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The 5 most common skills for a DevOps manager

We explore what DevOps manager skills are needed to ensure the process runs smoothly, and how your business can develop and upskill your employees.
Mike Jeavons, Content Writer

The term DevOps merges two processes: development, “Dev”, and operations, “Ops”. Together, they enable a greater level of planning, productivity, collaboration, and efficiency, while limiting downtime and increasing security.

By utilizing DevOps a business can shorten the time between development and implementation, and therefore speed up delivery times and quickly identify and rectify issues.

Because these two processes are being brought together, it requires leadership from a dedicated and skilled DevOps manager. But exactly what DevOps skills does a manager need, and how can they be developed?

In this post, we’re going to explore what DevOps manager skills are needed to ensure the process runs smoothly, and how your business can develop and upskill your employees to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need.

Why does a DevOps team need a skilled manager?

Rather than considering software development and operations as two separate entities, DevOps recognizes that both are dependent on each other. Without one, the other cannot function - and vice versa. While the two areas can successfully work as individuals, when the two come together it streamlines processes which save time, effort, energy, and money.

It’s a DevOps manager's responsibility that all this happens smoothly. It requires overseeing the relationship between the two teams and helping them to overcome any obstacles that may arise. Without a good manager, DevOps will never be as efficient and productive as it can be.

So, exactly what skills are needed to bring a team together to produce the best possible output?

What skills does a DevOps manager need?

A DevOps manager needs a wealth of skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to successfully lead a team. Both technical and soft skills are required to manage both the operations side and the personnel side. A manager not only needs to know the ins and outs of the software development process and the operations process but also skills related to HR.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most common skills needed to be a great DevOps manager.

Excellent communication and collaboration skills

While not specific to a DevOps manager, communication and collaboration skills are one of the most important skills required. The goal of DevOps is to bring two teams - who previously worked independently of one another - together, and in order to do that communication and collaboration are key.

To communicate effectively, a DevOps manager must have empathy and confidence, and be an active listener. They must be good at communicating under pressure, and clearly and concisely give guidance and instructions to team members, who will also be feeling the pressure.

DevOps is also about collaboration, so a manager must be able to strategize and execute those strategies to make that happen. They’ll need to spot opportunities and encourage team members to work together to overcome problems and take accountability for the success of the entire team.

Streamlining the development and operations process is the goal of DevOps, and communication and collaboration is the way to make that happen.

Coding (including scripting and automation)

Coding isn’t a necessary skill for every member of the DevOps team, as this expertise lies with the engineers, however, it is something a DevOps manager should be proficient in. Because DevOps requires coding knowledge, that’s exactly what a DevOps manager should be familiar with too. As a manager, engineers will seek advice and help, so a manager needs to be able to offer support to all members of the team. 

DevOps managers should be familiar with a range of tools and languages, including:

  • Git
  • Jira
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Bash

Complex automated delivery is an important part of DevOps, as it simplifies development and speeds up delivery. So, a sound knowledge of automation in DevOps and AI is also necessary.

Knowledge of cloud-based systems

DevOps is becoming increasingly reliant on cloud-based systems, and as a result, a DevOps manager should have a solid knowledge of cloud-based systems. Just like DevOps provides an agile environment for teams to work, so do cloud-based systems.

We’ve already covered automation, but it’s cloud-based systems that provide a centralized platform for production and deployment, as well as testing. Most cloud providers already have the ability to support DevOps, such as continuous integration and development tools. While a DevOps manager may not be involved in the nitty-gritty development or operations process, they will need to be able to step in when required.

Testing skills

In DevOps, testing is continuous, which is one of the reasons why businesses that utilize DevOps can deliver so much quicker. As part of a manager’s DevOps skills matrix, they should be familiar with the testing process at each stage of the development cycle.

At each stage of the software development cycle, different forms of testing are needed. While this responsibility is shared, a DevOps manager will oversee the process, and therefore will need the skills and knowledge necessary. A manager will need to work with their teams to identify the best strategy to ensure continuous and automated testing.

A customer-focused approach

The entire point of DevOps is to improve the overall customer experience. By speeding up delivery and identifying and fixing issues quickly, it provides the customer with a much more positive level of service. For that reason, one of the top DevOps skills is ensuring the customer always remains the focus.

A big concern of customers is security, so overseeing security issues and quality assurance should always be a high priority. Similarly, a manager should be flexible and able to think on their feet to help overcome potential problems.

To keep the customer the focus, it’s important that a DevOps manager prioritizes the following:

  • Clear goals with measurable KPIs
  • Fully utilizes automation and continuous delivery
  • Has a solid and continuous testing strategy

Go1 has an extensive library of DevOps related courses

At Go1, we provide a wide range of online training courses that are cost-effective and available to access right now. Go1’s library of DevOps courses covers everything from DevOps fundamentals to intermediate and advanced topics suitable for upskilling managers.

For more insights, subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs.

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