How you can transition to a DevOps engineer role ?

This article will be more relevant to those who are currently working as System admins / engineers and hoping to transition to a DevOps and cloud engineering role.

System admin/engineer to DevOps role

Targeted audience ?

I have been working as a Systems engineer for many years and thought of sharing my experience how I transitioned to a DevOps role. Hence this article will be more relevant to those who are currently working as System admins / engineers and hoping to transition to a DevOps and cloud engineering role.

Prerequisites

I would assume you are familiar with these technologies but if you are not, you can learn these and get started as well

  • Linux administration skills
  • Basic network administration ie —ip, vlan, subnets, vpn
  • Virutualization concept — virtual machines, hosts
  • Understanding of datastores — SQL / NoSQL databases, file storages

What is DevOps?

A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers. — MS Azure

source

source (source)

What did I mean by DevOps Engineer ?

DevOps is a culture or practice that involves all the people working in software lifecycle. But you can find DevOps engineer role in many organisations these days. . This is a generic job description of devops engineer but it can vary depend on the company

  • Create cloud infrastructure using Infrastructure as code. Some larger organisations have separate teams called platform engineers for same purpose
  • Work closely with developers, Create CI / CD pipleines
  • Write automation scripts and contribute to the application source in some cases

Why learn DevOps ?

Most of the companies already started or starting digital transformation so that they can deliver software products and services more faster and more securely. Hence DevOps and public cloud skills are highly demanding in the job market as of writing this article. I believe its going to continue for another 3–4 year atleast given the fact that most enterprises still in the early or mid stage of cloud and DevOps adoption.

Furthermore, if you are stuck in traditional IT operations team as a sysadmin, DBA, storage engineer and etc, you will soon find out soon that your role is redundant as the companies start using cloud technologies.

What should be the first goal ?

Get the real hands on experience by working with the a team that practices DevOps. It might be a different team in your current organisation, new company, freelance project or contributing to a community project. In order to achieve the first goal these are the tools and technologies you should learn as per my understanding. So that you will have some level confidence to get started.

Find a mentor

I can’t stress enough how important to find a mentor who can advise you and show the path in this journey. Before you invest your time and money for learning new technologies, it is so vital to make sure they are relavent to current market and increase the chances of finding your first DevOps role. So find someone who is already working in the DevOps role and get their advise and optinions.

Customize it according to your situation

What I am going to share here a generic plan with technologies that are highly in demand as of writing (July 2022). But you should evaluate your situation and tweek the technologies accordingly. For an example, if your current company has DevOps opportunities, talk to them and find out what kind of technologies and skillsets they are looking for. If there are high chances of finding a role within the company, then learn those skillsets and target the internal DevOps role.

Is it necessary learning Cloud computing ?

Yes it is. Its rear that you might work in a company that doesn’t use any Public cloud services. But trust me most companies using or starting to use Public clouds to host their IT workloads. So its worth the effort learning Public cloud even your current organisation doesn’t use it. And it increases the chances of finding your new role.


My laerning journey

These are the set of tools and technologies I learned to get started with my cloud / DevOps journey. I believe it is still relavent for today (July 2022) for those who are willing to transition to DevOps role.

I will include the names of some of the good courses I followed as a guidance but there are many other good online or classroom courses you can find in the internet. I would recommend to follow the coourses and take the cloud certifications as well.

1. Basic cloud certification

This is a good way to start with easy and non technical certification which will give you the motivation to start learning cloud computing. You have to choose AWS or Azure public cloud at this point

  • Duration — Not more than 1 to 2 weeks
  • Courses — Ultimate AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner from Stephane Maarek (Udemy) | Microsoft Azure — Beginner’s Guide by Alan Rodrigues (Udemy)

2. Cloud Administrator Certification

It would be easier for system engineers/administrators to get started with a cloud administrator course so that they can start working on virtual machines and other storage services of public clouds.

  • Duration — Try to complete within 6 weeks
  • Courses — Ultimate AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate 2022 by Stephane Maarek (Udemy) | AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification by Alan Rodrigues (Udemy)

4. Source code management

Now you have some level of knowledge creating public cloud resources. This is the good time to learn the source code management tool like Git. Learn the basic functions like clone, push, raise pull request, etc so that you can save all your workin Git repository.

  • Duration — 1 or 2 weeks
  • Courses — Use any training course from online training platforms

5. Infrastructure as a Code

Going forward use a tool like Terraform for creating public cloud resources. Make sure Terraform code is checked in Git repository.

  • Duration — less than 6 weeks
  • Courses — HashiCorp Certified: Terraform Associate 2022 by Zeel Vora or Terraform for the Absolute Beginners with Labs by KodeKloud (Udemy)

6. CI/CD Tool

Its time to get familiar on Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)and get some level of idea about each phases of sdlc and who involves in each of the phases. And you can start writing some content integration pipelines with a tool like Github Actions. Furthermore, learn the terms like agile methologies, scrum boards and how team communicates / interact during the software development process.

  • Duration — 6 to 8 weeks
  • Courses — Github actions learning labs

7. Cloud Architecture Certification

Now you are familiar with infrastructure services and time to learn other public cloud services. It will broaden your skillset with different options for compute and datastores within public clouds. Once again, create those cloud resources manually for first time and then use Terraform to create them and save the source code in your Git repository.

  • Duration — 2 months
  • Courses —

Once you done with above certification and also spend suffiecient time on handson excercises, you could start looking for DevOps job opportunities within or outside your current organisation. You will get better idea, what are the further qualification required to landing your new role.


Next Step

- Learn a programming language

Even though DevOps engineers may not wiring programs in their day to day work, it is so important to learn a object oriented programming language and get some experience on software development. This will give you more confidence on working with developers and understand their discussions and requirement. That’s why I recommend to learn Python because its easy to learn and it will be useful for writing automation scripts along the way.

Duration — 3 months

Courses — 2022 Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python by Jose Portilla (Udemy)

- Containerization / Kubernetes

This is a stretched goal. Kubernetes is becoming a highly demanding skillset as many companies started using it. If you have bandwith, its worth spending time on learning Kubernetes and get certified. Apart from learning containers and Kubernetes, you should get an idea what is microservices architecture and what its trying to resolve on traditional monolothic applications.

Duration — 2 to 3 months

Courses — KodeKloud trainings in Udemy


What’s more ?

Apart from following those courses these are the other resources you can utilize

  • Read Medium articles similar to this. There are many articles that sharing other people’s DevOps journey. Its always better to get the different perspectives
  • Subscribe to the online free workshops organized by Cloud providers or other vendors like Terraform, Github
  • Join meetups relavent above mentioned subject
  • Connect with DevOps professionals on Linkedn and keep updating your certifications/learnings on network as you learn them


Thanks for reading and hope it give some insight for someone interested in DevOps role.

This was written to give the initial pathway for transition to DevOps but don’t misunderstand that these are the only technologies and practices involve in DevOps. Its more about how you can become a DevOps engineer rather than what is DevOps.


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