Tips on How to Build a High-Performance DevOps Team
DevOps has become a prominent buzzword in the IT industry and a leading software development methodology worldwide shown by Statista. In the past year, 38% of recruiters actively sought DevOps candidates, while 28% reported difficulties in hiring professionals with DevOps skills.
Almost in every case, a DevOps engineer can’t be a single person, and a company needs a DevOps team of at least two professionals. Due to the extensive skills and responsibilities associated with DevOps, it is impractical for a single role to possess comprehensive knowledge in all areas.
Merely hiring someone who claims DevOps expertise on their CV offers no assurance of proficiency. Therefore, it is crucial to clearly define the specific job responsibilities required for these specialists and establish your ultimate goal: managing cloud migration, developing a software product from scratch, or ensuring infrastructure security.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a software development approach that brings together previously separate roles such as development, IT operations, quality engineering, and security.
DevOps teams streamline and automate manual processes, utilizing technology stacks and tools that enable engineers to work quickly and independently, accelerating tasks like code deployment and infrastructure provisioning.
By adopting the DevOps culture, businesses can create reliable products that are more responsive to customer needs, deliver them faster, and gain a competitive edge in the market.
These are just a few examples of the diverse aspects of the DevOps culture:
- CloudOps, which focuses on optimizing cloud performance, automating compliance, and enabling centralized control and scalability across environments.
- DevSecOps involves integrating security measures early in the software development life cycle, ensuring compliance with standards like PCI and CIS, and addressing patching requirements.
- InfraOps/SysOps automates and optimizes cloud infrastructure operations, including predictive capacity planning, workload provisioning, and resource scheduling.
Why DevOps is Beneficial for Business
Enhance the user experience by ensuring software reliability
DevOps engineers employ real-time monitoring and logging to stay informed about software performance. By utilizing CI/CD best practices, they ensure that software updates and infrastructure changes are functional and secure. As a result, your product and brand provide a positive experience for end users.
Drive user satisfaction by prioritizing software security
DevOps plays a vital role in developing software products with minimal bugs and vulnerabilities, enhancing user satisfaction, and bolstering your brand image. DevOps engineers leverage automated compliance policies, fine-grained controls, and configuration management techniques to maintain control and ensure adherence to compliance standards.
Build competitive advantage through rapid and frequent delivery
DevOps teams leverage CI/CD pipelines to automate and accelerate software release cycles, enabling faster innovation and improvement of the end product. By swiftly addressing bugs and introducing new features, your business can be highly responsive to customer needs, adapt to evolving markets more effectively, and ultimately gain a competitive edge.
Facilitate business growth by securely and effortlessly scaling software
DevOps engineers leverage microservices architecture to effectively manage infrastructure and development processes at scale. Additionally, DevOps teams utilize Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to automate repetitive manual processes, enabling efficient management of complex or evolving systems with reduced risk. This approach supports seamless scalability.
Drive higher performance and achieve better results through improved collaboration
The DevOps model emphasizes the creation of more efficient teams with a strong sense of ownership and accountability. DevOps engineers collaborate closely, sharing job functions while integrating their workflows. This approach minimizes inefficiencies and saves time by eliminating lengthy handover periods between developers and operations. Ultimately, it leads to increased productivity and improved outcomes.
Must-Have DevOps Skills and Job Functions
Irrespective of your business needs, the software development cycle follows a consistent pattern:
- operations (monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting).
To effectively engage in each stage, ensure that your DevOps team possesses the core skills and job functions required for the entire development cycle.
Unlike traditional software development, DevOps teams consist of dedicated developers who contribute throughout the entire lifecycle, spanning from development and quality assurance to deployment and operations. Each engineer in a DevOps team possesses a diverse skill set that extends beyond a single function.
However, due to the broad range of duties, the DevOps label encompasses a variety of engineers with different skills and responsibilities. We understand that comprehending such an extensive list of skills can be challenging. Consider the difficulty of a single individual possessing thorough knowledge in all areas.
Hence, ideally, DevOps refers to a team rather than an individual. Only by adopting such an approach can your business achieve the desired outcomes.
Planning Skills and Responsibilities
- Comprehend customer requirements and project goals.
- Utilize Jira for efficient collaboration, task prioritization, and progress reporting.
