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June 30, 2023 - 7 minutes

Learning DevOps for Your WebDev Career

Your guide to the practices shaking up the WebDev industry 

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

DevOps & Cloud

As the tech landscape continues to shift, keeping up to date with the latest tools and practices is essential for any web developer. One of the most in-demand skills of the moment is DevOps, a method of combining IT and software development that’s transforming the industry. Before we jump into the key benefits and pathways of learning DevOps, let’s take a closer look at what it is and why it’s in such high demand.

What is DevOps?

DevOps has gained immense popularity in the web development field due to the numerous benefits it brings to the software development lifecycle. In short, it’s a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) to streamline the software delivery process. By breaking down the traditionally siloed teams of development and operations, DevOps promotes a culture of continuous integration, delivery, and improvement. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of DevOps and learn why companies are quickly incorporating it into their arsenal:

  1. Increased collaboration and communication: DevOps encourages developers and operations personnel to work together closely throughout the entire software delivery process. With the ease of cross-department communication comes faster issue resolution, improved efficiency, and reduced time-to-market.

  2. Continuous integration and delivery: DevOps enables developers to merge code changes more frequently and with less risk of error. Automated testing and deployment processes ensure that software updates can be released to production with reliability; this leads to greater customer satisfaction and faster delivery speed.

  3. Enhanced quality and stability: DevOps integrates quality assurance into the development process from the beginning. Code reviews, testing, and frequent deployments to staging environments help catch bugs early on, leading to high-quality software. Continuous monitoring and feedback loops allow for real-time visibility into application performance, enabling rapid response and improvement.

  4. Cost optimization: DevOps promotes automation and efficient use of resources, which can lead to greater cost savings. By automating repetitive tasks and optimizing infrastructure, companies can reduce operational expenses. Additionally, the use of cloud services can allow for flexible resource allocation, so companies only need to pay for the resources needed.

  5. Continuous learning and improvement: DevOps embraces a culture of continuous improvement, where feedback, monitoring, and analytics drive learning and innovation. By regularly reviewing performance metrics, gathering user feedback, and identifying areas for enhancement, DevOps leads to more robust and reliable web applications.

Learning DevOps

Now that you see the benefits that DevOps can bring to companies and teams, it’s high time we discuss how to acquire these sought-after skills. Let’s outline some of the essential steps in becoming a DevOps professional:

  1. Understand DevOps principles: familiarize yourself with the fundamental role of DevOps, and how it benefits the software development life cycle; this is not only important for your understanding, but also to communicate the value of these newly-acquired skills to potential employers and non-tech clients.

  2. Learn version control systems: become adept with systems like Git, which are fundamental tools for code management in DevOps. Utilize Git effectively to create/use repositories, merge or branch code, and resolve conflicts. Understand concepts like pull requests and code reviews, which promote collaboration and code quality.

  3. Gain proficiency in DevOps automation tools: explore popular automation tools such as Jenkins, Bamboo or CircleCI, and learn how to automate tasks such as building, testing, and deploying applications. Understand the concepts of continuous integration, delivery, and deployment.

  4. Acquire infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) skills: learn tools like Terraform or CloudFormation to provision and manage infrastructure resources; this is a crucial aspect of DevOps, because it enables you to host codified infrastructure templates to speed up workflow. Enabling scalability and consistency in your infrastructure deployments saves time and reduces the risk of error.

  5. Dive into containerization: investigate the benefits of containers, particularly Docker, that have revolutionized software development by packaging necessary files together. Explore container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes to understand how containers can be managed and deployed at scale.

  6. Familiarize yourself with cloud platforms: become proficient in cloud computing platforms like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, which are integral to modern DevOps practices. Understand how to use cloud services for hosting applications, managing infrastructure, and leveraging services such as serverless computing, databases, and storage.

  7. Practice continuous monitoring and logging: learn how to set up monitoring systems, configure alerts, and collect metrics by using tools like Prometheus, Grafana, or ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana). Realize the importance of logging and how it helps with troubleshooting and performance optimization.

  8. Embrace collaboration and communication: foster your communication skills, welcome teamwork, and promote cross-functional discussion; these are key principles of DevOps, and will serve you as you work closely with both development and operations teams.

