What Does a DevOps Engineer Do? A Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

If you like to problem solve, a DevOps engineer role could be a good one for you. As a DevOps engineer, you’ll be in charge of optimizing and automating the software development cycle. Learn more about this exciting career path.

[Featured image] A DevOps engineer is sitting on their desk in the office.

A DevOps engineer is responsible for leading and coordinating the activities of different teams to create and maintain a company's software. The term 'DevOps' is derived from "development and operations" and is a set of practices aiming to increase the efficiency of the software development lifecycle through collaboration.

A DevOps engineer's end goal is to shorten the software development process, increase the frequency of software releases, unite operations teams and development teams, and facilitate more dependable releases.

How much is a DevOps engineer's salary?

According to Glassdoor, the average total salary for DevOps engineers in Canada is $97,646 per year [1]. The average hourly rate is $58.97. To start, you might expect $90,000 per year. The most experienced DevOps engineers make up to $154,550 per year. DevOps engineers can work overtime or spend time on-call, as software issues can come up at odd hours.

Types of DevOps engineers

DevOps engineers may take on specific roles depending on their interests and the needs of the organizations where they work. A few specialized roles in the DevOps engineering field include:

  • A release manager manages ongoing software updates.

  • Software developers write code.

  • Quality assurance engineers are responsible for reviewing and testing new code.

  • Security engineers ensure the security of the software in the system.

  • Cloud engineers design, plan, manage, maintain, and support cloud technology.

DevOps engineering skills

DevOps engineering requires a mix of technical and workplace skills to succeed.

Technical skills

DevOps engineers are, first and foremost, engineers. In addition to standard engineering skills, like math and analytical thinking, they should understand:

  • Project management. As the person responsible for ensuring that a company's software is up to date, secure, and free from bugs and glitches, a DevOps engineer needs to be looking for and implementing any relevant improvements constantly.

  • Production infrastructure. A good DevOps engineer must have a strong understanding of the initiation, planning, execution, and monitoring of everything from minor bug fixes to massive updates. Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) is a crucial aspect of the DevOps approach to software development. 

  • Coding. Although some DevOps engineers may not always write code, they must still understand the fundamentals of whatever programming languages are being used.

  • Server administration. DevOps engineers administer a company's networks and servers that host any software being created. This means creating accounts, updating permissions, and ensuring that everything is regularly backed up. They also set the procedures junior IT professionals follow when troubleshooting, debugging or making other changes.

Workplace skills

DevOps engineers are also team players and spend a lot of their days working with people from different professional backgrounds. To be successful, you must understand:

  • Communications: Part of ensuring that software is constantly up-to-date and glitch-free involves talking to tech support, listening to feedback, and passing it on to the team. They must effectively explain what's happening and what needs to be done. 

  • Coaching: An effective DevOps engineer should always be looking to improve their team and software. This means identifying gaps in the skill set and devising ways to fill them, whether training existing staff or hiring new staff. 

  • Flexibility: Software issues can happen at any hour of the day or night. DevOps engineers often work irregular hours and stay on call to resolve any issues. 

How to become a DevOps engineer

The following steps can help you get started in a career as a DevOps engineer.

Consider a bachelor's degree. 

Many job descriptions for DevOps engineers call for at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, though some employers will accept equivalent work experience. York University in Ontario is one of the first in the nation to offer a DevOps-specific post-secondary certification.

Earn a certification. 

Some companies might look for certifications in DevOps pipeline tools. To expand your skill set, you might get certified in Azure, Python, Gitlab, Jenkins, and Docker.

Start in a related role.

DevOps engineers should have extensive experience with software tools and coding languages. To obtain this experience, you can work in IT, system administration, or software development.

DevOps engineers can start with an entry-level system administrator, support, or help desk role to gain experience with software maintenance.

Get started in DevOps.

If you're ready to take the next step toward an in-demand career in DevOps, consider earning the Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud DevOps Engineer Professional Certificate on Coursera. Learn from industry experts at Google as you prepare for the Google Cloud Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer certification exam.

Article sources

  1. Glassdoor. “How much does a Devops Engineer make in Canada?. https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/canada-devops-engineer-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IN3_KO7,22.htm.” Accessed May 2, 2024.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.