With many years of experience as a Systems Administrator and consultant, Lukasz Raczylo is a veteran in the DevOps industry and has excellent insight and perception into today's DevOps hiring environment. Lukasz is currently the Head of DevOps Profession at a leading government agency, working for the UK Government.
With rigid skillsets and requirements, breaking into the DevOps industry can seem almost impossible without the correct skill set already in place. But when it comes to skill, learning capability and more, there are many reasons why hiring should be a more open environment when it comes to hiring the correct person for the job.
Essential requirements for DevOps programmers
When it comes to recruitment agencies or outside hiring bringing DevOps into a company, there's often the fallacy that the capability to work in a specific language is all you need. When in reality while this is sometimes the case, for those who aren't immersed in the world of DevOps it can be difficult to gauge what is needed and what rules can be bent when it comes to hiring the right person as a DevOps programmer.
It's all about hiring the right person for the job, so while training in areas such as AWS or Azure is essential, other skills can be convertible - such as knowledge of specific languages. It's not enough for someone to just be right on paper; if they can bring new or higher understanding of other skills to the table, for example, or may need a small amount of training but would mesh perfectly with your team, it's all about understanding what flexibility you must work with. Particular skills are non-negotiable but being able to separate what's a need and what's a want you can access a far better pool of candidates in no time.
Why do you think people in a hiring capacity are being so strict on these tools being needed?
There are two sides to the strictness often used within the hiring process for DevOps roles. If you're not in DevOps already or you're utilising an outside recruitment agency, you may find that those in a hiring capacity don't quite have the insight to pick the person best for the role, and there can be situations where those with high levels of skill are passed over due to them not having the exact language match for your job description. With things like programming languages, if you have a promising candidate that has expert knowledge of Python, they can easily convert that to Ruby in a few days - but on paper, they just don't look suitable.
However, there is also an argument as to why being strict might be the best way forward in a hiring process for such specific, skilled roles; it ensures that the talent pool you're picking from is far more refined and allows you to dictate exactly what you need from a new team member. This makes the hiring process far clearer, and potentially more efficient, especially if you're working with a recruitment agency with the technical know-how to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Being open with the requirements in hiring DevOps Professionals
With any industry, being open about what you need when it comes to hiring an employee or team member can be the key to hiring someone that's the best possible fit for your business, team or department. In DevOps, with such close and fast environments this can be doubly so. Being open with the must-haves for a role, such as knowledge of cloud systems and so on, can provide the basis for your hiring process. This allows for a broader scope of potential candidates because even if the tools aren't there if everything else makes them perfect for the role, it might just be worth that extra training or time.
As previously stated, it's also important to take your requirements with a pinch of salt. It shouldn't just be a case of looking for an exact match for your job description, as someone who may be perfect for the role on paper might not have the skill level of someone who functions on a higher programming level in a different, similar language. Widen the net, but still, make your requirements well known.
Job Titles within DevOps
As a younger set of roles than most, titles within the DevOps family have been changeable over the years, but now there's more structure and understanding around what the DevOps roles entail, it's become clearer as to what each team member's title is and what it reflects in their work. It's still not clear-cut, and in a tech-heavy industry, there's less focus on prestige titles or one-upmanship. Titles such as DevOps engineer, SRE or senior systems administrator are often utilised, and these are ones to watch out for if you're looking to hire or be hired in a DevOps field.
Below the management level, it generally doesn't really matter what your specific title is, so much as what your skillset is; this is what can differentiate one team member from another, and with so many different skills, from capability level to different languages, responsibilities and cross-team functionalities, utilising different titles for every change in role would get messy very quickly. It's only really when you rise to a manager that titles begin to play a real part in your positioning in a DevOps team.
Modernising the infrastructure
DevOps is all about changing and evolving the way you work, and this can be something companies are afraid of - to make that leap to the next step and become more technologically able. DevOps can help with that modernisation and help make the lead to cloud-based technologies that can significantly benefit businesses. One of the advantages of an in-house team that's dedicated to development is that it can provide you with a new perspective, and a platform for expansion and improvement.
There are modern companies out there utilising self-hosted servers and internal systems more than ten years old when they should really be embracing the change and grabbing hold of all the advantages they can get. DevOps can help to provide this insight and advancement, and that's one of the ways these teams can be invaluable; offering a perspective, you just can't achieve from standard development teams.
Consortia are a specialist DevOps recruitment agency with over 8 years experience in the industry. We focus on placing the very best DevOps talent with the very best clients. Why not send us a job brief here, and our expert team will be in touch.
As a specialist DevOps Recruitment Agency, we also see the many job titles within DevOps. Our expert consultants are on hand to advise you throughout the entire hiring process, so reach out to us here.
Thank you to Lukasz for speaking to us about why you shouldn't hire based on programming languages. It was a brilliant read. While you are here, why not check out some of our other DevOps Industry Insiders...
- DevOps is a culture shift, will you embrace? By Emma Button at MicroGen
With more and more businesses integrating DevOps into their day to day working practices, it's essential to have a clear understanding of how DevOps can be of benefit to you - and equally importantly, the impact on your workplace culture that switching to this way of working can cause. If you're looking to introduce a practical and effective system to your workforce, be prepared for everything that comes with it; including that needed and expected culture shift.
- Creating a DevOps function at a Fintech Startup by Federico Fregosi at Curve
As part of our Thought Leadership function, we spent time speaking with Federico Fregosi, Lead Site Reliability Engineer at Curve. He was very keen to share his knowledge on the subject of DevOps. Consortia are positive about adding some value back into the DevOps community, as different people and organisations approach DevOps in a variety of ways. It is clear now that many organisations are moving into a DevOps culture, so sharing knowledge and best practice can help inform this.
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