  9. Seek hands-on experience: apply your DevOps knowledge to real-world projects; implement DevOps practices to your existing projects, further collaborate with teams, or even join open-source projects. Gaining practical experience will help solidify your understanding and build confidence in applying DevOps principles.

  10. Enroll in bootcamps: consider pursuing online or in-person training programs that offer comprehensive DevOps curricula. Look for reputable bootcamps that offer practical training and the opportunity to collaborate. Completing courses validates your skills and demonstrates your commitment to DevOps practices.

What is a DevOps Engineer?

The role of a DevOps engineer is to design, implement, and manage the infrastructure and tools necessary for continuous integration, delivery, and deployment of software applications. A DevOps engineer is responsible for automating processes, optimizing systems, and ensuring efficient collaboration between development and operations teams. Let’s take a look at some specific types of DevOps engineers, and the DevOps certifications necessary to achieve these positions:

  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer: focuses on managing DevOps practices on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. AWS engineers utilize AWS CodePipeline and AWS CloudFormation to build and maintain highly scalable architectures, automate deployment, and ensure secure operations. Key qualifications include deep knowledge of AWS services, proficiency in infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools, and expertise in AWS tools like AWS CodeDeploy and AWS CodeStar. 

  • Certification: become certified through passing the exam through AWS. The exam includes 75 questions and it takes approximately three hours to complete.

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer: specializes in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, utilizing Azure DevOps tools and services to implement end-to-end workflows. To excel in this role, candidates should possess strong knowledge of Azure IaC tools like Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates and feel comfortable leveraging Azure specific tools Azure Pipelines and Azure Boards.

  • Certification: become certified by first completing one prerequisite Azure exam-certification. The final engineer-certification requires candidates to demonstrate their competence in using Azure over five different DevOps categories.

  • Google Cloud DevOps Engineer: wields the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to facilitate DevOps practices. Essential qualifications for this role include masterful use of GCP services, experience with IaC tools like Terraform, and the ability to leverage GCP tools such as Cloud Build and Cloud Deployment Manager. 

  • Certification: become certified by passing the exam through GCP. The exam consists of 50-60 questions and is around two hours in length. 

DevOps-related jobs and certifications

Outside of specific DevOps engineer jobs, the demand for various skilled professionals in the field continues to skyrocket. Let’s delve into some other DevOps-related job roles and touch on their respective certifications:

  • Release Manager: the role of a release manager is to coordinate and oversee software releases, ensuring that they are delivered smoothly and efficiently. They collaborate with development, operations, and quality assurance teams to plan, schedule, and execute releases. Some certifications for release managers include:

  • ITIL Foundation: this certification, although not DevOps-oriented, proves a comprehensive understanding of IT service management, including release management best practices.

  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM): this certification focuses on the Agile framework, which is widely adopted in DevOps environments. It equips professionals with the knowledge to facilitate collaboration, communication, and efficient release management within Agile teams.

  • Automation Architect: the role of an automation architect is to design and implement automated workflows, ensuring efficient and reliable deployment processes. They leverage various tools to streamline repetitive tasks, eliminate manual intervention, and optimize the software delivery pipeline. Likely certifications for automation architects include:

  • Puppet Certified Professional: this certification validates expertise in using Puppet, a popular configuration management tool, to automate and manage infrastructure deployments.

  • Ansible Certified Engineer: this certification demonstrates skills in using Ansible, an open-source automation tool, for configuration, deployment, and orchestration.

  • Site Reliability Engineer (SRE): the role of SREs focus on ensuring the reliability, availability, and performance of software systems. They work closely with development and operations teams to design and implement resilient architectures, monitor system performance, and proactively address incidents and outages. Recommended certifications for SREs include:

  • Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA): this certification displays competency in managing and scaling containerized applications using Kubernetes, a platform for container orchestration.

  • Certified Site Reliability Engineer Foundation: this certification provides an understanding of SRE principles, practices, and tools for optimizing system reliability and performance.

I hope we’ve made it clear that web developers stand to gain immense benefits by learning DevOps. By investing in sought-after skills, you can position yourself as a versatile professional that can help companies streamline the entire software development cycle. Looking to enhance your web development career, or just get more hands-on experience? Consider enrolling in one of our bootcamps and watch your career kick into high-gear.

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