What to learn to become a DevOps engineer?


The article sheds light on how to get started with DevOps from the perspective of a beginner. We wanted to outline a path we would take if we were starting from zero again. So basically what are the steps to becoming a DevOps engineer, what to learn to become a DevOps Engineer,  and in which order? 

We wanted to make it more individual for the people with the most common backgrounds of transitioning into DevOps and based on your queries on our forums, we picked five of the most common backgrounds: system administrators, software developers and engineers, test automation engineers, network engineers and people with zero or very very little IT knowledge. So if you have one of those backgrounds, this article will be handy for you in showing your curated individual path into DevOps. So without further ado, let’s get started!

What is the DevOps Skillset you need to learn to become a Devops Engineer?

Now first in order to understand how to become a DevOps professional, let’s define exactly what skill set you require for that.

Software Development Basics. 

You need to understand how software developers work and what workflows they use, how they collaborate on developing features,  the modern processes like agile and scrum, what  Git workflow they use, and generally understand what software development life cycle covers from the idea to code all the way to releasing it to the end users. 

Now here it’s important to mention that you don’t need to be a software developer or the one implementing those agile and scrum processes. You need to understand how those things work on a  high level, conceptually. 

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Software Deployment 

The next one is software deployment. Once the feature is developed, it needs to be released to the end users, which means you need an environment, where your application will be running and available for the end users, and as a DevOps engineer you need to know how to provision and prepare these environments and how to maintain them. 

For that, you need knowledge of general server administration like creating virtual machines,   mostly with the Linux operating system, installing software, doing patches, configuring networking on-premise as well as on the cloud, and so on. And as part of the more modern infrastructure concepts, you need to understand how to work with containers and the most popular container technology,  which is Docker, and for projects with tens or hundreds of Docker containers you need to know how to work with container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes, which is the most popular one nowadays and again, all these tools can be used either on-premise or on the cloud. 

if you’re working on a cloud like AWS, which is the most popular and most used cloud platform, for now, you also need to know AWS-specific services and how to manage the whole deployment infrastructure on AWS. 

CI/CD Pipelines

Connecting all these pieces together, and kind of the heart of the DevOps processes is CI CD pipelines. How do you connect these two: Software development and deployment? In other words, when software is being developed, how do you deploy those developed features? It’s not just about deploying it to the deployment environment, we don’t just take it and throw it on there. Why? 

Because humans make mistakes, either because of a lack of knowledge in some area or just accidentally. So instead we add many gatekeepers before the deployment,  so the deployed code needs to go through various of these gate checks in order to be allowed on the final environment and that’s what the DevOps CI/CD pipeline is for: testing code,   packaging it and deploying all the way to the end environment to deliver it to their end users. 

Now, what are those gatekeepers? Well, testing the code quality, testing code logic, testing that it didn’t break any previously existing code,  checking for any security issues, testing that it functions as it’s supposed to, etc. So tools for implementing this whole CI/CD pipeline with all those gatekeepers is a super important skill set. So knowing any CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Gitlab cicd, GitHub actions, Circle CI, and so on. 

Most importantly how to integrate this tool with all other technologies to test things, deploy the code, and so on is very important.


Now again we are humans and we can assume that even with the most cautious measures and a lot of extensive testing, we can’t always 100% test every single aspect of the deployment, and some issues may slip through in the production. 

That’s why we have bugs in production and that’s okay, as long as we have a plan for handling a bug or issue when it appears in production. So again a part of the DevOps skillset is to create a process of handling discovered issues in production instead of having a panic mode. So what does that skillset include? Well, it’s a thing called “monitoring and observability”. So in the last stage of CD or continuous deployment, after deploying the code changes, we don’t just say: “hey we’re done,  that’s deployed so now let’s move on to the next task”, instead we observe and monitor closely what happens. 

If some user encounters an error,  if something crashes or doesn’t work, so we know we need to proactively fix that. So maybe for a couple of hours or within the next days of deployment, we’re actively looking and observing whether some kind of issue appears in the production. 

Monitoring Tools/Platforms


Finally, the last missing piece of really conquering DevOps is automating all this. So basically you automate most of your own work, and the work of other engineers, automating especially in areas where the same task needs to be repeated.  

