Traditionally, software development teams are split into two dedicated functions — Software Engineers and Operations/Information Technology (Ops/IT) Specialists. Software engineers were responsible for writing code to solve a customer problem. Once the code was ready, an Ops/IT professional would deploy it to production servers and monitor it to ensure everything was running smoothly. It’s easy to forget that there used to be physical networking equipment and servers for every project not so long ago. At the time, software groups were not equipped to handle the technical challenges of working with these physical devices.
These roles are now blurring with the adoption of cloud computing services, giving birth to a new discipline known as Developer Operations Engineering or DevOps. Using software as their main tool, DevOps engineers work on internal development problems. Similar to how a software engineer optimizes an algorithm, a DevOps engineer’s goal is to optimize the software engineering process. In other words, dedicated developers use software to solve customer problems and DevOps engineers use software to solve their team’s software engineering problems. Since the tools used by DevOps are usually code-based, it’s becoming a critical skill for any software developer.