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How To Hire DevOps Engineers ‒ A Step-by-Step Guide

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Did you ever wonder why it’s such a pain in the neck to find a qualified DevOps engineer?  There’s always some obstacle. Either the candidates aren’t qualified enough to keep up with your needs, or the rates are so crazy you’re not sure you need them anymore. 

While other companies deploy project after project, you’re still trying to figure out how to meet a single deadline with an X amount of devs (which is obviously NOT enough).

Sounds familiar?

If you’re looking for a DevOps engineer for your project, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn more about the hiring process and what are some things you might be overlooking that hamper your recruitment process

Let’s dive in! 

Outline Your Requirements First ‒ DevOps Engineers Responsibilities 

Before we move on to the DevOps engineering hiring process, let’s define who this person is and what DevOps actually means. The term is coined out of the two words ‒ “development” and “operations”. A DevOps engineer is a person who is skilled in both. It’s a versatile expert whose main function is to help different development teams improve specific parts of code and enable companies to improve their platforms based on what they already have. 

Interestingly, DevOps as a job title is kind of made up by the industry, which means that there is no step-by-step process on how to undertake this career. Whether or not someone can apply for DevOps position depends on their skills and experience with coding and working in different teams.

In short, DevOps engineer is someone who:

  • Understands the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
  • Has a solid grasp of different automation testing tools for developing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • Can successfully manage the entire DevOps team.

So what are the main responsibilities of DevOps engineer? 

  • Application and Infrastructure planning, testing and development.
  • Maintaining CI/CD pipelines.
  • Automation implementation.
  • Ensuring security.
  • Ongoing monitoring.

Let’s take a closer look at each. 

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Application and Infrastructure Planning, Testing and Development

DevOps engineer’s job is to fill the immediate business needs. In their day-to-day, DevOps look at the individual functions of the cloud environment and write code to scale them. To pull it off, a person needs to be able to write small snippets of code in several languages. They also must be skilled in testing, and big-picture planning (integrations and additions across many systems). 

Maintaining CI/CD Pipelines

DevOps engineers are responsible for building a CI/CD pipeline and making sure that all the processes, people, and tools work in sync. They can spot areas of improvement and optimize the pipeline on the go. When DevOps engineer does the job well, the team can continuously test without hampering overall speed.

Automation Implementation

Automation is the reason why organizations hire DevOps engineers in the first place. DevOps are responsible for its implementation and their job is to boost the efficiency of both engineering and IT. Meanwhile, companies can focus on more strategic tasks. 

Ensuring Security 

DevOps engineer’s job is to support the users of the infrastructure they develop. The best way to ensure safety is to build reliable software, to begin with. Writing secure code that will be protecting the cloud against hackers and viruses is a valuable skill for a DevOps engineer. 

Ongoing Monitoring

Collecting data and understanding how to act on it effectively is crucial for every organization. That’s why DevOps engineers monitor their apps and infrastructure to detect and oversee the blind spots, observe them, and troubleshoot possible issues. 

What are the Most Important Skills for DevOps? 

Clearly, the skillset required for such professionals is far above the average. In one of the surveys conducted by DevOps Institute for their Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, C-suite executives, managers, and individual contributors were asked to rate the importance of the different skill categories for their DevOps team members.  

Take a look at the results. 

Most important skills for DevOps

The expectations are generally pretty high, but they vary slightly based on the desired experience level.

Are there any differences in job requirements for, say, junior and senior DevOps engineer? Most certainly, there are. Let’s examine them closer. 

Skills Required for Junior DevOps Engineer 

  • Understanding of Agile, Waterfall, SDLC.
  • Understanding of version control tools.
  • Knowledge of CI/ CD tools. 
  • At least one programming language. 
  • Understanding of Docker images, containers, and registries.
  • Knowledge of Infrastructure Management tools.
  • Understanding of cloud computing.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).  

