If you need some optimism to brighten your DevOps search, don’t crack open a new skills report that describes the ideal candidate. The DevOps Institute reports the role is a hybrid job, one that combines skill sets that never used to be found in the same position. In this case, that means having deep technical skill as well as being able to collaborate and communicate at a high level.

In “Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report,” the DevOps Institute found that the top three must-have skill categories in 2020 are:

  • Process skills and knowledge
  • Automation skills
  • Human skills

At this stage in the digital transformation, DevOps leaders must have a holistic view and understanding of issues faced by Dev, Ops, and the possibilities of automation.

Hiring is still the number one challenge for tech and HR leaders. Fifty-eight percent of respondents in the DevOps Institute survey said that finding the right person is difficult and 48% say it’s also hard to hold on to people once they are hired.

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF)

The DevOps Institute describes the ideal DevOps leader as a person who has a combination of the 4-Es: experience and expertise, exploration and execution. This “E-Shaped” DevOps Human has experience in these three sets:

  • Three horizontal skill categories including automation skills, functional knowledge skills and technical skills
  • Process and framework skills, a vertical skillset which focuses on flow and understanding of different practices and methods such as scrum, agile development and value stream mapping
  • A vertical skill category focused on human skills such as collaboration and interpersonal skills.

The DevOps Institute talked with 1,200 IT professionals to determine which skill sets are critical to the DevOps role and digital transformation initiatives in general.

Transforming IT roles is a challenge

More than 50% of respondents said the transformation to the DevOps role is very difficult. Managing the people, processes,and technologies necessary for a DevOps transformation are equally challenging. This shift is a fundamental change in the traditional structure of IT. This kind of change can be threatening for established departments and team members who are comfortable with the status quo.

There is a significant upskilling gap

One reason it’s so hard to find DevOps candidates is because the pipeline is thin. Most companies don’t have formal cross training efforts in place, so chances are low that an IT operations person will have the chance to learn security practices. Interpersonal skills can be taught but opportunities to do so at work are few. The 2020 Skills Report reflected this lack with 38% of respondents saying their companies had no upskilling programs. Twenty-one percent said their organizations were working on one. The good news is that 31% of respondents said there was a formal upskilling program in place.

Technical skills are taught in school, but leadership and interpersonal skills are not. IT leaders should push for this kind of training to start building the pipeline for new leaders.

DevOps Institute is a learning hub connecting IT practitioners, education partners, consultants, talent acquisition and business executives.

The DevOps Institute talked to 1,200 engineer to define the right skill set for this new IT position and found that human skills are just as important as tech skills.
Image: DevOps Institute