Published here August 2023


Musings Index

Common Misconceptions About Careers In DevOps
Max Wideman presents a contribution by author Jackie Edwards

What is DevOps?
DevOps is an operational concept designed to merge development and operations teams to promote productivity and efficiency through continual innovations and improvements. It has gained popularity and its implementation will continue to surge as more organizations rely on it to deploy software. According to Allied Research Misconceptions, the global DevOps market size in 2020 was $6.78 billion and will reach $57.9 billion by 2030.

Common Misconceptions About DevOps Jobs
With that in mind, a career in DevOps involves working with advanced technologies and processes. Typically, DevOps experts are present in every stage of software development, from design to deployment, and maintenance. DevOps involvement in the management of technology means they have first hand experience on how their work affects organizations. While a career in DevOps brings a sense of ownership and pride in one's work, a lot of myths surround the industry and that brings about a lot of confusion. Below are some common misconceptions about DevOps jobs.

DevOps is All About Tools
There is no doubt that tools play a significant role in the DevOps process, but they are only a part of the equation. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot implement DevOps and provide software delivery successfully by following a checklist of tools that your team should adapt. Too often, companies looking to integrate DevOps in their daily operations assume that by purchasing various tools, like Librato for monitoring services or Chef, a configuration management tool, they have achieved DevOps.

However, that is not the case because there are different aspects of DevOps. For DevOps to be successful in any organization, it involves people, processes, and tools. Besides implementing a new set of tech tools, organizations must also focus on cultural shifts.

Technical and non-technical teams in each department must have excellent knowledge about the cultural shift behind DevOps. After all, if no one within your organization knows how to use different tech tools, it is impossible to nurture a culture of collaboration and efficiency that DevOps aims to achieve. Also, a lack of well-defined processes or methodologies serves to delay your efforts to build a strong DevOps culture.

Only Large Enterprises Need DevOps
Many people think DevOps is a concept designed for large companies only, but that is not true. Small businesses can benefit from DevOps by developing an incremental strategy or a simple approach that focuses on minor achievements. Too often, small startups typically employ product managers and software engineers at the early stages of product development. A DevOps engineer or infrastructure expert will come into play in the later cycles of software or application maturity. Your small software engineering team can achieve satisfactory results by implementing a few simple strategies.

First, empower people within your organization through a collaborative and knowledge-sharing approach. Both tech experts and non-technical teams should feel empowered to engage functional teams or organizations to make projects successful. Small business owners should also teach teams the basics of DevOps. With the availability of study guides online, small startups do not need to spend vast sums of money on training. Your team can take online classes to gain knowledge about probability and statistics, a building block of today's technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

During training, your software engineering team will also learn communication and collaboration, coding and scripting, security, automation, CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous deployment), and soft skills. Besides empowering your teams, focus on incorporating incremental changes faster. Make minor changes to code, culture, and processes quickly to boost DevOps' success.

It's worth noting that startups can leverage DevOps tools to their advantage even without a DevOps engineer. There are many cloud-based DevOps tools small businesses can use and scale up as they expand. For example, using Docker can help web developers within your team to manage software frameworks with ease. Other DevOps tools worth investing in are Chef, Maven, Juju, GitLab, Jira, Pantheon, and Jenkins.

DevOps Replaces IT Teams
Another myth about DevOps jobs is that they replace IT Teams, including development and operations experts. One aspect about DevOps that people don't understand is that it's a philosophical method to software development and operations. And its primary goal is to optimize collaboration between working silos and knowledge domains, which people often consider as separate entities.

It is therefore crucial not to think of DevOps engineers as a replacement for traditional IT experts. In fact, if applying a DevOps framework in your organization forces developers to be excellent system admins, data analysts, and change managers, something isn't right. Using DevOps to replace IT teams will only put too much strain on tech development teams. When hiring professionals in DevOps, companies should leverage their skills to break barriers to collaboration and not ask developers to do everything in the IT department.

A career in DevOps is intriguing because it exposes individuals to innovative technologies and tactics that bring development and operations departments together while supporting collaboration, productivity, and efficiency. By leveraging DevOps, companies both small and large can deploy software without wasting resources. However, a lot of misconceptions surround DevOps.

Many people believe DevOps rotates around tools and is designed for large enterprises only. They also assume DevOps eliminates development, operations, and IT roles. The truth is DevOps involves people, processes, and tools to optimize collaboration among teams in development and operation.

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