As the pace of digitisation and software innovation exploded over the last decade, so too did the need for new ways of thinking. New methodologies and culture shifts that would encourage collaboration, iteration and communication, especially when it came to delivering better-quality software. As part of that disruption, DevOps (short for Development and Operations) was born.
DevOps is not a role, person or title. It’s a way of thinking and building that can be applied across disciplines, in the same way as Agile, Design Thinking and Scrum. Ultimately, it’s an automation process that allows quick, high-quality software development, while keeping all business stakeholders in the loop. It’s about a set of tools, or practices, that allow teams to build, scale, rollout and test software much faster.
The beauty of DevOps is that it can be implemented in almost any workplace, and has become a key ingredient in the industry’s trend towards digital transformation. In other words, everyone can benefit from adopting DevOps.
“The pandemic exposed the need for adaptability and agility,” says Kiru Samapathy, Lead Engineer at Thoughtworks.
So why should you consider a DevOps career in 2022?
1. Less stress
“According to the long-running, scientific surveys summarised in the annual State of DevOps report, teams that embraced DevOps as a culture were half as likely to experience burnout when compared to the rest of the industry,” Samapathy says. This tallies with other research. According to SEEK, job satisfaction for DevOps Engineers is sitting at 4.1 out of 5. Because DevOps is specifically about working smarter, not harder, it’s a great methodology to decrease unnecessary stress and improve your career longevity.
2. Soft skills are in demand
Don’t worry if you don’t have specific technical skills on your CV. When it comes to DevOps, "hard skills" like cloud software (AWS, GCP, Azure) and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) are certainly valuable, but because emerging technologies are changing all the time, "soft skills" (sometimes called enterprise skills) are just as important. “Qualities like; a passion to learn, drive, a passion to explore and stay on top of emerging technologies, curiosity to understand how things work on a fundamental level, and familiarity with good engineering practices, are all really important,” says Christian Kamitsis, a Technical Recruiter from Thoughtworks. “DevOps is not really a role, but rather a culture and a mindset.”
3. Big growth potential
DevOps is in hot demand. SEEK is projecting 30% growth in demand over the next five years, with salaries benchmarking around $135,000. There are over 2500 job opportunities in Australia right now. All of this means that DevOps is an attractive career path with tremendous upside and lots of growth potential. American management consultancy Bain & Company reported in 2021 that DevOps job vacancies grew 443% between 2015 and 2019, which is way faster than even data science (167%) and software engineering (69%). Puppet's 2021 State of DevOps survey was equally optimistic. It found that, in 2021, more DevOps people moved to salaries of $150,000 to $250,000 than in any year since 2019.
4. It's part of life now
There’s a reason DevOps is in such high demand. Since the pandemic, hybrid work culture is officially here to stay, which has expedited the adoption of cloud technologies. Basically, more and more companies need skilled DevOps professionals. People who understand the importance of a database, and can handle not just production, but also deployment and scale. “Not all organisations are there yet, but the industry is moving in the right direction,” Samapathy says. “DevOps is an essential part of doing business now. We are seeing a growing trend of serverless and infrastructure-as-code adoption by default with emphasis on good engineering practices.”
5. A versatile discipline
There are a couple of trends shaping the modern DevOps movement. The first, as Samapathy puts it, is “the continued focus on shifting security left and making it an integral part of development, embraced by all roles.” Basically, security is now everyone’s responsibility, which has led to the rise of ‘DevSecOps’. The other is the integration of ‘FinOps’ (financial optimisations infrastructure) and ‘GreenOps’ (awareness of environmentally friendly software) with traditional DevOps methodologies. This makes DevOps a multi-faceted, ever-changing discipline, applicable across a broad range of roles. If you’re interested in the intersection of software, operations, business, finance, security and the environment, DevOps is all these things at once.