DevOps combines development and operations into one discipline. It is a group of tools, practices, and philosophies that integrate and automate IT development processes. The goal of DevOps is for the IT team to write software that perfectly meets the users’ requirements. Organizations that encourage DevOps practices work on incident responses and focus on improving communication and collaboration across different teams.
To become a successful DevOps engineer, you need to get ample practice with tasks that allow you to apply your planning, coding, and automation skills. In this article, we will introduce you to projects that you can build to hone your DevOps skills and give you tips for discussing them during job interviews.
5 Skills That DevOps Projects Can Help You Practice
DevOps is all about streamlining the entire software development lifecycle. It involves planning, coding, building, testing, releasing, deploying, operating, and monitoring. As such, learning DevOps requires practicing a wide range of skills. Below, we explore the most important ones.
- Linux Fundamentals and Scripting. DevOps engineers must be skilled with Linux operating system as many companies choose to host their applications on this operating system. In addition, configuration management tools such as Chef, Ansible, and Puppet have their master nodes administered through Linux.
- Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration. Continuous delivery (CD) refers to a computerized process where every change is automatically developed, tested, and deployed. Continued integration (CI), on the other hand, is a process that requires all members of a team to use a single version control system and regularly integrate their work to the main branch.
- Infrastructure as Code. With containerization and cloud computing technologies becoming more popular, the infrastructure needed by developers can be provided through an automated script. The script is used for configuration management and operates configuration management tools. It also executes the required commands. As a result, the essential application infrastructure or platform is delivered in a few seconds.
- Configuration Management. Configuration management is a process used to keep track of software and operating system configurations. It can be used to manage the configurations of thousands of servers by executing a single command using the management server. Ansible, Chef, and Puppet are popular configuration management software programs.
- Automation. Automation is an important goal in DevOps. It is the use of software to minimize the involvement of human actors whilst increasing efficiency. As a DevOps engineer, popular automation tools you should get acquainted with include Gradle, Git, Jenkins, and Docker.
Best DevOps Project Ideas for Beginners
As a beginner, the best way to build your DevOps skills is by building simple products using tools like Jenkins, Docker, and Gradle. Scan through this section to find a beginner project that fits your skills and knowledge.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Infrastructure, coding, scripting tools, automation
This project tests your knowledge of the basics of automation and scripting tools. You will equip a web server with automation and publish a website onto it. This website can be a blog or a digital portfolio. To complete this project, you need knowledge of web development, server deployment, and networking.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Infrastructure as code, configuration management
Another beginner-level project is creating a web server. A web server is essentially a computer that stores the component files of a website. To complete this project, you will use Azure to create an Ubuntu virtual machine. This simple project can serve as excellent preparation for some of the more advanced projects on this list.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Jenkins, Java, networking
This project is a good idea for networking enthusiasts. The goal is to improve Jenkins Remoting, a library used to implement communication layers. You will make Jenkins Remoting compatible with a bus technology such as ActiveMQ or RabbitMQ. To complete this project, you need proficiency with networking basics, Java, and message queues.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Docker, containerization, production, applications
Docker is a popular container platform that virtualizes operating systems and creates lightweight containers for hosting services and applications. For this project, you will make a default base image that other developers can use in their production environment. This project lays a foundation for Python, Ruby, and Meteor web app images.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Gradle, Java, automation
Gradle is a popular build automation tool that can be used in several platforms and languages. This project consists of building a Java application and organizing it into several subprojects to modularize it.
Best Intermediate DevOps Project Ideas
Intermediate projects are an excellent way to prepare for your career in DevOps. At the intermediate level, projects will test your knowledge of cloud infrastructure, cloud service, and Azure pipelines.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Continues development, continuous integration, Azure, Git
In this project, you will be using Azure DevOps Project to set up continuous delivery (CD) and continuous integration (CI) pipelines. You can kickstart it by using the code provided. The goal is to rapidly deploy an application to several Azure services like App Service, Virtual Machines, and Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS).
