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How to Become a DevOps Engineer

DevOps is one of those fields where your soft skills are just as important for your success as your mastery of technical skills. In this role, you need to be able to work effectively with other developers and engineers as well as your superiors to ensure a productive and streamlined development cycle.

This guide will help illuminate some of the education tracks that you could pursue if you want to learn DevOps or start a DevOps career. Learn more about the skills you need and the average salary you could earn. Read below to learn how to become a DevOps engineer.

What Is a DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps engineer is a software professional who is equipped with the skills to streamline systems or software development cycles. They combine elements of software development and IT operations. DevOps engineers can ensure continuous delivery without having to compromise the high quality of their software.

DevOps Engineer Job Description

The primary function of a DevOps engineer is to produce and maintain a website platform or piece of software. Among other things, that role incorporates technical skills that are associated with the management of cloud technologies and infrastructure as well as systems administration.

A DevOps engineer is essentially tasked to work together with a development team of software engineers to identify and repair issues. Beyond having technical expertise, the DevOps environment also demands that you have a strong set of soft skills like communication, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and the ability to work under pressure.

If you can combine these soft skills with a solid understanding of infrastructure components, infrastructure performance, file systems, the cloud environment, infrastructure deployment, logging infrastructure, and log management, you will be well on your way to building a successful career.

DevOps Engineer Salary and Job Outlook

According to PayScale, the average salary for DevOps engineers is $96,624. Those who find themselves working at the lower end of this industry can expect to earn about $65,000 per year on average, while those working at the higher end of the industry can expect to earn somewhere in the region of $140,000 per year.

DevOps engineering is a branch of software development, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has many reports on. According to the BLS, software developer job opportunities will grow by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. That is much faster than most other industry growth, which means there will be plenty of job opportunities during the coming decade.

Top Reasons to Become a DevOps Engineer in 2021

Beyond an outstanding job market and great earning potential, becoming a DevOps engineer is a strong career choice for several reasons. Read below to find out more about some of the benefits of this pathway.

  • Job satisfaction. According to research conducted by PayScale, the vast majority of DevOps engineers are highly satisfied with their roles and the DevOps process in general.
  • Growth opportunities. There are numerous opportunities for career development in the DevOps field. Once you master the skills required to use DevOps tools, lucrative career opportunities will be open to you. You could become a site reliability engineer, software release manager, or senior development operations engineer.
  • Industry popularity. Employees who can navigate their way around subjects like continuous deployment, Google Cloud Platform, digital pipelines, open source tools, and scripting languages are in high demand. They can easily find work in industries like computer systems design, manufacturing, software publishing, and insurance.
  • Collaborative environment. While DevOps consultants find independent work occasionally, they benefit from exchanging ideas and knowledge of the industry with other professionals and operations teams.

DevOps Engineer Job Requirements

Employers are looking for people who are competent with deployment processes, accurate deliveries, business processes, continuous testing, code repository, continuous process, and application code. Take a look at more DevOps skills and requirements listed below.

  • Agile Development. This is a form of software development designed to improve the effectiveness of software development professionals like DevOps engineers. Learning Agile development is a great way to get a leg up in the industry.
  • Linux. This is a group of operating systems designed, among other things, to power cloud infrastructure. Much of the public cloud runs on Linux, which makes it an in-demand skill.
  • Jenkins. This is a continuous integration and delivery server, closely affiliated to Docker containers. If you want to become a DevOps engineer, you should learn Jenkins.
  • Automation scripting. Automation scripting can help you streamline your DevOps process. It consists of a launch point, variables, and source code.

Types of DevOps Engineer Careers

Most DevOps careers will incorporate various aspects of software development, continuous development, and the development lifecycle. Once you have acquired these skills, you will be ready to start a career in any of the roles listed below. Read our DevOps job descriptions to learn more about them.

Site Reliability Engineer

According to PayScale, a site reliability engineer earns about $117,000 per year. Site reliability engineers help make sure websites are functioning properly. The skills associated with this job are DevOps, Linux, Python, and automation scripting. The daily tasks can include anything from database administration to web development.

