5 Major Things to Learn to Become a DevOps Engineer
Last updated on Wed 15 Apr 2020
Learn how to become a successful DevOps Engineer. Here come the five principles of DevOps that need to be mastered to achieve a successful career in DevOps.
The demand for DevOps professionals or IT professionals skilled in Software development and operations is increasing with the days passing by. The career opportunities for DevOps are thriving worldwide.
What actually is DevOps?
DevOps is a process or set of practices where, the teams of Development and Operations work together in an environment to give cost-effective, reliable and high-quality results. The major focus of DevOps is to increase the collaboration by bridging the gap between development and operations team. In fact, a DevOps engineer sometimes replaces both the roles and works on tasks within the team.
5 things for DevOps engineers to learn
DevOps skill set is not that easy, as it seems. A DevOps engineer requires more than just a traditional skill set than a developer or administrator.
Here come the five principles of DevOps that need to be mastered to achieve a successful career in DevOps.
1. Lean and agile
The best way to succeed in DevOps is to establish a strong collaboration between the Development and Operations team. In order, this to work, learning about lean, agile development and system thinking would be the key. Giving responsibilities to both DevOps teams and system teams will also help in building the increased performance of the teams.
2. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices are a basic tool to enable agility. To reach the production requirements, they make changes in the software rather frequently, which increases the chance for the customers to give feedback frequently on the happening changes. This feedback helps in the delivery of the fast-paced agile software.
Continuous integration: CI ensures that the broken changes do not affect other developers with a “build and test” process workflow. This can be achieved by adding all the minute software changes in a production-like system, then testing it like a user and then repeating the process for each software change. CI process has to be done several times depending on the project.
Continuous delivery: CD mainly concerns about the deployment workflow and the release process and checks that no broken changes are released or delivered.
The best case for this is the full lifecycle is automated when every integration reaches the production stage with minimum human intervention.
At this stage:
- The release steps should be automated
- Infrastructure should be deterministic and repeatable
- Changes have to be tested in their own environment
Now the versions coming at this stage are called release candidates. These are already packaged, tested and deployed in a test environment and the only thing that remains is that a human has to check whether it can be pushed to the final production.
Since software changes reach the production more frequently, combining both CI and CD gives results that are more transformational.
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3. DevSecOps introduction
In the past, security was separately tested in the final stage of the productions but fixing something post-production costs a lot than fixing it during the stage of architecture or design.
Here comes DevSecOps. It means to integrate security in the infrastructure and application from the beginning. This can be done by automating security testing in a secure CD pipeline.
Since manual security checks can be time-consuming, DevSecOps ensures security from the design phase i.e., “security by design” principle. It performs automated application testing, automated security testing in code review, usage of secure design patterns etc. Therefore, Automated Security Testing is the key to security in DevSecOps.
On the other hand, the secure delivery pipeline integrates six important components into the DevOps approach:
- Code analysis
- Change management
- Compliance monitoring
- Thread investigation
- Vulnerability assessment
- Security training
If implemented properly, the security system will produce great benefits like early identification of vulnerabilities, recovery speed, cost reduction etc.
4. Importance of Infrastructure as a code (IaC)
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) plays an important role along with CD and it is one of the essential parts of DevOps practices. IaC makes DevOps possible. Unlike the manual processes, it has the ability to reproduce automatically an environment based on a particular version of the source code. Therefore, it eliminates the risk of errors and the difficult to track.
IaC comes as automation (automation of manual process) mainly due to the difficulty to track. Experts suggest following the best practices in IaC.
- To keep track of changes, same versioning control that DevOps engineers use for source code is used to manage the infrastructure. This generates the same environment every time IaC is deployed, similar to the same binary generated by the same source code of an application.
- Unit, functional and integration testing is used to test all the infrastructure changes.
- The source code directly describes the infrastructure state avoiding unnecessary documentation. This helps in collaboration between Development and Operations.
5. Monitoring and observability
‘Monitoring’ checks whether the system is working fine, while the ‘observability’ goes a little deep to debug the system for any errors. Hence, by detecting and resolving problems or errors and maintaining the good condition by continuous improvement, these pair plays a key role. This combination is the evolution of logging and metrics. Here, monitoring collects the logs and observability collects the information.
Monitoring and observability make the system more reliable and easy to manage.
DevOps is rather a culture
DevOps is not a specific workflow or framework but rather a culture. It is all about finding ways to adapt and create culture and technology to work together to make work more effectively. While there are many tools available, the focus on foundations helps one to become a good DevOps engineer. It also requires a shift in the mindset from traditional practices. To deploy software more efficiently and quickly, top companies combine agile and lean methodologies in DevOps to address better for the needs of the market.