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Continues development, continuous integration, AWS
In this project, you’ll be using AWS Developer Tools to store the application’s source code. As a result, software will be built, tested, and installed automatically to AWS or into your on-premises environment. You can start with the AWS CodePipeline to build a constant delivery workflow that uses tools like AWS CodeDeploy or AWS CodeBuild.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Application architecture, infrastructure as code, configuration management
This project will give you great insight into application architecture and why it is so important. Your challenge is to build a scalable application by building a solid foundation based on strongly-defined tenets. The resulting application will be able to evolve and grow to match the needs of the business while avoiding higher code maintenance costs and deployment issues.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Incremental deployment, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, databases
This project allows you to explore the concept of incremental deployment using Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 for high availability and site resilience. Begin by installing several Exchange 2013 Mailbox servers as stand-alone servers. The next step is to continuously configure them and the mailbox databases for high availability and site resilience.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Git branches, production, commands
In this project, you will be using separate Git branches to create different versions of your project. This will allow you to modify the code to fix a bug or implement a new feature without altering the original version. Learning Git branching is important in a DevOps context because it allows multiple developers to work on the same project by changing the codebase.
Best Advanced DevOps Project Ideas
The following advanced DevOps projects will challenge your skills and give you experience in solving real-life issues. They are ideal for DevOps engineers with considerable experience in the industry looking for their next challenge.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Continuous integration, continuous delivery, GitHub, automation
This is another project in which you will set up a CI/CD pipeline to evaluate, compile, and package an application. Mastering this task is essential for automation so it is good to get as much practice building these pipelines as possible.
This project is slightly more challenging because you will be given free rein to choose your tools. Start by conducting some research on what toolkit to use. Then find a project in GitHub that you can use through a web browser and add it to your GitHub account.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Infrastructure as code, architecture, and databases
The challenge here is to build an app that the user can access even when it crashes. Building an app with high availability will require a backend database. If you use WordPress, you will need to implement high availability through positioning the second instance of WordPress when the first one encounters a problem. In addition, you have to add components like reverse proxy or a load balancer, which you can use to distribute requests between the live instances.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Application monitoring, metric analysis
Here you will build a dashboard that allows you to monitor an application. You’ll leverage monitoring tools and add instrumentation to applications and servers. You’ll also need to gather metrics and add them to the tool. This project will help you learn about time-series databases and how monitoring tools work. Tools that could be useful include Prometheus, Graphite, Statsd, Nagios, and Grafana.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Containerization, container pipelines, container image registries
For this project, you’ll be building a container image for an application and running it using a container engine or positioning it to a container platform. Along the way, you’ll learn about containers and how to create, run, and incorporate them into a pipeline.
You’ll also need to know about container image registries like Amazon Elastic Container Registry so that you can bump an image. Lastly, you will run the container through a container engine or server.
- DevOps Skills Practiced: Java, Python, Kubernetes, APIs
This project will allow you to practice a wide variety of skills, including coding, APIs, and Kubernetes. Start by picking the coding language you want to use and building an app with an API. The next step is to create a CI/CD pipeline and add it to the repository. Finally, package the app into a container and deploy to Kubernetes.
Applying to DevOps Jobs: How to Discuss DevOps Projects in an Interview
During an interview for a DevOps position, you want to discuss projects that you have successfully completed in the past. The goal is to show the hiring manager the extent of your skills and your expertise with DevOps. Follow the tips below to make sure this discussion is as effective as possible.
- Share previous successes. Bring up your project collection and explain how you contributed or played a significant role in each project. Elaborate on the technology and processes used as well as the challenges the team faced and how they were overcome. Explain the value the project brought to the company.
- Tell them what you would do differently. No project you ever undertake will be perfect or hitch-free. There will always be things you could have done differently to make the process more efficient. Choose a project and tell the hiring manager what you would do differently if you were asked to do it again. Admitting that there is always room for improvement shows humility and willingness to improve.
- Discuss what you learned. Tell the hiring manager how each project helped you improve your expertise with a particular technology or hone a skill. This shows that you are a person eager to learn new things and improve their trade, which is a quality that companies value.
- Suggest solutions to their own DevOps needs. Tell the interviewer how you would improve a particular process at their company using DevOps methodologies. Share with them any tools that may help streamline their software development cycle. This showcases your DevOps expertise and will earn you points.
DevOps Projects FAQ
The first step in a DevOps project is to come up with a roadmap that provides a step-by-step guide to the changes that will be implemented. The next step will be to select a DevOps toolchain.
Popular software programs used in DevOps include Snort, Git, Jenkins, Nagios, and Kubernetes.
The difficulty of a DevOps project depends on your level of expertise and experience with DevOps tools and practices as well as what you are trying to accomplish.
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To successfully execute a DevOps project you need expertise in Linux, continuous delivery and continuous integration, infrastructure as code, and configuration management.
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