- Manage Agile software development using Scrum, fostering iterative development with continuous feedback.
- Employ Kanban boards to visualize project progress.
- Develop backlogs to effectively plan future development.
- Promote a culture of information sharing and facilitate communication through chat applications, issue/project-tracking systems, and wikis.
Software Developing Skills and Responsibilities
- Choose and utilize appropriate development environments such as Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Eclipse (for Java), or IntelliJ IDEA.
- Build code into deployable artifacts for various environments.
- Use version control systems like Git to commit changes to a shared repository.
- Run local unit tests, integration tests, load tests, and API reliability tests as an additional verification layer before integrating new code.
- Follow a Trunk-based development methodology to merge small, frequent updates into a main branch.
Delivering Skills and Responsibilities
- Familiarity with DevOps platforms like GitHub Actions and Azure Pipelines to automate deployment and reduce deployment time.
- Proficiency in at least one CI/CD tool (e.g., Jenkins, Shippable, GitLab CI, Buildkite, Team City, Code fresh) to enable frequent, error-free, and predictable software releases.
- Deploy and launch web app stacks such as Java, MERN, or Python/Django applications.
- Establish a release management process with clear manual approval stages.
- Implement automated gates to progress applications through stages until the final release to customers.
- Create microservices architectures for SaaS applications, enabling frequent releases without disruptions to the overall system.
- Automate building and testing processes to ensure production-quality code in the main branch.
- Implement access control policies for data security, preventing unauthorized access to company data.
- Establish a unified and automated pipeline for building and deploying services to mitigate risks associated with independent code bases.
- Utilize deployment techniques like a blue-green or canary release for non-breaking changes and keep up with service updates.
- Optimize deployment processes using tools such as Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) or similar solutions.
Infrastructure as Code:
- Apply Infrastructure as Code (IaC) methodology as part of CI/CD to ensure consistent and efficient releases.
- Accelerate cloud provisioning using IaC tools like AWS Cloud Formation, Azure Resource Manager, Terraform, Ansible, Chef Platforms, etc.
- Scale infrastructure and manage resources across multiple accounts and regions with ease.
- Extend and manage infrastructure to incorporate cloud resources from the Cloud Formation Registry, developer community, or libraries.
- Automate resource management across your organization using Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud service integrations, offering streamlined application distribution and governance controls.
- Automate the creation and replication of multiple testing environments in the cloud.
- Proficient in AWS, Azure, and GCP to develop serverless applications using tools like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, AWS Amplify, and Amazon Dynamo DB (or similar tools for Azure/Google Cloud).
- Work with cloud-native architecture, including load-balancing, auto scaling, and clustering launches across regions.
- Utilize queuing for long-running tasks to create highly scalable systems in the cloud.
- Familiarity with Kubernetes clustering (Amazon EKS, Azure EKS, and Google Kubernetes Service) to automate the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications.
Maintaining and Troubleshooting Skills and Responsibilities
- Handle security incidents, audits, and server hardening.
- Implement user security controls, including SSH keys, permissions, SSL certs, encryption, and API key encryption.
- Work with security compliance standards, VPN setup, container hardening, DevSecOps adoption, vulnerability assessments, patching, and disaster recovery strategies.
- Familiarity with regulations like HIPAA, PCI, or SOC2.
- Deploy cybersecurity measures through continuous vulnerability assessments and risk management.
Monitoring and Logging:
- Capture and consolidate user activity and API usage across locations and accounts on a centralized platform.
- Monitor, store, and validate activity events for authenticity.
- Generate required audit reports for internal policies and external regulations.
- Improve operational performance using alarms and automated actions triggered at predetermined thresholds.
- Continuously monitor API usage history to detect unusual activity and identify root causes.
- Visualize performance data, create alarms, and correlate data to resolve performance issues.
- Differentiate between DevOps and code issues and route them to the appropriate technical team.
- Utilize troubleshooting techniques to diagnose pipeline issues and resolve code bugs.
- Administer and maintain databases.
- Proficiency in building database clusters such as MySQL, RDS replicas, PostgreSQL, MongoDB sharding, etc.
It’s important to keep in mind that the list above is not exhaustive. Additional skills may be required depending on the specific context of the project or organization.