How to Hire the Right DevOps Talent


DevOps culture is quickly gaining ground with companies all over the world and the demand for top notch DevOps talent is as high as it has ever been. With the base salary for a Junior DevOps Engineer over $100,000 annually, IT professionals are hurrying to make the transition into DevOps. Read also: DevOps for SysAdmins

But how do you choose the right person? Let’s take a look.



In general, most teams are looking for candidates who have operations or infrastructure backgrounds or someone with a software engineering or development background. This is all in conjunction with skills which relate to configuration management, continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) as well as cloud infrastructure. In addition to all of these, the knowledge of container orchestration is in high demand.


In a perfect world, the two backgrounds would meet somewhere in the middle to form Dev and Ops, but in most cases, candidates lean towards one side or another, yet they possess the skills necessary to understand the needs and demands of their counterparts to work effectively as a team and to achieve the ultimate end goal of continuous delivery and deployment. Since every company is different, there is no right or wrong per say, since so much depends on a company’s tech stack, infrastructure, goals and the skills of other team members. So how do you focus your search to make sure you hit the mark?


Decide on the Background

Begin with an assessment of the strength of your current team. Do you have rockstar software engineers, but you lack infrastructure knowledge? Focus on closing such skill gaps. Just because you were given the budget to hire a DevOps engineer doesn’t mean that you have to spend weeks or months trying to find the best software engineer who just so happens to use Kubernetes and Docker because they are currently the hot trend. Try looking for someone who will provide the most value in your environment and see how things go from there.


There is No “Ctrl + F” Solution

Instead of concentrating on specific tools, concentrate on their understanding of DevOps and CI/CD related processes. You will be better off finding a person who understands methodologies instead of tools. It is more important that candidates who comprehend the concept of CI/CD instead of asking them if they prefer Jenkins instead of Bamboo or TeamCity. Don’t get too caught up in the exact tool chain. Rather focus on the problem solving skills, their ability to increase efficiency, save time and automating manual processes. You do not want to miss out on the right candidate just because the word “Puppet” was absent on their resume.


Check Your Ego

As already mentioned, DevOps is a rapidly growing field and DevOps engineers are in hot demand. This means that candidates have a lot more buying power. Even though you may have an amazing company or product, it’s no longer as simple as putting up a “Help Wanted” sign and top quality applicants come rushing in. That’s not to say that maintaining a reputation a great place to work is not important, but nowadays you have to go the extra mile and sell your position. Some flaws or glitches in the hiring process such abruptly canceling interviews or lack of feedback after interviews can lead to negative rumors spreading across the industry and it takes just a couple of minutes to leave a negative review on Glassdoor.


Contractor or Permanent Employee?

Most recruiters and hiring managers will immediately start searching for a full-time employee, even though they may have other options, as their needs would suggest. If you’re looking to design, build and implement a new DevOps environment, why not hire a senior person who has done this in the past? Consider hiring a senior contractor while bringing on a junior full-time hire as well. This way you will retain the knowledge of the contractor by having them work in tandem with the junior hire. Even though contractors can be expensive, they bring invaluable knowledge especially if the work can be done within a short time frame.


Cultivate from within

With so many other companies out there looking for the same person, it is difficult to find the right DevOps engineer. Not only will you have to pay top dollar to hire this person, but you also have to take into account that this search can take several months. However, since only a handful of companies are lucky enough to find a DevOps engineer who is ideal in every way, companies should consider searching for a candidate internally, checking out whether or not such a talent can be cultivated from within.


Finding the right candidates to fill DevOps vacancies is difficult because there are so many forms of DevOps. Because of this, reason, you must decide on the type of background a candidate should have in addition to personal qualities. As we mentioned before, simply having experience with certain technologies is not enough.  


About the Author

Stanislav Ivaschenko is a certified AWS solutions architect at Squadex with more than ten years of professional experience in building, delivering, supporting and optimizing a broad range of software applications. From bare metal to the cloud, from monolith architecture to microservices his expertise and experience help to meet business needs for startups, mid-sized companies and large enterprises. He has experienced a large number of DevOps and infrastructure related tools, services and management practices.