As IT solutions become more sophisticated and complex, developing and maintaining software has become even tougher. To keep up with the rapidly evolving IT trends, new tech specializations like the DevOps engineer have emerged.
As a relatively new field, finding a DevOps engineer is tough. Although the job title is not something many IT specialists aspire for, the demand for this skillset has grown in recent years. Hiring managers, HR leaders, and CIOs face a tough challenge to fill this vital role in their IT teams.
According to a 2020 report from the DevOps Institute, 48 percent of organizations find a hard time retaining experienced DevOps engineers, and 58 percent say recruiting skilled DevOps engineers is difficult.
Filling vacancies for skilled DevOps engineers will likely continue to be a challenge due to the current skill shortage. The skill mismatch has also pumped entry-level salaries for these IT specialists, making it even harder to hire DevOps individuals.
Who are DevOps Engineers?
Before we get into the tips on how to hire top DevOps individuals, let’s get to know more about them and their unique field.
A DevOps engineer is an IT professional with wide experience and competence in coding, software development, operations, and management. A programmer and a sysadmin in one, the DevOps engineer studies and evaluates the software code and automates the various stages of the software development life cycle.
Hiring a DevOps programmer ensures the most effective management of the software, as well as the coordination among the IT team composed of developers, coders, QA team, and tech support personnel. Overall, DevOps engineers aim to reduce glitches, avoid possible bugs, and software rework cycles.
How to Hire a Top DevOps Engineer?
Here are some tips to identify and recruit skilled DevOps engineers.
Be very specific with the job description
Before you start looking for applicants, you need to identify the IT needs of the organizations. Specify the responsibilities of the DevOps individual you wish to hire. Ensure that the duties and responsibilities are in line with the qualifications you’re looking for. This will help you better evaluate and assess applicants.
Consider people skills
Given the immense role a DevOps engineer plays in the tech department, you need to look beyond their technical skills. It’s not enough that the applicant is skilled with the Kubernetes DevOps platform. Since DevOps work with people, they need to have management, leadership, communication, and collaboration skills. Likewise, look for problem-solving and critical thinking skills which they need when dealing with tough tech and operational issues.
Also, when hiring a DevOps engineer, you want someone with a good imagination, creativity, and keenness for innovation. These traits are particularly important in their position.
Look within your IT operations team
Often, you don’t need to look further from your talent pool. Prospective DevOps engineers can be found in your IT operations teams. Considering the type of work they handle, mostly involving problem-solving, they can be groomed for the DevOps position.
Due to the increasing complexity of IT projects, IT operations people have had to work with a lot of people with diverse backgrounds. This level of involvement in the operations prepares them for a DevOps position.
Development engineers are equally good candidates. With their deep understanding of engineering principles, creativity, innovation, and technology literacy, they are perfect as future DevOps engineers.
Don’t stick on role names
DevOps is arguably still in its infancy. The role is continuously evolving with new skills added into their portfolio. No standard applies to how one can become a DevOps engineer. That being said, it is easy to use the title even without the required skills.
When hiring a DevOps engineer, don’t get too hung up on the job title. Review their experience and validate their skills so you can get only the top talent. Likewise, there are also tons of new IT specializations such as models, FinOps, AlOps, DataOps, etc. IT specialists with this level of experience can function well as DevOps engineers. They can collaborate with various IT professionals and adopt automation.
Be careful of “know-it-alls”
The tech world is rapidly evolving – what’s innovative now can be the standard in the next six months. In just a matter of years, some DevOps skills can become irrelevant. So, when hiring DevOps engineers, it is better to look for passionate and imaginative learners than “know-it-alls”. These candidates feel that they know everything about software development – and end up stuck in their skills.
Look for IT specialists with great problem-solving skills. The best engineers spend time looking for new ways to solve problems. When interviewing potential candidates, ask about how they plan to solve a certain problem. They need to be open to new ideas and not just stick with their assumptions.