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Finding the DevOps job that’s right for you

With so much of our lives spent staring at computer screens, there’s significant pressure for businesses to deliver a seamless web experience.

The average American spends about five hours on laptops, smartphones, and tablets each day, and consumers often base their opinion of a company on the strength of its website and software. These sites must be simple, efficient, and up-to-date, which requires constant tweaking by development teams.

The emergence of DevOps engineers has been one way to close gaps between iterations. These positions are all about meeting user expectations through collaboration and an optimised workflow. The objective is to streamline productivity and reduce response times by offering collaborative support to developers, which strengthens their connection with both the infrastructure that hosts their code and the people who use their platform. DevOps teammates are always watchful, identifying possible gains in efficiency for the best possible user experience.

Demand for DevOps is at an all-time high, with more than half of DevOps engineers earning six-figure salaries. It works, too: Traditional Ops are 41 per cent more time-consuming and waste 21 per cent more time putting out fires. That’s why it’s only natural that many traditional developers are making the transition to DevOps these days.

But for those on the hunt for the perfect position, how do you find the job that best suits you - and ensure that you get it?

Find the Right Place

An ideal position is one that pushes you to excel with your strongest skills while still providing you the opportunity to learn. Aside from the compensation package, here are two key elements to look for in a new job opportunity:

  • Company culture: To get the best out of employees, tech companies all cultivate their own work environments. DevOps positions are more dependent upon those environments than you might realise. These positions often involve the development of unified systems for transmitting knowledge between departments. This places you as a point person in the center of that environment. You don’t want to walk into a role blindfolded. Use the interview process to ask as many questions as possible about team structure and work culture. Talk to people who already work there. Is there room to bring new ideas to the table? If you don’t like what you hear, maybe it isn’t the role for you.
  • Responsibilities: With DevOps comes great responsibility. While a traditional developer might be solely focused on development, working in DevOps means doing additional jobs. This could mean running system administration checks, or it could mean “QAing” the software. The highest-paying job in the world will be a nightmare if you aren’t happy with the work it entails. Ensure that the parameters of the role are clearly defined and that you’re comfortable with everything expected of you.

Make Yourself the Most Desirable Candidate

The best jobs go to the best candidates. Developers may be scarce, but when a good job is available, they all come out of the woodwork. How do you ensure that you’re the one the company chooses to hire? Your CV needs these two attributes:

  • Collaboration: Given the nature of DevOps, it’s essential that you have a history of collaboration. You could be the best developer in the world, but if your communication skills aren’t up to scratch, working in DevOps will be tricky. Collaborate with friends on a project - early in your career if possible - and use it to beef up your résumé. This will help you become more desirable.
  • A mixed bag of skills: While every employer will expect quality coding and scripting skills from its candidates, DevOps is really about flexibility. The tech industry is changing at a furious rate, so the more you know, the more you can reference and learn from. These positions have a hand in many different departments, and each has its own unique technical needs you would have to address.

Employers love seeing a CV that matches that wide array of knowledge. Having a variety of experience will shorten your learning curve and increase your value as an employee. If you don’t have that range out of the gate, retool the job descriptions on your résumé to show as much variety as possible. Every new experience will give you an edge over the competition.

If you’re looking to break into DevOps, it’s important to come prepared. This means having the right skill set, knowing the kind of environment you want to work in, and understanding which responsibilities you want placed on your shoulders.

There’s no point in making the transition if you’re going to be miserable. But with an eye for the most attractive position and the experience to back it up, you could make exciting new strides in your career.

Jason Kulpa is CEO of Underground Elephant