Everything you need to know about development and operations jobs
The IT sector is a lucrative field to work in and provides a significant amount of opportunities for individuals with the correct skills and experience to gain a high-paying career with plenty of room for advancement.
For professionals with the ability to obtain certain security clearances, or those carrying them over from previous jobs, the opportunities are even greater. The threat of cyber attacks is constantly growing as criminals find new, innovative ways to threaten organisations. In fact, Check Point research revealed the last quarter of 2022 saw the highest-ever global volume of cyber attacks.
Consequently, businesses are searching for professionals to command their defence measures. In order to do that, individuals will be tasked with handling sensitive information and as such, will be required to demonstrate trustworthiness and integrity.
A major hiring trend at the moment is for experts with development and operations (DevOps) skills and experience. So, if you have worked in this area before, or you’re looking to move into the IT sector for the first time, these job opportunities could be the perfect next step in your career.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an increasingly popular area of the IT field and describes a series of working practices and philosophies that come together to reduce software development cycles and facilitate the continuous delivery of high-quality applications.
In simple terms, DevOps is when people work together to ideate, build and deliver highly secure software at top speed. The process is used to encourage a more collaborative environment throughout every stage of the development cycle and, ultimately, improve the overall flow.
What are the duties and responsibilities of a DevOps engineer?
DevOps involves increasing the efficiency of the software development lifecycle and the engineer is the professional responsible for introducing those processes and methodologies.
The specific role of a DevOps engineer will vary between different organisations, although invariably will entail a blend of infrastructure provisioning and management, release engineering, system administration and security.
Infrastructure provisioning and system administration cover maintaining servers and networks. For companies with on-site resources, this could also mean managing physical servers and storage, whilst remote or hybrid businesses will have their DevOps engineers taking care of the virtual counterparts of the same components.
Release engineering involves everything needed to build and distribute application code. The specific tools used will differ based on things such as the coding language, production infrastructure and how much of the pipeline is automated.
The DevOps engineer works with developers, systems administrators and IT operations staff to oversee the release of applications. Their role is largely focused on removing frictions and obstacles from the development process. A few of the common responsibilities you could expect include:
- Reviewing current systems and processes, as well as developing ways to improve them
- Creating and implementing development tools and infrastructure
- Learning the challenges and needs of stakeholders and communicating these to the development team
- Identifying issues and responding with software updates and patches
What are the key skills and requirements for a DevOps engineer?
Typically, employers will require candidates to hold a degree in a STEM or other technical subject, with some also demanding a master's degree. However, there are entry-level opportunities out there and some businesses offer these positions to graduates of any subject.
If you’re new to the field, it’s worth seeking out internships or placements. There are also online courses that can offer the chance to explore the processes behind DevOps and start putting them into practice.
Throughout your career, employers could ask you to obtain specific qualifications. Some of the most useful and in-demand include:
- AWS Certified DevOps Engineer
- Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert
- Google Professional Cloud DevOps Engineer
- Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
- Kubernetes and Cloud-Native Associate (KCNA)
In terms of the skills needed to succeed in a DevOps career, here are some of the most important.
Like many jobs, it’s vital that DevOps engineers are able to collaborate and communicate efficiently with other professionals, teams, stakeholders and customers. Soft skills are constantly undervalued, but when it comes to this position, you’ll quickly find out how integral solid communication skills will be across the entire development cycle.
You’ll need the skills to design, provision and manage computer networks as a DevOps engineer. This also means that understanding how to model system infrastructure in the cloud is a requirement.
Employers are often looking for candidates with experience in at least one configuration management tool, like Puppet, Chef or Ansible. Plenty of organisations have implemented these tools into their system administration tasks, such as applying security patches or deploying new systems.
Tools are a crucial part of DevOps practices. So, an engineer must fully understand the best way to implement a wide array of them, from those in infrastructure and building to others in operating a product or service.
How do you become a DevOps engineer?
The responsibilities of a DevOps engineer are demanding. As such, it’s a career path that requires time and dedication to get into. However, it’s also a sector that’s extremely gratifying for individuals with the right skills and experience.
How much can you earn as a DevOps engineer?
According to figures from Glassdoor, the average salary for a DevOps engineer in the UK is just above £50,000 per year. For entry-level positions, professionals can expect to take home compensation in the region of £30,000 to £35,000 per year, whilst more experienced engineers will be able to command salaries above £100,000.
The money you can earn as a DevOps engineer is largely contingent on the location of your job, as well as the organisation you work for. One way to increase your salary is to seek out a role that requires a specific security clearance.
Individuals must demonstrate an exemplary level of professionalism and integrity to obtain a security clearance like Developed Vetting and this dedication is often reflected in the compensation you receive in the position. Some of the industries that work with highly classified information and may require security clearances include:
- Central government
- Armed forces (including contractors)
- Police services
- NATO or other international organisations
- Nuclear facilities
- Cyber security consultancies
Where to find DevOps engineer jobs in the UK
If a career as a DevOps engineer sounds interesting and you also hold, or have the ability to obtain, a security clearance, where is the best place to look for jobs?
A specialised jobs board, like SecurityClearedJobs.com, is a great start. Once there, you can take a look at all of the most relevant jobs, as well as register your CV so that recruiters can view it and reach out to you directly.
Why not attend one of our Security Cleared Expos? These events happen throughout the year and offer candidates the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and organisations in person, including some of the biggest employers of security cleared professionals in the UK.
We have a wide variety of open roles, including some great opportunities for DevOps careers.