DevOps Roadmap: 14 Steps to Become a DevOps Engineer

Emiliano Pardo Saguier July 25, 2022
- 10 min read

So, you want to become a DevOps engineer? It’s a stimulating, challenging, high-paying career choice, but the lynchpin role holds software development and operations together. We’ve compiled a DevOps roadmap that includes all the steps required to fill the shoes of a DevOps expert

As you know, DevOps is a set of practices and tools to integrate and automate processes between IT and software development teams. With that end in mind, it focuses on cross-team communication and collaboration while leveraging the best automation tools available to increase efficiency. 

Then, the emphasis is to unite those who work on the software development side of things with software deployment — and ensure high levels of structural and maintenance support. 

But, that means that DevOps engineers need to know their stuff to tackle this monumental task. And what is “their stuff,” exactly? Well, it turns out it’s not just theirs but nearly everyone else’s. 

Of course, that may sound like a nearly impossible peak that few can get over. And while it’s true that DevOps engineers are high-level experts, becoming one is not impossible either. With that end in mind, this guide will help you clearly understand what steps you need to take before starting your DevOps journey. 

Let’s take a look.

Why do you need a DevOps roadmap?

Our DevOps explainer article covered why becoming a DevOps engineer is such a high-wire act since DevOps teams include developers and IT teams working hand-in-hand through the product lifecycle.

Hence, a DevOps roadmap implies high skills and necessary steps that help increase the speed and quality of development and deployment and prevent organizational siloing. Teams are sometimes merged to maximize efficiency, with engineers working throughout the product or app lifecycle.

So, what are these requirements? Here’s a comprehensive list to get this roadmap on track.

How to become a DevOps engineer in 14 steps

1. Learn programming languages

The first step to becoming a DevOps engineer is proficiency in one or several programming languages. It is because you won’t be integrating databases or automating development & deployment processes, debugging databases, debugging code, and fixing issues that come to the fore. The result, of course, is to do your part to keep the continuous integration/delivery pipeline chugging along. 

If you’re here, we imagine you’re proficient in at least one of the “big” programming languages, like Java, JavaScript, or Python. But, if you’re not, we recommend you get anywhere from familiar to highly proficient in at least two or three languages from this list:

  • Python
  • Perl
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Go
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Rust
  • C
  • C++

2. Get comfortable with different OSs

For the DevOps engineer, it’s necessary to learn about how different operating systems work and their differences, mainly because you’ll be running applications on servers. As such, Linux is typically the go-to solution for this type of thing, used by most companies and server providers. If you’re running a web application, it’s most likely on a Linux server. 

But, other operating systems it can’t hurt to know are: 

  • Debian
  • Unix 
  • SUSE Linux
  • Fedora
  • Ubuntu
  • CentOS
  • Windows 
  • RHEL
  • macOS
  • FreeBSD
  • OpenBSD
  • NetBSD

3. OS concepts 

Now, operating systems are just one part of the DevOps roadmap. Another is that you must be able to go deep, understanding the underlying OS infrastructure that allows you to run an app. These are called “operating system concepts,” and you need to be familiar with: 

  • Startup management
  • Process management 
  • Sockets 
  • Front-end development
  • Threads and concurrency
  • I/O management 
  • The POSIX basics
  • Virtualization 
  • File systems 
  • Memory & Storage
  • Service management 
  • Networking 

4.  Networking security and protocols

As a DevOps engineer, you must keep the peace. Networking security and protocols will help you ensure the integrity and security of your data. They define the processes and methodologies you’ll use to keep your network secure and safe from unauthorized access attempts.

The protocols you need to know about are: 

  • HTTP
  • HTTPS 
  • FTP
  • Firewalls
  • SSH
  • SSL/TTS
  • IPsec and VPNs 
  • Port forwarding 
  • AT-TLS
  • SNMP
  • OSFP authentication
  • Proxy access

5. Terminals are your new home 

The console enables developers to automate, script, and accomplish system tasks without using a graphical user interface or GUI

As a result, you’ll have to be comfortable with text manipulation, bash scripting, process monitoring, system performance, networking, compiling apps from source, Vim/Nano/Emacs, and Powershell. 

But, we’d wager that if you ever were comfortable creating a .cfg file in your FPS of choice, you will be right at home here. And you’ll need to.

6. Web servers 

When the user requests information, the server fulfills the request. A web server can host one or multiple websites using the same hardware and resources. It communicates with a web browser by using HTTP/HTTPS. Being a DevOps engineer entails knowing how to monitor a server. 

Some common web servers you can learn about are:

  • Apache
  • Nginx
  • IIS
  • Tomcat
  • Caddy
  • Istio
  • Envoy
  • Consul
  • Linkerd

7. Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery Tools 

The continuous integration/delivery pipeline is essential to software development under DevOps. As we explained in a previous article, continuous integration is a software development practice where developers merge every code change they do into a single repository.  

