Lower costs, faster timelines, and increased efficiencies throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) have made a strong case for organizations to adopt DevOps methodology. In fact, the Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report found that 52% of respondents were already recruiting or planning to recruit tech professionals for their DevOps expertise.
Yet with this increased demand (and an ongoing shortage) comes increased difficulty recruiting for DevOps positions. The good news is that finding top talent is possible for most businesses. Here are few key tactics that will help your organization to attract and hire professionals with DevOps experience.
Define DevOps for Your Business
As with most sweeping IT terminology, the definition of DevOps varies across organizations. There’s consensus about developers and IT operations professionals collaborating and thinking in more holistic ways, but how those responsibilities play out differs from one organization to the next.
Some organizations see DevOps as a mastery of specific toolsets (Jenkins, Puppet, Chef, Kubernetes services, etc.) while others see it as a new mindset, where the divisions between roles are permeable or at least diffused. Wherever your business exists along this spectrum, make sure that you are setting out to hire people who align with your in-house perception of DevOps. Otherwise, you might hire someone who does not help you to implement your vision of DevOps methodology.
Search for Essential Tech and Soft Skills
Even if your organization does prioritize technology within your definition of DevOps, it’s not uncommon for specific tools to disproportionately eclipse the fundaments in the decision-making process. Some stakeholders imagine that a specific toolset is what makes or breaks their next DevOps hire.
However, that thinking often encourages organizations to overlook otherwise exceptional people. As long as your target candidate understands a sampling of the technologies used across each link in the DevOps toolchain and possesses the right soft skills, then that person will likely be able to adapt to whichever stack you currently have in place.
Here’s a sample of the core skills and qualities every DevOps professional should have:
- Automation – Anyone juggling development and operations tasks needs to wear lots of different hats. As a result, there will be certain manual processes that, because of their routine or repetitive nature, will be better off automated to free-up time for more mentally demanding endeavors. Whether they are using robotic process automation (RPA) or more sophisticated machine learning tools, DevOps professionals should have the skillset to automate what is better done by machines.
- CI/CD Experience – With their involvement in the full SDLC, it’s essential for your DevOps workforce to maintain momentum of projects and ensure each release or code iteration blends with ongoing development lifecycle processes. With continuous integration and continuous delivery, any DevOps team member can implement better version control and minimize the effort in deploying new code while maintaining your high standards.
- Creativity – Since DevOps is meant to be a true interdisciplinary type position, it requires multifaceted thinking. The best candidates can approach problems from various angles, not overlooking the implications for coding, infrastructure, or anything in between. Those people who get caught up in a siloed mentality then struggle to unlock the full collaborative potential of DevOps.
- Ownership – This is a quality that we believe is essential for any employee, but is of paramount importance for DevOps. The right candidate should treat your business as their own, thinking holistically to achieve results as part of your DevOps team. If there is an area for improvement, no matter which part of the organization it’s in, a candidate should be willing to speak out and call out the inefficiency.
In fact, the relative newness of DevOps means that some senior-level professionals with DevOps equivalent skills might not advertise themselves as DevOps professionals. If a candidate has some combination of NOC and coding/scripting experience, then you can guarantee that person will be able to handle the specific DevOps situations.
Source from the Right Places
The best candidates aren’t always overtly searching for jobs, and those that are tend to get snatched up in a very short period of time. Rather than returning to the same talent pool as everyone else, resourceful organizations find ponds with less competition that haven’t been overfished. If you are looking to diversify your sourcing strategies, be sure to include any of the following talent destinations:
- GitHub – This is a classic resource for any organization. The Git repository of individual candidates and their interactions with their peers in the DevOps space or the larger IT community show two key points: technical expertise and willingness to collaborate. The second part is absolutely essential if you want to build a team with an innate commitment to continuous improvements.
- /rDevOps – Though LinkedIn groups have been useful in the past to source candidates, they are a destination for plenty of recruiters and organizations. For those organizations that want to go one layer removed from typical candidate sources, the DevOps subreddit is a great destination. Professionals often go there to discuss their challenges or even unwind with their peers. Plus, the fact that they also use reddit for socializing and entertainment means they’re likely on this social media platform more often than LinkedIn.
- Use your networks – When we’re recruiting for DevOps talent, our recruiters not only go to the typical source, but we also leverage the networks of the consultants working through our DevOps consulting services. There’s an early hurdle when developing trust that you don’t have to jump when a candidate is recommended your company.
Ask the Right Interview Questions
You’ve found interesting prospects, but are they too good to be true? Well-crafted interviews help you to screen compatible candidates, but there’s more to this stage than just testing their comprehension of technical jargon. In fact, the best DevOps talent should value clear communication, favoring mutual understanding more than the sophistication of their language. These questions do a better job of determining whether or not someone lives up to the ethos of DevOps methodology:
- How have you collaborated with interdisciplinary groups? What were the results? – As a marriage of different disciplines, DevOps requires workers to reach out and work together with those around them. The best talent not only can articulate how they have used their varied knowledge to bridge the technical gap, but explain the overall ROI for their previous or current organizations.
- How have you communicated complex ideas to non-technical people? – It’s important to be able for them to translate issues and practices into language that non-technical folks can understand. In general, businesses perform at a higher level when team members can communicate using terminology that suits the right audience and the right situation.
Accelerate the Hiring Process
With the surging growth of DevOps competition and the rapid turnover of active candidates on the market, it’s important for your organization to hire with urgency. Often, this translates to identifying bottlenecks in the process and removing those barriers to speed.
- Determine who has the final say – One of the most common hiring obstacles is that there are too many cooks in the kitchen. If candidates need to be approved by successive members of your leadership team, they might vanish before you can make the final call. It’s better to select one or two decision makers, people who really know the position and what’s required of prospects, and cut out the hierarchy. That way, you can move faster and avoid top talent getting scooped up by the competition.
- Enhance the verification process – You want to double-check the skills of candidates without taking up lots of time? Work with a partner that is familiar and first-rate when it comes to the verification process. At Capstone IT, we use a combination of technical assessments, as well as the expertise of our DevOps team, to ensure that the people we provide exhibit the highest levels of expertise for the challenges you’re facing.
Want help recruiting for DevOps positions? Our experienced recruiters have placed plenty of DevOps talent and know what to look for to find people who can empower you to overcome your critical business issues.