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10 Things To Know When Hiring an Expert DevOps Engineer

According to the 10th State of DevOps report, 83% of IT companies implement DevOps best practices to achieve better outcomes. Hiring an expert DevOps engineer is one of the best ways to implement DevOps in your organization. DevOps engineers have the skills and experience to help you automate your workflows, streamline your processes, and improve your overall software development lifecycle.

DevOps engineers are in high demand across all industries, from startups to large enterprises. If you’re looking for a competitive edge, hiring a DevOps engineer is necessary.

In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of hiring a DevOps engineer and provide tips on selecting the right candidate for your team.

Benefits of Hiring an Expert DevOps Engineer

DevOps engineers can boost productivity, speed up time-to-market, and reduce costs. Hiring the right candidate for your project can help you achieve these benefits.

  • Improves team collaboration and communication
  • Accelerates the software development lifecycle
  • Enables proactive bug identification and resolution
  • Reduces time to market
  • Facilitates continuous delivery and deployment
  • Enhances customer satisfaction
  • Reduces IT costs
  • Improves the security posture of applications
  • Increases the scalability and reliability of applications
  • Provides a competitive advantage
  • Improves compliance
  • Fosters innovation

What are the Responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps engineer is responsible for building, managing, and automating infrastructure and tools so that software can be developed and released. The job description may include the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Design, build, test, and deploy new development tools and infrastructure.
  • Identify opportunities for automation to improve development and release processes.
  • Maintain the company’s infrastructure security protocols.
  • Work with software engineering teams to ensure that development follows established guidelines.
  • Participate in project management decisions.
  • Develop procedures for troubleshooting and system maintenance.
  • Ensure timely security audits and implement high-end security controls, such as Linux/Unix, SSH keys, and AWS accounts.
  • Design and maintain continuous integration and delivery in CircleCI, Gitlab, AWS CodePipeline, or Jenkins.
  • Help decrease deployment time considerably to ensure faster deliveries.
  • Automate scripting of your servers, infrastructure, cronjobs, and other processes.
  • Interconnect different VPC networks, deploy VPN services, and troubleshoot networking issues.
  • Troubleshoot web applications, maintain and administer databases, and create microservice architectures for SaaS applications.

In short, by hiring a DevOps engineer, you get a cloud engineer, a Linux administrator, and a site reliability engineer all in one.

Hiring Process for an Expert DevOps Engineer

DevOps hiring processes vary depending on the organization’s needs and goals, as well as the availability and skill level of candidates. However, there are some common general steps:

  1. Define the role and responsibilities. Identify the technical skills, experience, and tasks required for the role.
  2. Find candidates. Use job boards, employee referrals, and professional networking sites to source candidates.
  3. Review resumes and cover letters. Look for candidates with relevant skills and experience, as well as strong communication and teamwork skills.
  4. Conduct phone screens. Learn more about the candidate’s background, skills, and interests, and assess their fit for the role.
  5. Administer technical assessments. Evaluate the candidate’s knowledge and skills with a coding challenge, written test, or hands-on technical project.
  6. Schedule in-person interviews. Learn more about the candidate’s personality, communication skills, and work style. Consider having them meet with other team members to assess their fit with the company culture.
  7. Check references. Contact the candidate’s past employers and colleagues for feedback on their work history and performance.
  8. Make an offer. If the candidate is a good fit, extend a job offer and negotiate terms.
  9. Onboard the new hire. Provide the new hire with the necessary training and resources to get up to speed in their new role.

10 Things To Look For When Hiring an Expert DevOps Engineer

When hiring a DevOps engineer, several factors should be considered to ensure the candidate is well-suited for the role. Below are 10 factors to consider, drawn from multiple sources:

Defining Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Clearly identify the skills and experience required for the DevOps role and the specific tasks and projects for which the individual will be responsible​.

Infrastructure Planning & Administration:

  • DevOps engineers should have extensive knowledge of the latest tools and techniques used in deploying applications and be able to manage cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE)​.

Configuration & Release Management:

  • They should know how to manage servers on different platforms using scripts and automate the release management process by coordinating software releases​.

Cloud Technologies Expertise:

  • Being proficient in cloud technologies and platforms is essential, especially in AWS, Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE)​.

Agile Development Experience:

  • Familiarity with Agile development methodologies and working with an organization’s software development team is crucial​.

Automation Skills:

  • Familiarity with popular software automation tools, such as Chef and Puppet, to implement Agile processes efficiently is important​.