Whereas on the other hand, continuous delivery is implementing code changes that are automatically built, tested, and prepared for a production release. This can be considered an expansion to continuous integration.

Some of the tools you can use to this end are: 

  • TravisCI
  • GitHub
  • GitLab
  • GitHub
  • Bamboo
  • Jenkins
  • The 2022 RoadMap For Backend Developer
  • TeamCity
  • Azure DevOps

8.  Learn infrastructure as code 

This is probably one of the main areas for a DevOps engineer. No big surprise, then, that it’s pretty vast and wide-ranging. Knowing about containers such as Kubernetes and Docker, plus configuration management tools, will be vital for your development and the success of the projects you lead. 

Here are some DevOps tools you need to know about: 

  • Docker
  • Containers
  • LXC
  • Configuration Management 
  • Ansible
  • Salt
  • Chef
  • Puppet
  • Container Orchestration
  • Mesos 
  • Kubernetes
  • Docker Swarm
  • Nomad
  • Istio 
  • Service Mesh
  • Linkerd
  • Consul Connet
  • Maesh
  • Kuma
  • Infrastructure provisioning
  • Terraform

9. Application monitoring

Application monitoring refers to the process of measuring the availability, experience, and performance of an application. The data you gather from this process allows you to identify and resolve bugs and errors before users start having a bad day. You’ll typically use such software as AppDynamic, Instana, New Relic, Jaeger, and OpenTracing.

10. Infrastructure monitoring

This part of the DevOps roadmap entails the process of getting as much data as you can about your infrastructure in order to make informed operational decisions. 

With that in mind, it uses data generated by applications, servers, and network devices, among other elements, to track metrics such as hardware capacity, network throughput, and uptime. This information, in turn, helps enhance efficiency and resolve errors by letting you know which areas need a little love and attention. 

Some good tools for infrastructure monitoring are: 

  • Grafana
  • Prometheus
  • Zabbix 
  • Nagios
  • Datadog

11. Cloud designs pattern

This pattern helps you build scalable, reliable, and secure applications in the cloud. But, to do this, you need to be familiar with one or several cloud design patterns. We think some of the most important are:

  • Event sourcing.
  • Ambassador
  • CQRS
  • Gateway aggregation
  • Compute resource consolidation
  • External Config Store
  • Anti-corruption layer
  • Pipes and filters
  • Gateway Aggregation
  • Gateway offloading
  • Gateway routing
  • Sidecar

12. Logs management

Logs help you list events that take system and look into the details. Thus, log monitoring will help you, the budding DevOps engineer, improve services and processes, prevent vulnerabilities, and identify bottlenecks. 

Some of the tools you’ll use are: 

  • Splunk 
  • Elastic stack
  • Graylog 
  • Papertrail

13. Cloud providers and service packages 

As we’ve established, cloud technology is something you need to be familiar with as a DevOps engineer. Moreover, you need to understand the benefits and peculiarities of each cloud provider to allow your organization to make informed choices. Some o the most popular, like Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, Linode, and Alibaba cloud, are worth getting to know in-depth. 

Of course, be forewarned that these providers rarely work on a flat-fee basis. Instead, the pricing for these services tends to vary by your needed number of domains and the CPU, memory, and SSL certificates required.

14.  Other technologies

This comprises just a short list of things you’d do well to have some knowledge on your path towards becoming a DevOps engineer. 

  • Caching sheet
  • Reverse proxy
  • Forward proxy
  • Firewall
  • Load balancing
  • Caching server

In conclusion

The DevOps roadmap is meant to guide you on your path towards DevOps proficiency. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s static or set in stone; technologies change daily, and it’s up to you to stay consistently up-to-date with emerging tools and solutions. Another part of becoming a DevOps engineer is learning and adapting, and it’s perhaps the most important one to be good at the job.

But, if you follow the roadmap and you’ve already got a solid base in computer science, it should take you just six months to get from where you are to the beginning of your career as a DevOps engineer. 

Remember that you have to add this to your check lists of to-dos: 

  • Programming languages
  • OS concepts 
  • Terminals 
  • Networking & security
  • CI/CD tools
  • Web servers 
  • Infrastructure as code
  • Application monitoring
  • Infrastructure monitoring
  • Cloud designs pattern
  • Log management 
  • Cloud providers and service management 
  • Other technologies

Frequently Asked Questions 

What does a DevOps engineer do?

A DevOps engineer uses tools, processes, and methodologies to bridge the needs during the software development cycle, chrome developing, and coding to deployment, maintenance, and updates. 

How long does it take to become a DevOps engineer?

If you’ve already got experience with Linux and networking, and you follow the DevOps engineer roadmap, it takes around six months. 

What is CI/CD in DevOps?

It’s a DevOps best practice that leverages automation in app development, allowing to increase the rate at which apps are developed and deployed. CI/CD refers to continuous integration, delivery, and deployment. 

How is DevOps related to computer science?

To become a DevOps engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, math, or electronic engineering. 

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