The search for DevOps, SRE, and Cloud Engineers is on the rise. As the demand for these professionals grows much faster than their actual availability, these engineers get the upper hand when it comes to picking their next job. If you’re looking for career mobility – and this includes working for American companies – this is the guide you were looking for!

To give you an idea of how sough-after these professionals are, a recent article on CIO mapped that 90% of hiring managers are struggling to fill roles for Cloud specialists. Along with AI, Data Science, Security, and IT Architecture Engineering, these are some of the toughest roles to fill. So how do you get ahead of the game and thrive in this or another correlated role, read on!

Roles and responsibilities of these engineers

Before we start, you may ask: “What does a DevOps, SRE, or Cloud Engineer do?”. The truth is that although these roles are related, they are defined differently in scope – what accounts for differences between the DevOps salary, how much an SRE makes, and why Cloud engineers sometimes earn less.

Cloud Native, DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering overlap in Lean practices

SRE, Cloud Native, and DevOps do have a shared enemy: Complexity. Source: The Server Cage Match

The first thing you should know is that Develop Operations, aka DevOps, is actually a software development culture. Companies that adopt this understand the product and its lifecycle as a shared responsibility between developers and operations. This webinar by CloudSkills helps you understand what different teams are looking for and how to evaluate which skills you should look to strengthen.

 

At the end of the day, it is all about sharing: growing transparency, strengthening collaboration, and embracing ownership and accountability. And yes, even Cloud Ops/Cloud engineers should know about Infrastructure as code. Everyone should! Now, let’s begin by looking at what these DevOps engineers do.

What does a DevOps engineer do?

Now, experts argue that DevOps is not a job title and the DevOps definition should instead be that of a concept or mindset. However, some businesses see this as such an important milestone in improving the way their digital product teams go about https://blog.ubiminds.com/key-development-team-roles-sdlc/developing software, they rather name someone to bring this change about.

Thus, some companies indeed do look to hire DevOps engineers (or Development Operations Specialists). These professionals are tasked with releasing frequent incremental improvements to the code base. How? Using continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous testing.

As put by RedHat, DevOps Engineers are the people who introduce processes, tools, and methodologies to balance needs throughout the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).

So how do I become a DevOps Engineer?

There isn’t a step-by-step process on how to become a DevOps engineer, but there are some capabilities and experiences that you should accumulate if you want to transition your career. We list some:

  • Learn code. It’s not about specific languages, as much as it is about getting acquainted with the most common tech stacks. Web apps are on the rise, so you might want to look at those first.
  • Study. A lot. DevOps engineers need a wide range of technical knowledge, from automation to software development to tools and methodologies. You have to know your way around the SDLC and how to apply Agile.
  • Do DevOps training and get certified. Courses on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) are especially important for you to learn to make DevOps decisions. A top engineer will be able to explain and justify why and how s/he has opted for specific principles, methods, and techniques.
  1. Network and interact. There is only so much you can learn and do on your own. Empathy and negotiation skills are essential to the day-to-day work of DevOps Engineers, so you want to get in on the action.

At the end of the day, you can’t forget DevOps is about breaking tradition and finding innovative ways to develop better software. To be among the best in DevOps Engineering, you have to be constantly open to finding new paths. Other people are a great way to find them.

What does an SRE engineer do?

Fun fact: the SRE term/role was actually created by Google’s Ben Treynor Sloss. So, we’re going to borrow the concept from him. Short way to say it, SRE Engineers implement DevOps culture.

In other words,  they are complementary in the sense that while DevOps is a culture/mindset/group of principals, SRE is a tangible set of practices derived from it. A Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) shares the DevOps’ intent of keeping applications up and running so users aren’t impacted. 

An SRE team will be responsible for the likes of:

  • Capacity planning
  • Availability
  • Latency
  • Performance
  • Efficiency
  • Monitoring
  • Emergency response

SRE is therefore much more operation-driven, usually focused on core infrastructure, more applicable to the production environment.

What should I know so I become an SRE specialist?

As an SRE, you have a strong background in coding, but you also have your bases covered on the fundamentals of Computer Science. There are key traits to success, however. 

Here are some beliefs and habits that you need to develop to help you succeed as a Site Reliability Engineer:

  • Aim at perfection, but acknowledge it’s unattainable. As an SRE, you have to believe the process and trust that improvement is a gradual and continuous mission. Things will break down eventually. Your role is to make sure that the team learns from mistakes and improves the product from thereon.
  • Take a broader outlook on how engineering decisions affect the business. Successful SREs are continually studying and executing change management so that experiments and improvements are interpreted at a high-level. SRE Engineers will always shine a light on how these may impact future developments, not just the current situation. That is why you will present (and sometimes persuade) leaders on which way to go.
  • If you’re not a pragmatist yet, find a way to become one. Decisions made by SRE specialists affect the whole team and that means your assessments have to be objective. You might have to choose between setting up processes for change evaluation and approval or instead pick smaller but more frequent releases. 

Last but not least, we reinforce the need to expand your abilities to include skills and tools – especially on automation. SREs have a mission to increase product reliability, without decreasing the team’s ability to ship software quickly. Increasing your repertoire is key to make this happen.

Then what does a Cloud Engineer do?

Again, a complementary role. Cloud Engineers use their expertise to decide on which services to adopt and which to avoid (and why), and establish the best practices for software engineering too, quite like DevOps and SREs.

In fact, it can be said that Cloud Engineering is a subset of DevOps. However, a big difference is that Cloud Engineers don’t work on old code, but instead focus on specific parts linked to cloud platforms.

Their attributions include, but are not limited to:

  • Coding serverless functions
  • Building scripts and tooling
  • Application monitoring and alerting setup

How do I become a Cloud Engineer, then?

If you’re looking to establish and grow your career as a Cloud Engineer, there are trending competencies you should look into:

  • Dive deep into Data Security. Cloud engineers and architects need to understand security at the infrastructure level, but also for the software layer.
  • Talking of which, you should also know software architecture. Cloud Computing is already used as a competitive advantage, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence. Sooner or later, you will face these and will have to be able to engage, even if it isn’t your area of expertise.
  • Get ready for scalability and elastic infrastructure. You must learn to define policies and scripts that increase resilience while decreasing the use of (and consequent costs with) cloud resources.

However, there are other areas you should be attentive to, such as Observability, CI/CD, Data Storage, and Operational and Systems Thinking. For specifics, you can take the certification courses for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, or Azure

What does it take to advance in an international career as a DevOps, SRE, or Cloud Engineer?

Did any of these options sound appealing to you? If you feel you’re already there and are ready to move on to an international career, Ubiminds can make it happen. We specialize in bridging the gap between your career objectives and the companies that need high-performance professionals like yourself.

Fill the form below and book a quick call with us – we’ll either direct you towards an open opportunity or guide you through the necessary steps to becoming a world-class engineer ready to be placed in one of our American customers.