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What Is DevOps?


If you’re learning about software development (or pursuing a career as a Software Developer), you’ve probably heard about DevOps — but what is it exactly?

DevOps combines the words “development” and “operations,” and it refers to a collaborative approach to building applications. The goal of DevOps is to produce better, more reliable software products.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at DevOps, why it matters, DevOps career opportunities, and more. Use the table contents below to jump to a specific section.


Who works on DevOps?

DevOps isn’t a programming language or technical concept. It’s a culture and philosophy that takes teams and departments that have traditionally been isolated and enables them to coordinate and collaborate.

For example, development and operations teams have often worked separately. Once a product made it through development and was deployed, it’d be handed off to operations, who would then deal with any issues, updates, and overall support.

This left the operations team at a disadvantage since they weren’t involved with the product’s development. Similarly, this also left the development team without the operations team’s valuable insights and perspectives.

Bringing these teams together allows a better product to be released more quickly, with smaller updates along the way rather than large, jarring updates.

Other teams, like quality engineering and security, can and should also be included in coordination efforts.

How does DevOps work?

DevOps influences the application lifecycle. It typically has four phases, which work in a loop.

Each phase depends on the other phases, and they aren’t role-specific. That means that each person on the team is involved in multiple phases of the lifecycle (or possibly all of them). The four phases are:

DevOps practices

DevOps also incorporates several practices. These include:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these practices.

Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)

Continuous integration is a software development practice where developers merge their code changes into a central repository, which ensures there aren’t too many branches of an app in development.

Continuous delivery means that changes to an application are automatically tested for bugs and uploaded to a repository where they can be deployed by the operations team.

Microservices

This practice structures an application as a collection of smaller services. These services are easy to maintain, testable, independently deployable, and owned by a small team.

Monitoring and logging

This involves tracking metrics and keeping logs to see how the application performs. This data is analyzed to find the root causes of problems and unexpected changes. Active monitoring allows engineers to be proactive about any issues, which helps minimize downtime.

Communication and collaboration

For DevOps to be successful, everyone involved has to be committed to sharing information. This might be done through chat, project tracking systems, or wikis.

Why is DevOps important?

Technology has transformed our lives. Businesses rely on rolling out reliable applications that satisfy customer needs quickly. Businesses that fall behind risk becoming obsolete. DevOps allows businesses and organizations to:

Including automation in DevOps planning frees up developers and engineers to focus on other tasks rather than being bogged down with tedious, manual work.

DevOps is important because it allows organizations to develop better products faster. This saves money and allows more creative freedom for developers and engineers.

What problems does DevOps solve?

DevOps solves problems around latency and productivity in software development. Latency is lag time. When departments are isolated, it takes time to hand projects back and forth between development and operations.

As we explained, traditionally, developers would develop the app and hand it to the operations team to get it ready for release. If there were issues, operations would send the app back to developers and wait for the app to be fixed.

In a DevOps environment, these two teams are coordinated and collaborative, so fixing bugs and other issues is quick and seamless.

What are the benefits of DevOps?

DevOps offers several benefits to organizations:

What are the challenges of DevOps?

While DevOps can help organizations, it also has its challenges. They include:

All of these issues can be overcome with planning, implementing DevOps over time, seeking input from team members, and dedicating time and resources to security and compliance throughout the DevOps lifecycle.

A closer look at DevOps jobs

Some IT professionals specialize in DevOps. They help implement the tools and platforms involved in DevOps and help organizations shift to DevOps if they haven’t already. These professionals are in high demand.

DevOps positions have a variety of names, but in general, people working in DevOps would either be a DevOps Engineer or a DevOps Manager. DevOps Managers have more responsibility and experience and are expected to manage teams. You’d typically start as a DevOps Engineer and then progress into a management role as you gain experience.

Here are some of the skills required to succeed in a DevOps career:

Due to the complexity of DevOps, it’s not unusual to start your career in another position and develop your expertise in DevOps over time. It might be through learning on the job, taking on additional responsibilities, working toward certifications, or pursuing a degree in DevOps.

DevOps programming languages

DevOps requires proficiency with at least one, but ideally multiple programming languages. Here are some to consider:

Getting started in DevOps

To get started in DevOps, you could pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Or, you can gain the required knowledge and skills on your own.

People working in DevOps are highly experienced. They typically start as Systems Administrators or developers. You can learn the skills needed for one of these career options individually or take a series of courses that’ll equip you with everything you need to know with one of our Career Paths.

One option for getting started is our Front-End Engineer Career Path. Front-End Engineers focus on making websites and applications attractive and user-friendly. In this Career Path, you’ll learn how to use the languages and tools required for modern front-end web development.

Similarly, our Back-End Engineer Career Path focuses on the behind-the-scenes aspects of applications. You’ll start by learning how to program servers and client-side interfaces, then progress to designing databases. The course also covers personalization and security.

Our Full-Stack Engineer Career Path teaches you development from start to finish. This will give you a firm foundation for starting your career and progressing into DevOps.

Our Computer Science Career Path also provides you with a strong foundation. It teaches you the ins and outs of Python, how to problem solve and write clean code, how databases work, and more.

In each of our Career Paths, you’ll use your new knowledge and skills to build projects you can feature in your portfolio. We’ll also help you prepare for interviews, provide a certification you can include in your resume, and more.

After building your skills, your next step is to secure a position in an organization that uses DevOps. This will allow you to gain experience in how DevOps works and pursue opportunities to advance.

You may also want to pursue certifications. For example, AWS, or Amazon Web Services, offers an AWS Certified DevOps Engineer certification for DevOps Engineers with two or more years of experience.

You could also pursue a Kubernetes certification like Certified Kubernetes Administrator or Certified Kubernetes Application Developer. Kubernetes is a popular DevOps tool. Microsoft also offers an Azure DevOps certification.


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