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How to Become a DevOps Engineer

Although employers may define the role differently, a good working definition of a DevOps engineer is a technical professional who follows a software development strategy that integrates development and operations. The chief responsibility of a DevOps engineer is to oversee software code releases to achieve organizational goals.

To become a DevOps engineer, you’ll need technical and interpersonal skills. This skill set can be the catalyst to breaking down the communication and operational barriers that have traditionally existed in information technology (IT) organizations — between the development and IT operations teams as well as other functional teams — resulting in slow software deployments that have put companies at risk of losing their competitive advantage.

You’ll have to understand IT operations’ and system administrators’ responsibilities and promote a software’s successful performance to internal and external customers. That means you’ll have to effectively communicate with the sales and marketing department.

DevOps engineers in business attire sit together at a desk and look at a computer monitor.

What Does a DevOps Engineer Do?

DevOps engineers don’t just write code. They must also be able to implement automation tools and technologies throughout the software development lifecycle. Additionally, these IT professionals are responsible for automating business processes to improve operations, in part by responding more quickly to requests for changes from customers. DevOps engineers build out and manage IT infrastructures and provide support for their users. They may supervise and collaborate with the development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) team to improve a company’s infrastructure security.

Steps to Become a DevOps Engineer

There are several steps you should take to become a DevOps engineer. Here’s an overview of how you might proceed down this career path.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

If you’re interested in becoming a DevOps engineer, you’ll have to earn a bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to computer science, math, or electronics engineering. For example, the online Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS) program at Maryville University aims to teach students how to use logical thinking to solve problems.

An MIS degree will teach you skills to succeed in various IT careers. You’ll learn how to apply these skills to start a business or improve the operations of an existing business.

In a typical MIS course, you’ll learn how to design information systems, which companies like eBay and rely upon, as well as develop project management skills to ensure that you’ll be able to successfully implement those systems. An MIS degree program typically includes an internship or a final project, enabling you to take what you’ve learned and use it in a real-world setting.

Step 2: Earn a Master’s Degree

If you wish to advance your career as a DevOps engineer, you may want to earn a master’s degree. A master’s program, such as the online master’s in software development program at Maryville University, can prepare you to become a top-notch DevOps engineer. If you’re a working IT professional, an online master’s program is a good way to balance your career and your education, as you may be able to finish this master’s program in only a year.

A master’s degree in software development curriculum offers courses to help you build your skills in the various aspects of software development, such as coding and emerging technologies like augmented reality.

Step 3: Acquire the Necessary Skills

Having deep technical skills is relevant to employers looking for DevOps engineers. Some competencies that can help you stand out include the following:

  • Knowledge of open-source tools like Puppet and Ansible
  • The ability to write scripts using Python and other programming languages
  • A thorough understanding of continuous integration

Additionally, employers are looking for candidates with soft skills, including excellent interpersonal and organizational skills and the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities at the same time.

DevOps Engineer Salaries

The average annual salary of a DevOps engineer, as of February 23, 2019, was $122,246, according to Indeed. However, salaries vary widely by location and company. For example, the average annual salary in San Francisco was $144,291, well above the national average, while in Atlanta it was $118,105.

Employment Outlook for DevOps Engineers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for DevOps engineers, which the BLS categorizes as software developers, is expected to increase 24% over the decade from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average of 7% for all occupations.

Part of the expected growth is due to more companies getting comfortable with innovative tools and technologies, such as cloud computing.

Learn More About Becoming a DevOps Engineer

If you love to learn and are more interested in the process than the product, a career as a DevOps engineer may be right for you. Working in this field can be extremely satisfying, as it provides opportunities to integrate forward-thinking technologies that can help companies conduct business more efficiently.

Now that you’re familiar with what DevOps engineers do and how to become one, you can take the next step and explore how the online master’s in software development program at Maryville University can help you with the necessary skills to succeed in this rewarding career.



Grand View Research, DevOps Market Size Worth $12.85 Billion by 2025, CAGR: 18.60%

Indeed, Development Operations Engineer Salaries in the United States

Maryville University, Master’s in Software Development Online

Maryville University, Online Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems Curriculum

Maryville University, Online Master’s in Software Development Curriculum

TechRepublic, “How to Become a DevOps Engineer: A Cheat Sheet”

TechTarget, Continuous Integration

TechTarget, DevOps Engineer

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers