How to Future-Proof DevOps Skills

As of 2018, 86% of businesses have either already implemented DevOps into their business model or have plans to do so. As more and more industries strive toward a digital transformation, it makes sense that businesses continue to invest in their current and future DevOps engineers.

But today’s industries change quickly. Individuals and businesses alike are realizing that the current DevOps skills they have are struggling to evolve at the same pace as new technologies. Professionals are often not equipped to help develop businesses’ most innovative products, like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, for example. No one fully understands what skills the future of DevOps will require, either.

However, with some strategizing and planning, both individual DevOps professionals and business management teams can learn how to future-proof their DevOps skills and DevOps organizations.

Individuals: Strive For Balance

Balance is vital to most things in life, DevOps included. In order to prepare for the future of DevOps, it’s important for DevOps professionals to have a sturdy grip on each of three categories: knowledge, skill, and ability.

Knowledge. “Knowledge” refers to something that can be learned. For example, people aren’t born knowing the ins and outs of Jenkins; they gain knowledge of it through personal study or instruction. To ensure they have the most recent skills, it’s imperative that DevOps professionals continually review the newest information about DevOps technologies, systems, and best practices. By staying in-the-know about the most recent innovations in the field, DevOps professionals are one step closer to achieving that perfect balance.

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Skill. “Skills” are learned through training or experience. In essence, skilled DevOps professionals are those who can apply the knowledge they have learned to real-life situations. DevOps skills can only be gained through learning fundamental knowledge and can be further improved through practice. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Ability. “Ability” is the level to which a DevOps professional can perform a task. While knowledge and skills can be learned and sharpened, ability is natural. Luckily, DevOps professionals who are already in the field have almost all demonstrated that they have a knack for DevOps, which means that they have some natural ability.

When DevOps professionals strive to obtain the most recent knowledge available, practice their new skills, and feed their natural ability, they can cultivate the expertise they need to succeed now and in the future.

Organizations: Master Your Training Program

For organizations that want to ensure their teams are prepared for the future of DevOps, constant, formalized, and enthusiastic training is key. All that effort is well worth it: A study from the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) showed that the firms that invested in training the most enjoyed a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less.

Training, which should be taught by experienced and certified (where applicable) professionals, should focus on seven specific DevOps skills that we expand upon in our Upskilling Report:

  1. Process skills and knowledge
  2. Automation skills
  3. Functional knowledge
  4. Specific automation tools
  5. Specific certifications
  6. Business skills
  7. Soft skills

Management should especially focus on teaching DevOps teams the specific automation tools that their business requires for current or future projects. Additionally, it can help the training program to have DevOps engineers work toward their specific certifications. Working toward a certification can rev up participants’ commitment to training; because they have to undergo skill measurement as part of the certification process, DevOps team members will put forth extra effort during their training in order to meet their goal.

Finally, evangelism is important when it comes to future-proofing DevOps skills. Management should continually stress the importance of DevOps teams learning the latest materials and striving to fill the top of their “T”. Encouraging enthusiasm around DevOps training is even more effective with the implementation of special strategies like post-training outings or gamification, like friendly competitions for those trying to complete their certificates.

Overview

When it comes to the future of DevOps, no one can be sure which particular DevOps skills will be needed. But for DevOps professionals, staying up-to-date on the most recent knowledge, practicing new skills, and cultivating their natural ability is the best way to continue evolving their skills to keep up with the most recent innovations. For businesses, investing in and encouraging ongoing training is critical to ensuring their teams can succeed—no matter what impressive new technologies and processes the future of DevOps holds in store.

Want to learn more about DevOps skills and how to further your skillset? Download the Upskilling Report.

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