DevOps architect vs. engineer: What’s the difference?
DevOps is a critical piece of any strategy for optimizing resources and costs while ensuring a quality user experience. Like software development, the work of DevOps is naturally divided into the roles of architect and engineer.
What’s the difference between DevOps architects and DevOps engineers? And how do you prepare for one role versus the other?
What does a DevOps architect do?
In both DevOps and software development, an architect creates the framework that an engineer executes and fills. The role of the architect is more conceptual and of a higher level, and is more related to general software and business objectives. Architects need to understand capabilities and limitations.
Meanwhile, the role of engineer is related to execution and implementation. There are similarities in duties and qualifications for both architect and engineer roles applied to DevOps and software development.
Engineers and architects in the cloud
A critical area for both DevOps architects and engineers is their familiarity and experience with cloud computing. Businesses use hybrid cloud and multi-cloud technology for application deployment, and cloud skills are scarce.
Development teams have long needed to understand cloud development and experience in cloud techniques, such as microservices and functional computing. But companies have recently realized that operations specialists and DevOps architects and engineers must also be familiar with the cloud.
Skills and experience
Beyond the cloud, the education and experience that DevOps architects and engineers need varies less in terms of themes and technologies than in the roles they play.
DevOps architects need to consider both business requirements and IT capabilities, as they dictate how software components are allocated to resources and how operating processes optimize resources while controlling and supporting costs. to business goals. Architects typically define the development pipeline to ensure that software development flows match operational testing and deployment goals. In addition, they typically select the tools associated with deployment and scale, both DevOps tools and container orchestration, as appropriate. They are responsible for framing the model of hosting and deployment of applications under their control.
The educational requirements of DevOps architects are similar to those of business architects or software architects; most companies prefer computer training, but the educational approach should include server management courses, networking, and software operations rather than programming. While cloud certification may not be required for DevOps architects, it is useful and desirable to have certification for multiple public clouds.
In terms of experience, DevOps architects should have some experience as DevOps engineers and be familiar with the right tools. Almost all companies want a public cloud experience and many prefer DevOps architects to have training in software development, preferably including development team management. For larger and more complex IT organizations, experience in software architecture or enterprise architecture is desirable.
According to the company’s CIOs, familiarity with containers and container orchestration, i.e. Docker and Kubernetes, is becoming increasingly important to DevOps architects. Familiarity with service mesh technology is also a growing requirement, as more companies use microservices, especially in the cloud.
Most companies agree that DevOps engineers should have some training in computer and software development, as well as training in servers, data centers, and network operations. Virtual networking training is becoming more and more important, according to the companies that depend on DevOps, and perhaps the most difficult skill to obtain.
Certifications are becoming increasingly important to DevOps engineers, and the breadth of certification options is as important as the depth. Companies are looking for the best tools and techniques and want people with extensive training to adapt to the choices they make.
The job of a DevOps engineer varies depending on the relationship between the development and operations of a particular company. In some companies, DevOps engineers work closely with development teams at all stages of development and therefore need to have some understanding of programming and operations.
In others, coordination between development and operations is more likely to occur between software architects and DevOps architects, in which case the activities of the DevOps engineer will be more limited to performing the framework of operations established by the architect’s work. software.
The most obvious requirement for DevOps engineers is a good understanding of GitOps, development channels, and CI / CD. The more complex the development and deployment cycle, the more likely it is that DevOps engineers will be equal to software developers in maintaining versions, managing tests, and transitioning from test to deployment.
Choose between architects and engineers
What specific DevOps roles does an organization need? First, it is increasingly unlikely that any company can do without a DevOps team; only those with fairly simple or static application bases can afford not to have them. Companies that rely on third-party software and have minimal in-house development should have both architects and DevOps engineers, as well as companies with dynamic and complex application development projects.
If there is a DevOps team, you need DevOps engineers. Less complex deployments, especially those with established operations and infrastructure tools and practices, can create a team with only DevOps engineers. As a general rule, organizations need a DevOps architect if they have software or business architects.
One last consideration is the retention of DevOps specialists. While most companies realize that they have to pay competitive salaries, as do software development equivalents, many neglect the issue of career path. Without one, retaining key personnel will be difficult, which can jeopardize the entire framework of applications and operations. DevOps senior professionals tend to be good IT managers, even down to the CIO level.