Software Engineer

PayScale reports that a software engineer earns an average salary of $87,598 per year. The skills most associated with this line of work are Javascript, SQL, C# programming language, Java, and Python. All of these create an important base for DevOps professionals to monitor the product lifecycle.

Systems Administrator

According to PayScale, the average salary for a systems administrator is $62,958. Systems and network administrators are vital for the maintenance of IT systems. To have a successful career in this field, you will need a strong mastery of networking and security, VMWare ESX, Microsoft Activity Directory, and Windows Server 2012 R2.

DevOps Meaning: What Does a DevOps Engineer Do?

A DevOps engineer oversees the software development process to make sure everything is running smoothly. A DevOps engineering role requires constant collaboration with the entire development team to enhance the end-user experience. Read below to learn more about the job responsibilities of a DevOps engineer.

Researches Development Trends

Technology is constantly evolving, especially in a field like DevOps. While keeping updated on the latest developments is one thing, DevOps engineers need to be at the cutting edge of that research. These professionals should always stay up-to-date with the most recent software development trends.

Implements New Systems

DevOps engineers need to draft, design, and implement highly scalable applications that will help improve efficiency and the overall effectiveness of a product. They might also devise new strategies to help the software development process thrive.

Analyzes System Efficiency

Most of this pertains to the design and evaluation of automation scripts, the deployment pipeline, and the relevant systems. DevOps engineers need to analyze current systems and techniques to make sure the development process is running as smoothly as possible.

Essential DevOps Engineer Skills

Once you develop the following set of technical skills, you will become more employable and increase your earning potential as a DevOps engineer. This is especially important if you are seeking some form of promotion. Read below to see which essential skills you need to become a DevOps engineer.

Go Programming Language

Go is a newer programming language that is also referred to as Golang. This programming language, commonly used by DevOps engineers, has been primarily designed for self-hosting compiler toolchains. Learning Golang can show employers how dedicated you are to software engineering.

Apache Hadoop

This is a type of open-source software that is mostly associated with distributed storage and big data processing. It can help you process more data as a DevOps engineer, which can be vital if you’re working on a big project with a large software development team.


This is computer software that has direct links to cloud computing and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). The software is relevant for both private and public clouds. Cloud computing is an important skill for DevOps engineers to have, and OpenStack is a great way to manage it.

How Long Does It Take to Become a DevOps Engineer?

It can take between a few weeks and a few months to become a DevOps engineer, depending on your previous education and experience. If you already have a degree, you can complete DevOps training quite quickly. If you’re starting from scratch, one of the best DevOps bootcamps or courses is the fastest way to enter the workforce.

Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a DevOps Engineer?

Yes, it can. While the best coding bootcamps tend to cover software development in broad terms, DevOps engineering features prominently in most of those courses. The DevOps component is merely a branch of development and programming, and it is a very important branch.

Can I Become A DevOps Engineer From Home?

Yes, DevOps bootcamp programs and classes can be taken online. This means you have many resources available that can help you become a DevOps engineer from your living room or any other location. Online bootcamps allow you to learn quickly and avoid extra expenses from commuting or expensive in-person tuition.

How to Become a DevOps Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide

The best way to become a DevOps engineer is to learn from scratch and progress at a pace that is most suitable for you. It’s great to grasp the concepts quickly, but there is nothing wrong with taking your time either. It’s more important to learn the skills correctly rather than quickly. Below is a guide to help you get started on the road to becoming a DevOps engineer.

Step 1: Learn the Basics

Start by familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals of DevOps at the most basic level. Make sure that your basic knowledge is sound before you consider taking the next steps. You can enroll in a degree program, but a bootcamp or online course is the best way to learn specialized DevOps topics.

Step 2: Research Your Career Options

You may want to research the world of tech to make sure DevOps is the path that interests you most. The whole point of this process is to try and find out what area you want to specialize in. This will give you more clarity on where your studies might take you and whether this is the right career for you.

