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Top 4 Skills to Look Out for in DevOps Engineers

Finding the right DevOps talent to accomplish a seemingly endless series of complex technical tasks has become a top priority for organisations. As businesses strive to increase agility and scalability with the use of enterprise-grade cloud architecture, adopting practices like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) become highly sought-after. 

When such situations arise, organisations must be proactive and forward-thinking in their approach, seeking the help of experienced DevOps engineers to unlock new opportunities marrying software development and operations into a seamless, hybridised solution.

When the time comes to hire DevOps engineers, organisations must look for evidence that prospective talent can successfully implement the processes, tools, and philosophies required to accelerate ‌development processes reliably and securely. This will involve assessing DevOps engineers, consultants, software architects, GitLab and GitHub experts, and other niche DevOps applicants from many angles. Ultimately, not all DevOps engineer candidates will possess the right mixture of soft and technical skills to streamline operations and drive tangible results. 

When evaluating candidates – through DevOps recruitment specialists like ClearHub – make sure they demonstrate the following five essential qualities.

  1. DevOps Toolchain Proficiency

At its core, DevOps is about amalgamating development and operations tasks into unified, automated workflows through specialised toolchains. Junior and senior DevOps engineers should ideally have well-rounded expertise across a few essential pillars utilising a variety of common DevOps tools and practices, such as:

  • Source code management: in other words, tracking, merging and collaborating on code changes across distributed teams through tools like GitHub and GitLab.
  • Continuous integration: building, packaging, and testing code through automated pipelines using solutions like CircleCI or Travis CI.
  • Infrastructure as code: Programmatically managing infrastructure resources by using products like TerraForm. 
  • Continuous delivery: Streamlining the release and coordination of applications using tools like AWS and Azure DevOps.

Junior DevOps engineers may be less equipped than seniors, but rather than looking at each candidate as siloed specialists, look for applicants with demonstrative knowledge of tools across this toolchain. They could offer unique perspectives and insights into marrying incumbent tools from development through deployment.

  1. Cloud Platform and Services Experience

Cloud infrastructure has become the de facto standard for deploying modern applications through established DevOps practices. As such, prospective engineers must be overly familiar with some or all leading cloud computing platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, as examples.

Valuable cloud skills to look for include provisioning cloud services, configuring networking and security controls, managing cloud-native developer tools, and optimising costs through built-in services. Containerisation experience is also a huge plus.

Some engineers may be more familiar with one or two platforms, but even if they are well-versed in a stack different to your organisation’s incumbent one, that doesn’t mean they should be absolved from consideration. Strong DevOps engineers will have proven production experience deploying, managing, and monitoring applications on cloud platforms, and that expertise can be transferred to a new stack.

  1. Deep Understanding of CI/CD Pipelines

At the heart of DevOps is implementing robust CI/CD pipelines to streamline the entire application delivery lifecycle. From initial coding through to production deployment and monitoring, CI/CD pipelines in DevOps are crucial; as such, engineers should be well-versed in such philosophies and methodologies.

While your CI/CD pipelines may look different to those that a candidate is used to, evidence of CI/CD agility and flexibility is a vital clue. If they can demonstrate how they have designed and optimised certain pipelines before, using branching strategies and development models to facilitate continuous application delivery and optimisation, then there is hope that they can deploy the same for you.

Strong DevOps engineer candidates can also help upskill and coach team members on leveraging CI/CD tooling and following agile practices like version control, containerisation, test automation, and infrastructure as code (IaC). CI/CD leadership enables faster and more flexible feedback loops that are pivotal to improvement. 

  1. Transparent and Collaborative

While technical skills are crucial, hiring DevOps talent must involve an accurate, impartial assessment of their interpersonal abilities as well. Since DevOps engineers usually operate as a conduit between software developers and IT operations, bridging any gaps will prove vital if you are to reap the benefits of consistent workflows.

Empathy, patience emotional intelligence and being an adept communicator, active listener, and willing mentor allow DevOps engineers to break down silos to improve productivity. They must be able to clearly articulate processes and requirements to stakeholders and other teams of varying technical levels. They should also be willing to collaborate and share knowledge with the wider organisation, fostering a more transparent and welcoming culture that embraces innovation.

Hire Top Quality DevOps Contractors Easily Through ClearHub

Transforming software delivery lifecycles through DevOps is about people as much as it is about technology and processes. Complementing in-house teams with experienced DevOps contractors and resources can be the catalyst for long-term positive change, and help businesses achieve the next step in their scaling journey.

When partnering with an established recruitment firm like ClearHub, most of the initial legwork in candidate shortlisting, initial interviews, and background checks are all taken care of. 

Provided you have communicated the key DevOps technical and soft skills you need from candidates, ClearHub’s dedicated recruitment consultants will ensure that only the best possible talent is brought forward for consideration. This leaves you with less administration and paperwork to file through, ensuring that when you do speak to prospective DevOps talent, you’re best prepared to make your consultations and meetings productive and meaningful.

Let ClearHub connect you with a broad talent pool of established and vetted DevOps experts today, who are sure to make a positive difference to your software delivery processes. Contact us to see the available talent we have already vetted who could add value to your organisation today.

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