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How DevOps can redefine your IT strategy

Rich Hein | March 18, 2015
Is DevOps the flavor of the month or the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for? We ask experts what they think of the trend, where to find talent and how IT workers can break into this emerging field within IT.

So where should you be looking for talent in the DevOps arena? "It [DevOps talent] typically doesn't come from IT; my experience is that engineers, working in IT, are a better fit. If they have manufacturing experience where LEAN has been instantiated for some time, it's even better," says Michael Henry, senior vice president and CIO at Rovi. This market is a competitive one in regards to talent acquisition. "It's been easier to grow my talent internally for two reasons: Competition is fierce, and everyone wants to wear the DevOps tag on their resume," Henry says.

DevOps departments
Another interesting fact from in the Puppet Labs survey is that 16 percent of those surveyed reported working within a DevOps department. This is a new trend, having only come into existence within the past five years. Of those who reported working within a DevOps department, a majority work in companies with 20 to 499 employees. These individuals, according to the Puppet Labs study, tended to work in the entertainment, technology and Web software industries.

But before you create your own DevOps department, beware that there are critics of this practice and their argument isn't without merit. In a recent blog post, Jez Humble wrote, "The DevOps movement addresses the dysfunction that results from organizations composed of functional silos. Thus, creating another functional silo that sits between dev and ops is clearly a poor (and ironic) way to try and solve these problems. Instead, DevOps proposes strategies to create better collaboration between functional silos, or doing away with the functional silos altogether and creating cross-functional teams (or some combination of these approaches)."

Making a career in DevOps
If you hope to take advantage of the DevOps trend there is good news. According to a recent study from Edureka, there has been a 75 percent increase in job listings that contain DevOps. However, there are things to consider: Our experts agree that strong collaboration and adaptability are essential but more in needed.

"DevOps roles require more interpersonal and communication skills than either a traditional heads-down developer or operations person. [Because] you are in essence bridging the gap between the two areas, collaboration skills are key and the creativity to solve real-world problems is critical. Additionally, one needs to have a strong focus on process and continuous improvement," says Tracy Cashman, senior vice president and partner with WinterWyman.

"A successful DevOps candidate will likely have experience in both software development and operations, experience with soft skills and a collaborative approach to work, and a drive to learn and evolve as the needs of business and technology change," says Goli.

DevOps certifications?
Experts are split on certifications. "DevOps, to me, is more about on-the-job training vs. certifications. Companies want to know that you have 'been there, done that'," says Cashman.

 

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