What Are “DevOps” Skills?

Someone recently asked me about DevOps ‘courses’ which got me thinking about what the required skillsets are for getting into roles that include the word “DevOps” in the title or description.

I’ve been working in various “DevOpsy” roles professionally for about 7 years now and I still don’t know exactly what it means. Each company seems to have a different definition, and the philosophy that it all started from is now only a distant memory :-D.

That said, every “DevOps” role I’ve had has drawn on some combination of the following skillsets:

  • Linux Skills
  • Networking and Web/HTTP skills. And DNS. Always DNS. And caching, oh god the caching problems.
  • Some cloud provider’s stack — AWS, GCP, Azure, whatever — knowing how different architectures are implemented, using the tools they expose to infrastucture designers and operators.
  • Familiarity with a CI/CD process (specific tools are usually not important in interviews, as long as you’re comfortable with ONE of them).
  • Generalized troubleshooting and problem solving skills. Almost every problem you face as a DevOps person will be 15% known, 85% unknown. The ability to quickly learn about the problem domain and start troubleshooting is invaluable.
  • Be comfortable with the software development process — how software gets written and deployed. Know the basics of software tooling — git, the basics of the language your devs are writing in, debugging tools for that language/environment, etc.
  • Be *really* comfortable with reading through (and puzzling over) large codebases.

It *really* helps to have some programming (developing software with a team of other devs) experience, although it’s not a hard requirement.

I’m trying to stay away from specific tools recommendations in this post, but several important ones come to mind.

My question to you: what skills do you find yourself using at your DevOpsified job?