How to hire a DevOps engineer: A guide for hiring teams

In today's rapidly evolving tech industry, DevOps engineers have become a critical component of the development process. Bridging the gap between software development and operations, these professionals ensure products are delivered efficiently and effectively. 

Recent statistics show that the demand for DevOps engineers is increasing, with a projected growth rate of 15% between 2021 and 2031. But with such high demand, finding the right person for the job can become challenging. Moreover, hiring the wrong person can lead to costly mistakes, delayed projects, and missed opportunities. That's why it's important to understand how to hire a DevOps engineer successfully.

In this article, we'll explore practical tips and best practices to help you find and hire the right DevOps engineer for your organization.

But first, what is a DevOps engineer?

DevOps engineers are IT experts with an extensive understanding of software development and operations, including infrastructure management, system administration, and DevOps toolchains. They typically possess good interpersonal skills since they operate across organizational silos to create a collaborative environment

By automating and streamlining software development processes, they eliminate inefficiencies and speed up the deployment of new products, features, and updates. They also integrate testing, monitoring, and security practices into the development process to ensure that software products are reliable, scalable, and secure. 

What does a DevOps engineer do?

While the specific duties may vary depending on the organization, DevOps engineers are typically tasked with a combination of technical and management functions. Here are some of the core DevOps engineer roles and responsibilities:

  • Automation: Automate repetitive tasks and processes to enable faster and more efficient delivery of software products.
  • CI/CD: Implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines to streamline the development process.
  • IaC: Implement Infrastructure as Code to eliminate manual processes, increase efficiency, and reduce management overhead.
  • Troubleshooting: Identify and resolve issues in applications and infrastructure by employing diagnostic methods.
  • Security and compliance: Ensure that software products meet industry standards and regulations and are secure from external threats.

Essential DevOps engineer skills

A DevOps engineer must have a distinctive set of technical and soft skills. Here are the top DevOps engineer skills to look for to promote effective team collaboration and efficient software development and delivery.

Technical skills

  • Coding and scripting: Proficiency in programming languages, scripts, and tools to automate and integrate various DevOps processes.
  • Cloud computing: In-depth understanding of cloud computing and infrastructure services to support scalable and agile deployments.
  • Containerization: Proficiency in container technologies like Docker and Kubernetes to simplify application deployment and management across environments.
  • Continuous integration: Expertise in CI tools and methodologies to integrate code changes and ensure quality.
  • Proactive monitoring: Knowledge of monitoring tools and techniques to proactively detect and resolve issues. 
  • Release management: Proficiency in managing and coordinating releases across multiple environments, ensuring reliable and consistent deployment of applications.
  • Security: The ability to incorporate security best practices into workflows.
  • Version management: Understanding version control systems like Git for code management and repeatable deployment processes.

Soft skills

  • Communication and collaboration: The ability to communicate effectively and collaborate with cross-functional teams, stakeholders, and customers.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to identify and solve complex technical problems with a proactive and solution-oriented approach.
  • Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing requirements and priorities while focusing on delivering value to the customer.
  • Agile mindset: Understanding of Agile methodologies and principles for iterative and incremental development, continuous improvement, and teamwork.
  • Customer-focused approach: Focused on delivering high-quality products that meet customer requirements and expectations. 

How to hire a DevOps engineer: 5 tips and best practices

For companies looking to adopt DevOps methodologies, hiring the right DevOps engineer can be the difference between success and failure. However, identifying and attracting the ideal candidate can be challenging. 

The following key strategies and insights will help you hire a DevOps engineer who matches your organizational goals and values.

1. Define and refine your requirements

Before starting the hiring process, identify and verify your specific DevOps engineer requirements to find the right candidate for your business. DevOps is a multidisciplinary field, and it's vital to have a clear understanding of the skills and experience you need in an applicant. 

Determine which tools, technologies, and procedures your DevOps engineer must know. Also, establish the level of experience and education you need. This will help you target your search more effectively and avoid wasting time on candidates who don't meet your criteria.

2. Leverage the right talent sources

Tap into appropriate talent sources to create a pool of diverse and qualified candidates. This includes using social media platforms and job boards, attending job fairs and conferences, and leveraging employee referrals and professional networks. 

Casting a wide net to find competent DevOps engineers around the world can also bring a wealth of expertise and unique perspectives to the team. By expanding the search beyond local or national borders, you can access a global talent pool that can help drive innovation and growth. 

3. Develop a recruitment pipeline for DevOps roles

Create an employment pipeline to meet future DevOps hiring needs. This method will help you maintain a pool of potential candidates and reduce the time and effort required to find the ideal DevOps professional.

Build and maintain ties with DevOps-related educational institutions and certification bodies. Start working with students before they graduate to develop their skills in the areas most relevant to employment at your business. When you form your DevOps team from the ground up, you end up with a highly specialized workforce.

4. Conduct interviews and technical assessments

Interviews and technical assessments are essential when hiring a DevOps engineer. During the interview process, ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to showcase their skills and experience. You can also evaluate their technical abilities by administering coding tests and other practical exercises.

Here are some general DevOps engineer interview questions for your shortlisted applicants:

  • How have you contributed to the automation of deployment processes in your previous roles?
  • How familiar are you with cloud computing and containerization technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes?
  • What strategies have you used to build and manage infrastructure at scale?

5. Work with a tech talent partner 

Global tech talent marketplaces like Andela can help you find the ideal DevOps engineer quickly and efficiently. We have a vast marketplace of skilled professionals, and can help you find the right fit for your organization. We can also help with the screening process, technical evaluations, and salary negotiations to accelerate the hiring process.

Andela: your partner for elite DevOps hiring solutions

As more and more organizations prioritize agility, automation, and scalability, DevOps has become a critical function in modern software development. However, hiring the right DevOps engineer can be a complex and challenging task — requiring a deep understanding of the skills, culture fit, and technical knowledge needed to drive success. 

By partnering with Andela, you can streamline your hiring process, tap into a vast marketplace of qualified, top-tier DevOps professionals, and leverage proven methodologies for identifying the right candidate for the job. Our expert hiring process, robust onboarding, and ongoing support ensure you have the resources you need to succeed in today's competitive software landscape. 

Partner with Andela and start building your dream DevOps team today.

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