Skills Required for Middle DevOps Engineer

  • Solid knowledge of CI/ CD tools.
  • Good knowledge of version control tools.
  • Good experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 2+ programming languages.
  • Solid understanding of cloud computing services.
  • Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Good communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

Skills Required for Senior DevOps Engineer

  • Proven expertise in using CI/ CD tools.
  • Proficient knowledge of version control tools.
  • Experience with bash scripting/troubleshooting.
  • Knowledge of 3+ programming languages.
  • Proficiency in cloud computing services.
  • Expert-level Infrastructure Management skills.
  • Proficiency in automation tools.
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written, spoken).
  • Soft skills (self-motivated, detail-oriented, strong team player).

DevOps Engineers Salaries in Various Countries

Given the number of skills required for this job, it’s no surprise that the salaries of DevOps engineers are pretty high. However, they fluctuate greatly based on many factors: 

  • individual skills 
  • professional experience on related jobs,
  • country of residence
  • the company, etc. 

To illustrate, let’s compare DevOps salaries in three different regions. 

Disclaimer: The numbers discussed further are just an estimation and may vary based on the aforementioned factors.  

RegionYearly earnings (junior)Yearly earnings (middle/senior)
Ukraine$ 7 900 $ 31 500  
United States $ 70 000  $ 178 500
Europe (e.g. Nehterlands) $ 34 000 $ 79 000 

Job Description Example for DevOps Developer 

When searching for an ideal DevOps engineer, pay special attention to crafting an appealing and to-the-point job description. It will save you the hustle of turning down the applications that don’t fit the requirements. 

Below is the example of a DevOps engineer job description you could use as a reference in your search. 

Introduction

[Your company name] is a company that specializes in […]. Right now, we are looking for [junior/ middle/ senior] level DevOps Engineer to fill in a vacant position in our team. You will work at the intersection of Development and Operations to design, code, test, and optimize great solutions for clients.

Job Role and Responsibilities

Who You Are:

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  • A highly motivated person with a passion for building scalable and efficient products.
  • You have very strong communication skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • You are a great problem-solver.
  • You are [familiar with/have a solid understanding of/ expert in] operating systems such as Linux, Windows, iOS and Android.
  • You have a [basic/ solid/ expert] understanding of programming in languages, such as […].
  • You are [interested in/ understand/ the expert in] Design Thinking Methodology and Agile.

What You’ll Do:

  • Build, deploy, configure, and maintain systems in […] environment.
  • Work closely with the development team to ensure a continuous integration environment. 
  • Optimize and automate processes, using tools like […].
  • Troubleshoot and solve issues in development, testing,  and production.

Required Expertise

  • Must have [basic/ solid/ expert] knowledge in [Java, Jenkins, Puppet, Docker, Bash, Python, Ruby, etc.]

Preferred Expertise

  • Experience in […] 

Interview Questions to Ask DevOps Developer

Supposing, you’ve picked a few good-looking CVs. Now, how do you determine whether any of them are a good fit? Very simple. Asking the right questions will do the trick. After the interview, you should be able to tell whether the candidate has the necessary hard and soft skills to become a perfect addition to your team.

Hard Skills 

Below are the examples of interview questions for junior, and middle/senior developer to check their hard skills. 

  • What DevOps tools do you have experience with? Do you want to master any other tools? 
  • What is version control and why should it be used?
  • Why are Configuration Management Processes and Tools important?
  • Can you explain the concept of “Infrastructure as Code”(IaC)?
  • What is meant by Continuous Integration and how would you ensure it?
  • What is the difference between orchestration and classic automation? What are some common orchestration solutions?
  • Why proper instrumentation and measurement are important for  DevOps culture?

Soft Skills 

Many companies value personality and soft skills over technical expertise. After all, you can deepen the knowledge or sharpen the skill, but personality stays the same. Here are some questions you can ask during the interview to make sure a candidate fits in your company culture.

  • How would you describe the functions of an ideal DevOps team?
  • What skills have you learned to help you get better in a DevOps role?
  • What does the perfect release look like? Who is involved, and what is your role?
  • How would you go about diagnosing and fixing problems in production?
  • A deployment just failed. What steps will you take to remediate the situation?
  • How would you improve DevOps strategy in our company?

