7 must-have skills for enterprise DevOps practitioners

DevOps recruiting is on the rise, and tech professionals must master these skills to work in the field, according to the DevOps Institute.

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Enterprises have largely shifted their thinking from "What is DevOps?" to "How do we do DevOps?", but a lack of skills and talent in this area remain a major barrier to adoption, according to a Monday report from the DevOps Institute.

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The 1,600 C-level executives, managers, and individual DevOps practitioners surveyed described a need for well-rounded "T-shaped" professionals, the report found. T-shaped individuals have both depth of specific knowledge (the deep stem of the T) along with a wide range of general knowledge (the general top of the T). The need for these professionals is being driven by increasing requirements for speed, agility, and quality software from the business, according to the report.

SEE: IT leader's guide to making DevOps work (Tech Pro Research)

"DevOps Institute is thrilled to share the research findings that will help businesses and the IT community understand the requisite skills IT practitioners need to meet the growing demand for T-shaped professionals," said Jayne Groll, CEO of DevOps Institute. "By identifying skill sets needed to advance the human side of DevOps, we can nurture the development of the T-shaped professional that is being driven by the requirement for speed, agility and quality software from the business."

Automation, process, and soft skills were the top three most important skills categories, according to the report. Soft skills—including collaboration and cooperation, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, and sharing and knowledge transfer—are equally important as technical skills to DevOps practitioners, highlighting the need for well-rounded candidates in this field.

"The reality of the DevOps world is one that is frequently changing," Erin Lovern, director of global talent acquisition at CloudBees, said in the report. "These engineers are continually challenged by new techs, different problems, new dynamics within the projects and programs. This requires agile, curious and dynamic people."

Here are the top seven must-have skills businesses need DevOps practitioners to have, according to the report:

1. Automation skills

Must have: 57%

Nice to have: 39%

Optional: 4%

2. Process skills and knowledge

Must have: 55%

Nice to have: 42%

Optional: 3%

3. Soft skills

Must have: 53%

Nice to have: 42%

Optional: 5%

4. Functional knowledge

Must have: 42%

Nice to have: 52%

Optional: 6%

5. Specific automation

Must have: 28%

Nice to have: 57%

Optional: 15%

6. Business skills

Must have: 26%

Nice to have: 53%

Optional: 21%

7. Specific certifications

Must have: 15%

Nice to have: 49%

Optional: 36%

To learn more about how to become a DevOps engineer, check out this TechRepublic cheat sheet.

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By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.