From cybersecurity to machine learning advancements, today’s IT landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. For hiring managers, however, the biggest challenge isn’t keeping up with the latest coding languages or even shoring up network vulnerabilities– it’s keeping track of the rapidly evolving professional titles and responsibilities that go along with these positions.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a combination of software development (Dev) and software operations (Ops). The term refers to a software engineering culture that works to unify the development and operation of software in order to shorten development cycles and better align software needs with business objectives.
As a Senior Executive Search Consultant, one of the most common job search requests I receive is for a “DevOps” candidate. DevOps is a hybrid development and operations role. It’s someone who is a strong developer and systems expert and can serve as the “spine” of the company. This role requires the right combination of skills, experience, and mindset. As more companies push to streamline and automate processes, DevOps talent is in top demand. DevOps is also a newer title, which means industry veterans may not have this title on their resume despite having the necessary experience, further complicating the recruitment process.
Is your IT team struggling to recruit experienced DevOps talent? If your search focus is too narrow, you could be overlooking qualified candidates.
DevOps Hiring: Tips to Choose the Right Candidate
Focus on experience, not titles.
“DevOps” as a formal job title is still relatively new. Industry veterans with 10, 15 or 20 years of experience may not have this title on their resume even though they have previously worked in roles that brought software development and operations together. Geography plays a role, too. The “DevOps” title has been in use longer in tech hub cities like Austin but is a newer addition to Houston’s tech scene.As a recruiter, I look for titles like “Automation Engineer”, “Python Developer” and “Software Developer”, reflecting a candidate’s systems and operational experience as well development background. Scan a resume too quickly and you’ll miss these details, inadvertently overlooking qualified candidates.
Consider performance metrics.
In the software industry, there’s long been a tacit assumption that projects run late and when they are delivered, they underperform. The DevOps role was created to ameliorate these issues. Through a combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools, DevOps is designed to eliminate barriers to on-time delivery. If project performance and deliverable timelines are a concern at your company, look for job applicants with a proven history of successful project delivery. I look for candidates who have helped turnaround project teams that historically struggled with deliverables and instilled a new company ethos of open communication and successful performance across teams.
Communication counts. The right DevOps candidate will be a bridge builder who not only understands the domain in which the software is being written but also has a passion for your company’s business and is invested in the project’s long-term success. Successful DevOps talent has an “all hands on deck” mentality: they’re willing to jump in and debug code one day and discuss infrastructure and configuration concerns the next. They’re ambassadors who can put an end to the blame game between developers who blame the system admins for “building an unreliable platform” and the system admins who blame developers for “writing unreliable code”. In short, you need to hire talent with proven communication excellence.
As businesses prioritize the hiring of DevOps talent to automate business processes and streamline internal operations, the existing candidate market will become even more competitive. If your company is struggling to identify qualified candidates, consider whether you are inadvertently narrowing your talent pool. A restrictive focus on a specific job title rather than the broad skill set necessary for success can hurt your recruitment efforts.