DevOps Institute

2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report – Part 2

Agile, Culture and Human Skills, SRE, Upskilling

June 25, 2020

By: Romnick Acabado

This is Part 2 in this blog series. Part 1 is here.

DevOps transformation journey is still very difficult for more than 50%

“Our survey respondents agree that managing the people, processes and technologies associated and necessary for a DevOps transformation are all difficult. Each category has received the same amount of responses for being a challenge. Emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, Quantum Computing, and Robotic Process Automation are ranked as the biggest revenue drivers. CompTIA projects a 3.7 percent increase in IT spend in 2020. This would amount to a global IT industry including hardware, software, service, and telecommunications of $5.2 trillion globally in 2020. There are a variety of factors that influence this growth, and one of them is the availability of skilled IT members.”

With more challenging business value outcomes and our continuous motivation to improve our daily lives through app mentalities, definitely, it requires a bigger investment of time, effort and money on getting the right culture, people, tools and processes.

In these articles, I had more discussion about the DevOps adoption and importance of leaders, their mindset and behaviors, and the humans of DevOps:

Agile, DevOps and ITIL are getting strong competition from SRE

“While Agile adoption (81%), DevOps adoption (75%) and ITIL adoption (25%) have grown since our 2019 research work, SRE has risen from 10% adoption in 2019 to 15% in 2020.  Additional philosophies such as Value Stream Management (19%) and System Thinking (13%) are also being leveraged. Many of these disciplines and/or frameworks co-exist in organizations. We also probed for Holacracy for the first time and are seeing a 2.4 % adoption globally.”

We see the value of embracing SRE than the risk of doing nothing in Operations.

SRE is an investment to automate the toil in Operations to achieve customer delight and to free-up capacity to improve other areas and to deliver more solutions and enhancements for customers.

These frameworks and methodologies complement each other:

  • Value Stream Management to have proper change and release management
  • Agile principles to have the proper mindset in delivering value and getting feedback faster to have proper adjustment
  • DevOps practices that help on faster releases and stable operations
  • ITIL that guides us in maintaining service quality in transforming ideal to value

Finding and attracting skilled people continues to be a challenge in 2020

“Still the number one challenge is the finding and attracting skilled DevOps people. 58% of respondents said that finding skilled individuals is a huge challenge, whereas 48% say the retention of skilled DevOps individuals is a challenge. With salaries in the high $180,000 for experienced people and the current skill gap, 2020 will be a tough year for hiring managers and HR leaders. Individuals who have the right skills and experience, and who are good negotiators, can certainly score big. Key verticals such as financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, and technology are eager to find DevOps and tech talent.”

Now that we have more skillful and cross-functional humans of DevOps, the demand for them is high. DevOps engineers become expensive, and it can be a challenge for an organization to keep them. The early adopters’ organizations invest in upskilling their talents, and keeping them must be part of their strategy. Leaders must understand the priorities and personal values of their employees to make a work environment that is preferred by their talents. Some organizations know how to do this.

Some skill categories will be less in demand and others more in demand

“Both project management and program management have declined in must-have skills since last year. Experience with source control models and processes has risen to the top category in process skills replacing last year’s software development life cycle skills. Additionally, the category of experience with performance tuning and monitoring has moved from a 32% must-have skill to a 39% must-have skill ranking.”

DevOps strategic plan requires corresponding hiring strategies. In essence, DevOps Leader/Evangelist, Scrum Team, SRE, Operations Team, CI/CD experts, and practitioners cover some of the roles and positions in a DevOps transformation.

The DevOps human as a hybrid job and role

“The term “hybrid jobs” was first coined in 2015 to mean jobs that combine skill sets that never used to be found in the same jobs. Since then, one in eight job posting is highly hybridized according to Burning Glass. They found analyzing close to a billion job postings and employee resumes from millions of companies that jobs are becoming more “hybrid,” more complex, and demand key important new sets of skills. In fact, one-quarter of all occupations in the U.S. economy shows strong signs of hybridization, and they are almost universally the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs.”

With emerging technologies and fast-changing applications, we need more cross-skilled and cross-functional IT professionals. Instead of making positions that are technology-centric, it is better to have generic names for roles to be more technology-agnostic. A hybrid job and role are critical to “be agile” and to innovate new solutions for customers.

The Hybrid DevOps human must be equipped with key skills

“Human, process, knowledge, and automation skills are equally important. Additionally, the hybrid DevOps human leverages skills from a wide area of fields which range from technical skills such as cloud infrastructure to functional skills such as IT operations, to process and frameworks skills such as SRE or Agile. And last, having some exposure and skills around specific automation tools that one might have gained throughout their career or training, combined with business acumen, make a perfect hybrid DevOps Engineer. Specific certifications are a proof point for having acquired specific skills.”

Next-gen specialists have the experience, expertise, execution skills, and ability to explore new things to deliver excellence. In a DevOps Team, we can have hybrid roles that can complement each other in achieving their goals and in providing the solution to the needs of their customers. Some can specialize in specific technologies while most of the members are knowledgeable on the proven process and framework. I recommend DevOps Institute courses where you can concentrate on a particular role or can have the view on the bigger picture.

Upskilling needs attention now

“Which computer science programs teach interpersonal skills? How many IT Operation folks know about security practices? How does somebody learn how to code in multiple programming languages? How does one know the multitude of cloud and other infrastructures? The challenges of upskilling are not new and, according to the World Economic Forum, is the biggest challenge across the world with the tech job. Unfortunately, over 38% of our respondents’ organizations have no upskilling program, 21% are currently working on one and 8% don’t even know if their organization has an upskilling program. Companies like Federal Express, Amazon (will invest $700 million in upskilling in 2020), AT&T, Google (will invest $1 Billion in upskilling) and PwC have announced investments retraining and upskilling their workforce. 31% of survey respondents indicated that their company had already implemented a formal upskilling program within their organizations.”

Investing in and upskilling employees is essential to be successful in DevOps transformation. Humans of DevOps are critical to lead the adoption by applying the right practices and techniques, and by building the correct toolchain that supports DevOps goals. Without the right source of knowledge, trainers, and vendors, adopting a DevOps approach will be difficult. Upskilling is the first step for every implementation and successful adoption.

Download the 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report here:

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