8 In-Demand Skills for DevOps Engineers

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about working as a DevOps engineer, the skills that will help you succeed in this role, and how to develop DevOps engineering skills.

[Featured Image] A DevOps engineer practices her DevOps skills in her office.

Working as a DevOps engineer requires a specific set of skills, with a strong foundation of both human and technical skills, allowing you to support both the operational and developmental components of software development. The introduction of DevOps is a key part of the Agile project management approach, and ultimately leads to more efficient development of software systems, allowing companies to bring products to market sooner.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is the consolidation of development and operational teams in order to provide benefits to the software development process and build upon conventional methods where developers and operations teams previously worked separately. These benefits include an increase in the speed of development and the frequency of product innovation. The increase in collaboration as a result of the DevOps model is largely responsible for the improvement in efficiency since team members are better able to work together and share the responsibilities of tasks. 

Read more: What Is DevOps? A Guide to the Basics

DevOps Engineer job duties

DevOps engineers are involved in the entire software development process and perform various tasks within that process. These include:

  • Maintaining and troubleshooting software

  • Ensuring proper security of software systems and minimizing vulnerabilities.

  • Working with customers to better understand their needs

  • Collaborating with the rest of the IT department

  • Updating software

  • Creating solutions for technical errors that occur

  • Writing code and automating processes using scripting

How to become a DevOps engineer

You typically need a bachelor's degree to be a DevOps engineer, with relevant degree options including a bachelor’s in computer science, electronics engineering, management information systems, mathematics, and software engineering. Gaining experience in information technology is also important. It's common for DevOps engineers to have prior experience in software engineering, software development, and other IT positions. You can also earn a DevOps certification to demonstrate your knowledge and acquire skills. Some DevOps certifications you can earn are Amazon Web Services Certified DevOps Engineer, Google's Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer, and CompTIA Linux+.

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Read more: What Is a Bachelor’s Degree? Requirements, Costs, and More

Essential DevOps human skills

While you need plenty of technical skills as a DevOps engineer, your interpersonal skills are also important since you will be working with other members of a team. Here are some of the human skills to develop:

1. Collaboration

Because DevOps aims to bring together the development and operational sides of software development, collaborating with others is a key skill to have as a DevOps engineer. Along with understanding development and operations, you should be able to work with any other IT departments that play a role in the software development process to ensure successful outcomes.

2. Continuous learning

As a DevOps engineer, staying current with the latest tools and technologies is important to ensure you’re as productive as possible. Continuous learning can also help you become a better decision-maker as your knowledge grows.

3. Communication

When working with members of your team, it’s a valuable skill to effectively communicate your ideas in a clear way that others will understand. As a DevOps engineer, you need strong verbal and written skills.

4. Problem-solving and decision-making

When issues arise in the software development process, it’s your responsibility as a DevOps engineer to find and implement a solution. Effective problem-solving means you understand the problem in its entirety and, after exploring all options, decide on the best possible solution.

Essential DevOps technical skills

Your work as a DevOps engineer requires proficiency in several technical skills. Here's a look at important technical skills worth developing:

1. Testing skills

One of your job responsibilities is identifying issues within the software, and you should be familiar with testing tools to spot software bugs that need fixing. Testing helps ensure you deliver a quality end product to customers.

2. Coding and scripting

As a DevOps engineer, you need to have knowledge of programming languages and be able to write code in languages such as JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, Bash, Shell, and Python. Coding and scripting skills are also important for effectively utilizing operating systems. 

3. Security skills

DevOps teams using third-party code during software development can potentially leave the program susceptible to security concerns. In order to combat this, you should have security skills, including threat investigation, code analysis, and vulnerability assessments. 

4. Linux

Linux is a widely used, open-source operating system. You will use Linux as a DevOps engineer to automate applications and testing environments, perform configuration management, and implement security settings that protect against viruses and malware.

How to improve your DevOps skills

You have several options for further developing your DevOps skills. Degree programs are one option. You can even choose to pursue a master’s degree in an area such as software development or IT management to improve your career outlook as a DevOps engineer. You can also earn certifications or enroll in online courses such as those found on Coursera. Focusing on continuous learning will help you keep up with advancements that help you do your job and ensure your skills are up to date so you can pursue advancement opportunities. Another way you can stay knowledgeable of the latest DevOps developments is by joining an online community where professionals share information.

Getting started with Coursera

On Coursera, you can find several highly rated courses to learn more about DevOps and DevOps engineering. IBM DevOps and Software Engineering Professional Certificate can help you begin your career as a DevOps engineer. In this course, you will earn an employer-recognized certificate while learning demonstrable skills for employers, including building applications and using automation tools.

Another option is the DevOps on AWS Specialization. This course is designed to help you learn how to implement DevOps practices in the AWS cloud and use continuous integration and development practices. You will earn a certificate after completing the course as well.

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