Step 3: Enhance Your Credibility

Once you decide on a DevOps career, you should earn some credentials. This can be done by taking a professional certification exam to prove your mastery of the necessary skills and bolster your resume. Most big tech companies run programs that offer up some form of certification.

Best Schools and Education for a DevOps Career

To succeed in this career, you could pursue traditional learning models, such as attending a college or university. Alternatively, you could enroll in a coding bootcamp or series of short courses that are generally completed online over a much shorter time. Read below to take a look at your education options and decide which is best for you.

DevOps Bootcamps

DevOps bootcamps are usually hosted by learning platforms like Nucamp, Simplilearn, Clarusway, and DigitalCrafts. Those are a few examples, but there are dozens of bootcamps that are available to people seeking to develop in-demand tech skills in the United States. A bootcamp is the fastest way to get an intensive education.

Vocational School

Vocational schools place a greater emphasis on developing your practical experience, which is what most employers are looking for in this industry. They want people who can prove they are capable of the necessary skills, and vocational schools provide that kind of hands-on platform for you.

Community College

A community college will offer you a much broader education than a vocational school or bootcamp, both of which tend to lean towards specialization. An Associate Degree in Computing or a related field will give you a larger skillset, while DevOps will merely be a component of your learning.

DevOps Degrees

A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field will take you about four years to complete. It can look great on a resume but is also the most expensive and time-intensive option. DevOps skills can be learned and mastered in a variety of other educational settings.

The Most Important DevOps Certifications

Numerous professional certifications can be obtained through the DevOps Institute. While you may be able to build a career without them, certifications are a great way to prove your skills and stand out from the crowd during your job search.

DevOps Foundation

This certification has been designed to prove competence with basic DevOps concepts, principles, practices, terminology, frameworks, and operating models. If you’re just starting in the industry, this is the professional certification you should strive to get.

DevOps Leader

This certification works to prove your competence with transformational leadership, target operating models, organizational design, and behavioral change. Once you start moving up in the field, you should try to get this certification. You could even land a senior role as a DevOps manager.

SRE Foundation

This site reliability engineering (SRE) certification is designed to prove your competence with SRE principles and practices, service level objectives, error budgets, automation, and anti-fragility as a concept. This beginner certification exam is a great choice if you’re just getting into site reliability engineering.

How to Prepare for Your DevOps Job Interview

With DevOps, there is a lot of emphasis on troubleshooting, problem-solving, and thinking out of the box. Beyond your technical knowledge, you will need to demonstrate your soft skills and personality during your interview. Read up on DevOps job interview questions to help you prepare for success.

DevOps Job Interview Practice Questions

  • Why do you want to work in DevOps?
  • In your view, what are the most important skills associated with DevOps work?
  • Talk to us about the hardest day that you have experienced as a DevOps engineer.
  • What is more important in DevOps, technical knowledge or practical experience? 

Should I Become a DevOps Engineer in 2021?

Yes, you should become a DevOps engineer in 2021. The work of a DevOps engineer is highly in demand in the tech field today, and this career offers numerous growth opportunities. In addition, companies are prepared to pay top dollar for their services. If you want a successful career in the software industry, you should become a DevOps engineer.


Can You Become a DevOps Engineer Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become a DevOps engineer without ever setting foot on a university campus. Online courses and bootcamps can teach you all the relevant skills, and some of them even offer free tuition.
Is It Hard to Become a DevOps Engineer?
Yes, it can be difficult. You need mathematical and statistical talents to excel in this field, which can be demanding.
What Are the Most Important DevOps Tools?
A list of some of the more common DevOps tools includes version control, container management, application performance monitoring tools, and configuration management.
What Are Version Control Systems?
Version Control systems are designed to help DevOps engineers manage changes to source code. Examples of these could be local Version Control Systems, Centralized Version Control Systems, and Distributed Version Control Systems.
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