • Experience with systems and IT operations

  • Strong grasp of automation tools

  • Comfort with with frequent, incremental code testing and deployment

  • Data management skills

  • A strong focus on business outcomes

  • Comfort with collaboration, open communication and reaching across functional borders

Download DevOps and You to hear from dozens of engineers, managers and recruiters whose jobs (or the jobs they're hiring for) emphasize DevOps practices, and you’ll be on your way to transforming your current job —or landing a new one.

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