System Administration:

  • A strong command of open-source tools and network systems administration skills are necessary for effective collaboration with system administrators​.

Server Virtualization:

  • Knowledge of server virtualization to perform parallel testing and deliver updates quickly and efficiently is advantageous​.

Continuous Delivery and Integration:

  • Familiarity with continuous delivery and integration to automate build processes and release software updates rapidly is vital for the success of DevOps teams​.

Soft Skills:

  • Being a team player, having strong written and verbal communication skills, working independently, and thinking strategically are also important qualities in a DevOps engineer​.

Advanced Skills That Separates Expert DevOps Engineers

While the above skills are essential, there are also a few advanced skills that can be valuable for DevOps engineers:

  • Expertise in DevOps practice landscape
  • Understanding of applying a 12-factor methodology
  • Hands-on experience with Azure EKS, Google Kubernetes Service, and Kubernetes Standalone
  • Experience with HIPAA, SOC2, or PCI
  • Knowledge of IaC knowledge and Terraform best practices
  • Ability to design and implement serverless apps
  • Ability to create native cloud architectures

Soft Skills Necessary for Expert DevOps Engineers

  • DevOps engineers also need to have strong soft skills, such as:
  • Communication: DevOps engineers need to be able to communicate effectively with people from all levels of the organization, including technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Teamwork: DevOps engineers have to be able to work effectively with other team members, including developers, operations engineers, and QA engineers.
  • Problem-solving: DevOps engineers must be able to identify and solve problems quickly and efficiently.

What to Look for in a DevOps Engineer’s Resume

When reviewing resumes for DevOps engineer positions, look for candidates who have the following:

  • Knowledge and experience in networking and Linux servers
  • DevOps certifications such as Terraform Certification, Kubernetes Certification, AWS Certification, or Docker Certification
  • Experience in managing AWS services such as Amazon S3, VPC, ECS, and EC2
  • Interest in IaC tools, Python, Bash, and others
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills

What to Ask an Expert DevOps Engineer During the Interview

During the interview, ask the candidate technical and soft skills questions. Here are a few examples:

What process do you usually follow to identify the cause of frequent server crashes?

  • In your words, please explain the differences between CI and CD, assuming that we know nothing about it.
  • What is the process for interconnecting two VCPs?
  • Tell us a few ways to save costs in Amazon S3 buckets.
  • What is the process for troubleshooting a MySQL database?
  • What are the differences and similarities between DevOps and Agile?
  • Do you believe that continuous delivery and continuous deployment overlap?
  • Tell us about some DevOps tools that you struggle with.
  • How does Ingress work?
  • As a DevOps engineer joining our company, how would you change the overall product development cycle?
  • Tell us three problems you will focus on, considering that we might not have any DevOps architecture in the company.
  • How long do you think the team will need to adapt to a DevOps-integrated change?
  • How do you think your problem-solving skills will help us?
  • Tell us about some common challenges you encounter in a DevOps ecosystem.

Onboarding and Training 

Here are some simple tips for onboarding a DevOps engineer

  • Set clear expectations. Define the new engineer’s role and responsibilities and align them with the company’s goals.
  • Provide training. Train new engineers on the company’s tools and technologies and cover all aspects of the DevOps role.
  • Give them access to resources. Provide new engineers with access to the documentation, training materials, and cloud platform they need.
  • Pair them with a mentor. Assign new engineers to a more experienced engineer who can mentor them and help them get up to speed quickly.
  • Set up regular check-ins. Schedule regular check-ins with new engineers to see how they are doing and address any challenges.

Additional Tips for Hiring an Expert DevOps Engineer

  • Ensure they understand the company culture and values. DevOps is a cultural shift, so new engineers need to align with the company’s vision.
  • Empower them to take ownership of their projects. Give DevOps engineers the freedom to experiment and innovate.
  • Create a collaborative environment. DevOps is all about teamwork, so engineers need to feel comfortable working with others.
  • Celebrate successes. Recognize engineers’ hard work when they achieve a goal. This creates a positive and motivating work environment.

PipeOps: A DevOps Company for Startups

PipeOps helps startups deploy better software on the cloud by providing them with a platform designed for developers, startups, and DevOps engineers at different stages and with varying technical prowess.

With PipeOps, startups can focus on building great products and services while we take care of the DevOps infrastructure and operations. This allows startups to scale quickly and efficiently without worrying about the complexities of managing their cloud infrastructure.

Ready to take your startup to the next level? PipeOps can help. Sign up for a 7-day free trial today!

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