A DevOps engineer is an information technology (IT) professional who works with software developers, system operators (SysOps) and other production IT staff to oversee code releases. The role calls for someone who has the necessary hard and soft skills that are required to overcome the traditional barriers between software development, testing and operations teams.
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A DevOps engineer must know how to manage the IT infrastructure that's needed to support software code in dedicated, multi-tenant or hybrid cloud environments. He or she may be required to provision required resources, select an appropriate deployment model, direct the testing protocol to validate release and monitor performance after release. Tasks may include preparing test data, analyzing results, troubleshooting problems and communicating issues back to development.
The DevOps approach to software development requires frequent, incremental changes to code versions, which means frequent deployment and testing regimens. Although DevOp engineers rarely code from scratch, they must understand the basics of software development languages and be familiar with the development tools used to create new code or update existing code. A DevOps engineer will work with development staff to tackle the coding and scripting needed to connect elements of code, such as libraries or software development kits (SDKs), and integrate other components such as SQL data management or messaging tools that are needed to run the software release on operating systems and production infrastructure.
The role of DevOps engineer does not fall along one career track; professionals evolve into the position from a variety of backgrounds. For example, a DevOps engineer may start as a software developer that oversees aspects of operations. Conversely, a DevOps engineer may move up from a system administrator role because he or she has gained knowledge about coding, scripting, integration and testing. There can be some overlap between DevOps and SysOps engineering roles depending on the individual organization and its technical needs, but it's the DevOps engineer whose responsibilities include changing business processes as needed to solve organizational problems and improve business outcomes.