Many are looking into DevOps as a possible career path but have no understanding of the skillset required to work in this role. Such a role cannot be done by beginners who have no programming skills, the cloud and knowledge of the different sofware available in the DevOps world. In this article, I will cover in detail what are the prerequisites for DevOps. But before that, let me briefly talk about what is DevOps .
What is DevOps?
In simple terms, DevOps is a software engineering culture where development and operations teams work together. The main objective of DevOps is unifying software development and software operations. It is a broad area, and it involves many tools at different stages. This culture minimizes the gap between developers and business operations by providing collaboration layers to both. Developers in DevOps want to continue innovation and product enrichment, whereas ops department oversees costing and delivery. It is basically a way of implementing the development and operations together. There is a single team that is collaborating with each other at every phase, whether it is development, testing, deployment, or operations.
Prerequisites for DevOps
Linux OS & Commands
First and foremost, you need to have hands-on experience on one of the Linux operating systems. Preferably, you must know either Ubuntu or CentOS. As a DevOps engineer, you would be working on a Linux system mostly, so if you are new to the Linux world, working on DevOps would be difficult. Also, you must know basic Linux commands which are used by administrators in their day-to-day activities. You must also be aware of the primary issues in Linux operating systems and how to troubleshoot them. Installing a Linux operating system on your machine should be a piece of cake for you. So, in case you are not comfortable with Linux operating system, I would suggest install Linux OS using a VirtualBox and start practicing to work on it from today.
Familiarity with Command Line Interface (CLI)
Working with a command-line interface comfortably is one of the core and basic requirements in the DevOps domain. If you haven’t worked on a Linux terminal or a command-line interface of a cloud provider, you must try it out before getting started with DevOps tools and concepts.
Understanding the DevOps Tools and Technologies
When you want to work in the DevOps industry, you will have to master multiple tools offering different functionalities such as maintaining court repository, building the code, continuous integration, configuration management, infrastructure automation, containerization, etc. To give you a rough estimate, you must have hands-on experience on at least 6 to 8 DevOps tools.
So, whichever DevOps tools are popular in the market, you must know about them. For example, Ansible, puppet, chef are few popular configuration management tools. For building CICD pipeline, you must learn how to use Jenkins. Containerization technology such as docker, kubernetes is in high demand in the DevOps domain. Nagios, Splunk Prometheus, Grafana, and ELK stack are some popular continuous monitoring tools to learn.
Knowledge of Scripting Languages
There is often some confusion about programming languages when we talk about DevOps. People often ask “Do I need programming knowledge to get started with DevOps”. Having programming knowledge is not mandatory to work in the DevOps domain, but knowledge of scripting languages will surely help in the organization’s different scenarios and use cases.
If you possess knowledge of popular scripting languages such as Python, Perl, etc., it will help you solve many tasks when you are working on a DevOps project. Also, to perform some kind of automation using DevOps tools, you need scripting knowledge. For example, when you are working with a tool like ansible, you need to know the YAML scripting language, which is used for automation and is primarily developed on the Python programming language.
Using YAML, you can develop a complete automation workflow with the help of a configuration management tool. Knowing a scripting language will also help you sync with the developers on the code logic at a high level.
Knowledge of Automation Tools
DevOps is mainly used for automation. So as a DevOps engineer, you should have the skills to handle all the automation tasks involved, from development to testing to deployment. Automation in DevOps happens through infrastructure as a code (IaC), And this is considered the core part of DevOps. Infrastructure as a code is basically automation around infrastructure provisioning using containerization technologies and configuration management. So having good knowledge of tools like Jenkins ansible, team city docker vagrant, etc., is a must.
Most of the applications these days are cloud-native, which means they are deployed on a cloud service provider like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud. So having experience on cloud platforms gives you a straightforward path to learn DevOps. These cloud platforms also provide inbuilt DevOps services, which you can use to create your CICD pipelines for job execution and automation. It is advisable to have knowledge on one of the cloud providers before getting started with DevOps. When you have experience with cloud technologies, you can translate this knowledge into real-world DevOps projects.
Knowledge of Networking fundamentals
You need to have a basic understanding of networking before starting with DevOps. In the organization, you will work with containerized applications and cloud environments connected through complex networks. Networking concepts help in integrating the services virtual machines or different containers. Also, deploying the final product in the client’s environment requires a good understanding of networking.
Computer Science Knowledge
It is suggested to have knowledge of computer science subject before getting into the DevOps domain. Because here, you will be interacting with the organization’s development team, testing team, and operation teams on a regular basis. So, if you are not from a computer science background, understanding the working between these software development teams would be really tough. Therefore, a basic degree or knowledge of computer science will help you learn DevOps smoothly. Also, if you have the knowledge on networking, algorithms, trending technologies like cloud and data science, which are covered in the computer science field, working on DevOps projects would be easy and relatable.
Excellent Collaboration and Communication Skills
Apart from having some technical skills before getting into DevOps, you must have excellent collaboration and communication skills. Because in DevOps, you are required to work with multiple teams, and if you are not good at collaborating and communicating, getting work done would be difficult. As a DevOps engineer, one of your core responsibilities is to build a bridge between the development and operations team using your communication and collaboration skills.
The majority of companies hiring for DevOps positions do check for these soft skills. Because they know as a DevOps engineer, you will also have to communicate with the clients and set the expectations to the development and operations team so that the product quality is as per the requirement. These soft skills mentioned above are highly recommended to survive in the DevOps industry.
When you are working on a DevOps project, there will be multiple times when you will have to make spontaneous decisions for keeping the ci CD pipeline functioning. So, you must have a logical attitude and rationale when you are working in the DevOps industry. Your presence in the meetings and on the communication channels must be extraordinary. In giant organizations like Facebook, Google, Amazon, a DevOps tech lead is the go-to person for all issues related to production. And as a senior DevOps professional in these organizations, you must meet their expectations which will only happen if you have a logical aura and attitude.
That was all you needed to know about the prerequisites for DevOps. You must know the fundamentals of Linux or the basics of tools like VirtualBox. Knowing the basics of the most commonly used applications or web servers like Apache or Nginx is also required. To become a successful DevOps engineer, it is important to have these basics cleared.