Let us give you some examples: for every new code released you always need to test your application. You always need to check for security you always need to package and deploy application changes, so these tasks should happen automatically. 

You need to ensure execute automated tests that developers or test Engineers write, you have automated Security checks and quality checks, and you have scripts or automation code that deploys that code to the end environment.

A Day in the life of a DevOps Engineer? Tasks and responsibilties.

All the resources you need to learn to become a DevOps Engineer?

1. Pick up a Programming Language

So the first practical skill that you’re going to want to pick up is a programming language. There are a lot of different programming languages out there but when it comes to devops: Python, JAVA, Node, and Ruby are always common options.

Now if you don’t know any of these languages and you’re looking to pick up one: Our suggestion is to go with python. It’s going to be the easiest one to pick up. It’s definitely the most popular nowadays and it allows you to build tools and applications very quickly, which is really important when it comes to devops. now when it comes to learning python. There are literally hundreds of different resources out on the internet.

2. Skill up your Source Control Management

Source control is used to track changes and maintain various versions of the application. The most popular version control system is CVS, Git, SVN & Mercurial. Although you don’t need to master everything except for GIt, you need to understand the basics behind each one of them.

3. Networking

The first component is DNS resolution; most services rely heavily on DNS name resolution to work properly, you need to be comfortable with how DNS name resolution works as well as the tools that you use to troubleshoot DNS problems. 

The other basic concept that you need to understand is just basic networking. You need to understand Subnet, and Gateway & you have to be familiar with concepts like DHCP and network address translation.  

When it comes to protocols, the one that you’re going to be using the most is HTTP. So you’ll need to have a good functional understanding of ‘how it works.’

4. Ci/CD Pipeline

For most of the aspiring students of DevOps, the whole concept of Ci/Cd is still vague. Ci/Cd short for continuous integration is the act of automating the Quality Analysis of new code when a new commit comes into a code repository. A Ci tool can automatically launch it in a container and run tests if the tests fail, the developer is notified and they can have a look at their code and fix it. 

If the tests pass then you can move on to the continuous delivery portion which will automatically deploy the code. The code can be delivered to any environment either in the QA stage or even in production.  The act of using ci cd pipelines helps automate the testing and delivery of code saving a lot of developer time.

5. Containerization

The container system assists to separate the app and facilitates testing and QAs. It facilitates a comfortable workflow and makes sure that there is smooth integration. The most prevalent container manager is Docker, we highly recommend you go through its basics and tutorial to become a DevOps Engineer.

6. Virtualisation & Cloud

Now, the key to running all these systems and integrations parallel to each other lies in knowing how to isolate the process, so that they could meet the performance requirements. With Clouds, it becomes more about picking a specific combination of services rather than solving the task out of the box or setting up the environment. Proficiency with cloud platforms covers a wide range of areas, from infrastructure architecture to cost optimization. You need to be familiar with AWS and Microsoft Azure and its services and how to set them up for your application.

7. Security

Hackers get into systems through vulnerabilities brought by faster development and deployment cycles. Perhaps, that’s why DevOps Engineers need to consider the security implications of their flows to help protect apps from potential attacks and ensure all systems have defense mechanisms.

8. Sys Administrator

One should know his way around configuring servers, checking the health of the system, ensuring firewalls and setting up effective alerts. It is one of the most underrated yet essential responsibility of a DevOps Engineer.

Wrapping Up

That brings us to to end on “what to learn to become a DevOps Engineer”. We have tried and summed up every tool, methodlogy, technology and programming language one may need to achieve proficiency in DevOps. Studying all of them may seem exhausting and scary at first, but with adequate pace, consistancy and urge, one can become a sound DevOps Engineer. Set aside about 30 mins daily to practice new skills.

Although resource may get scattered. That’s why we suggest our industry leading DevOps Live Mentor Program. An experienced mentor will lead you through the DevOps jungle holding the torch of wisdom to light your way. Zen-DevOps Bootcamp is a holistic roadmap consisting of all the tools and methods to make you a certified DevOps Professional. More than everything, it offers 100% job placement support, and you’ll be eligible for 50+ guaranteed interviews through GUVI’s placement cell, trusted by 100+ companies for their talent needs. So if you want to make a switch, do it the right way.

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Tushar Vinocha
Tushar Vinocha

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