If you were to believe the hype, you’d think DevOps rise to prominence was rapid. In actual fact, like a lot of Hollywood actors, DevOps was around for a long time before it found fame, it was just badged differently. However, in a world where time is of the essence, its focus on collaboration between software developers and other IT functions to automate the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes have really struck a chord with the modern, digital globalised business.
The net result of being able to release higher quality apps with great speed and efficiency has seen DevOps become one of the most sought after skill sets of 2015. Two years ago, DevOps positions represented roughly 5% of the technology vacancies taken on by GCS. In the first six months of 2015, this figure has quadrupled to 20%. Despite the ongoing demand for a wide variety of IT skills, the simple fact is that no other skill set has even come close to that level of increase in demand.
It’s not a skill set that has always been in demand, however. The market's initial interest in DevOps had severe ups and downs. This can be largely attributed to the fact that many vendors took advantage of the interest expressed in DevOps and claimed to provide DevOps capabilities without truly delivering DevOps applications. Understandably then, companies were unenthusiastic and, given its newness, there were few genuine practitioners to champion the cause.
This led to confusion over what constituted a DevOps engineer. The clients who saw the benefit of streamlining their IT process and harnessing the potential of Big Data engaged self-styled DevOps gurus only to find they had recruited glorified Linux Systems Administrators, capitalising on the market interest in a not-entirely-defined commodity. As a result, the first wave of companies who looked to integrate DevOps into their business took a step back, leaving the future of this new skill set in question.
However, the last couple of years have seen a change in attitude which has led to companies embracing DevOps - and the key attitude changes have come from developers and the public sector.
Initially unwilling to consider any aspect of work that fell into the support realm, an increasing number of developers have come to appreciate the benefit of having a dual skill set (especially as the market evolves and causes non full-stack developers to become less in demand) and have trained to become genuine DevOps engineers. Increased availability of workers has led to more sensible rate and salary expectations which have, in turn, convinced on-the-fence businesses to give DevOps another go - and, this time around, they like what they see. Ironically, despite their original opposition, the principal area of the market that is looking to acquire DevOps engineers is the public sector.
It's still early days for this fledgling skill set in its ‘newest’ form - but, after a couple of uncertain years, it now appears that the future of the DevOps engineer is assured. With clients more interested in seeing applicants' GIT hubs and Stack Overflows instead of CVs, there's a definite buy in from businesses, so any development or support specialists looking to diversify into DevOps would be well advised that now is a great time to broaden their skill set.