Hiring DevOps Engineers: 3 Ways to Go 

When it comes to hiring DevOps engineers, there are three popular options: freelance websites, recruiting agencies, and outsourcing companies. Let’s review all three in detail.

Hiring Freelancers 

Freelancer platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, YouTeam, Toptal are very popular when it comes to finding specialists in the IT sector. The principle behind these platforms is the same. You set up an account, create a job post, choose a freelancer (or a team of freelancers), and start a contract. 

Client interface on Upwork

Pros of hiring a freelancer:

  • Much cheaper rates;
  • Reviews from previous clients; 
  • Wide range of specialists;
  • Great for minor changes and short-term projects.  

Cons of hiring a freelancer:

  • No guarantees;
  • No formal contract signed;
  • Possible language barrier;
  • Different time zones;
  • Management complexities causing more harm than good. 

Working with Recruiting Agencies 

Another widely used option is partnering with recruitment agencies. Here’s how it works. You let the agency know what positions you’d like to fill and they provide the recruitment services to the extent that you prefer, from identifying qualified people to conducting interviews and candidates selection. The cost of their assistance may vary based on their service model:

  • Executive search ‒ the employer pays an up-front fee for assistance filling a role
  • On-demand recruitment ‒ flexible support at an hourly rate
  • Recruitment process outsourcing ‒ the employer entrusts the entire recruiting function to the agency.

Pros of working with recruitment agencies 

  • More time for important strategic tasks; 
  • Access to more qualified candidates.

Cons of working with recruitment agencies 

  • The cost of recruiting;
  • Lack of control;
  • Indirect candidate access;
  • Potential communication issues.

Hiring DevOps Engineers through IT Companies 

This is probably the best option for projects of any size and budget. It’s less expensive than hiring in-house employees, but just as reliable.

Pros of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Cost-effectiveness; 
  • Guaranteed expertise and reliability; 
  • Dedicated manager for each project; 
  • General team experience and quality work.

Cons of hiring DevOps engineers through IT companies

  • Different time zones;
  • Possible language barrier. 

Outsourcing individual experts or even the entire teams through IT companies is super convenient. They are not only qualified but have all the necessary technology in place. All you need is to share the details of your project and cooperate along the process. Sounds like a plan, isn’t it? But make no mistake, there are still some pitfalls to beware. 

The truth is, finding the right outsourcing company can be a challenge. You’ve probably heard all these urban legends about the worst outsourcing experience. However, if you take this process seriously, your project will end up in good hands. To find a reliable IT company, go beyond Google search. Places like Clutch will help you find accurate information about each team and referrals from colleagues will encourage you to make the best choice.  

Our company also provides team extension services. Here’s how it works in Relevant Software. 

Our Dedicated Team Set-Up Process 

It’s super simple. First, we gather the client’s project requirements, agree on the desired workflow, team size, deadlines, and deliverables. Next, we assemble the team, select the best-suited experts, show you CVs, invite you to perform the final interview, and smoothly integrate into your ongoing project. As a result, you complement your team with needed experts and finalize all the work successfully without any recruitment hustle.  

How We Help Companies to Get DevOps Engineers on Board 

We enjoy helping startups, mid-sized businesses and digitalizing enterprises transform the future with actionable solutions. Take a look at some of the projects we provided engineers to:

  • 24Onoff ‒ Efficient time-tracking and project-management SaaS platform for the construction industry. 
  • Biderator ‒ An auction platform for construction work that connects contractors and clients and provides them with a transparent bidding process.  
  • FirstHomeCoach ‒ A platform for a UK-based fintech company for navigating buyers through the property purchasing process. It connects them with trusted advisors, who in turn, help buyers secure a mortgage, get insurance, and handle all the legal paperwork. 

Summary 

Hopefully, this article will help you become more strategic about the hiring process. Now that you’re armed with these insights, you should fill in the vacant position in no time. And if you liked the idea of outsourcing and partnering with an IT company, Relevant Software will eagerly provide you with junior, middle, and senior DevOps engineers. Contact us for details.  

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