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Hire the Best Offshore DevOps Engineers

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How to Hire the Best DevOps Engineers

Before hiring DevOps engineers, it’s best for employers to have a good background or understanding of the meaning of DevOps, its importance to developing a software product or service, and the benefits that businesses can gain when you hire skilled DevOps engineers.

What is DevOps? Derived from the terms “Development” and “Operations”, DevOps is a set of practices, philosophies, and tools in software development that aims to reduce the systems development life cycle to increase an organisation’s ability to produce products, features, fixes, or updates at a higher rate while ensuring high quality. This speed allows businesses to efficiently serve customers and effectively compete in the market.

In the DevOps model, operations and development teams are no longer ‘siloed’. Sometimes, teams are merged into one unified team. This unified team already works on the entire lifecycle of an application, from its development and test until its deployment and operations. As such, the team’s members are not limited to one specific function and all aim to collaborate with each other.

In other DevOps models, the QA and security teams may also closely work with the development and operations and all throughout the project or application lifecycle. When a DevOps team is mainly focused on security, this is sometimes referred to as DevSecOps.

DevOps teams use tools and practices to automate manual and slow processes in systems or applications. Using tech stacks and tools, DevOps teams quickly and safely operate and improve applications.

For the past few years, DevOps has been consistently rising in demand and has since shaped the software industry. According to a study by Grand View Research, Inc., the global DevOps market is projected to reach USD 12.85 billion USD by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% during this period.

The following will be the main factors for driving DevOps market growth:

  • Digitalisation of enterprises for more efficient and automated business processes
  • Adoption of current and new cloud technologies
  • Increasing implementation of agile frameworks
  • Demand for better collaboration among IT teams to improve operational efficiency

The role of a DevOps engineer is unique in that it bridges the gap between a software development team and an IT operation. While DevOps engineers often work independently, they are also required to collaborate with both teams and other internal members of the project (e.g. QC personnel, project manager) as they are responsible for creating workflow processes, scaling cloud programs, among many others, to efficiently improve the application’s processes.

Why should you hire a DevOps Engineer?

Software has evolved from merely supporting a business to becoming an integral part of business operations. Companies use software to increase productivity by digitally transforming parts of the value chain such as communications, operations, and logistics. In addition, companies use online applications or software to attract and engage potential and current customers via any form of gadget. As the tech industry continues to grow, companies must also transform and improve how they create and deliver software.

From startups to large tech firms, DevOps tools are also increasingly being used by companies to streamline workflows, boost productivity, lessen the time to market, produce high-quality software, and reduce costs on software development, delivery, and maintenance.

Businesses that employ DevOps engineers into their teams can reap the following benefits:

Speed
DevOps engineers optimise processes and enable developers and operations teams to move at a high velocity. As a result, your development and operations team can quickly produce and deliver products or services, new features, updates and fixes for customers, easily adapt to market changes, and become more efficient at producing results.

Reliability
Hiring DevOps engineers helps secure and verify the quality of infrastructure changes and quality updates to be able to deliver at a faster pace while retaining a good positive experience for the end users.

Scale
A DevOps engineer helps businesses to efficiently manage and changing or complex systems with reduced risks.

Effective Collaboration
A DevOps cultural model places importance on values such as accountability and ownership. These values help build effective developers and operations teams as they work closely together, combine their workflow, and share responsibilities. As a result, this saves time and lessens inefficiencies.

Security
Adopting a DevOps model allows developers and operations teams to quickly produce applications or deploy updates without sacrificing security through automated compliance policies, configuration management techniques, and fine-grained tools.

What technical skills should you look for when hiring DevOps Engineers?

When hiring DevOps engineers, recruiters and employers must evaluate a candidate’s technical skills and the candidate’s compatibility with the given responsibility. Aside from a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or any related field, here are the basic and ideal technical skills employers and recruiters should look for:

Broad Knowledge of tools and technologies
While new tools and technologies continue to emerge in the field of DevOps, skilled DevOps engineers generally have a broad knowledge and understanding of the following areas:

  • Programming Language (e.g. Python, Scala, Ruby, C, Go)
  • Source Control (e.g. Git, Svn, VSTS, Bitbucket)
  • Continuous integration (e.g. Bamboo, Jenkins, VSTS)
  • Container Concepts (e.g. LXD, Docker)
  • Infrastructure Automation (e.g. Chef, Puppet, Ansible)
  • Deployment Automation and Orchestration (e.g. Octopus Deploy, Jenkins, VSTS)
  • Cloud (e.g. AWS, Azure, OpenStack, Google Cloud)
  • Orchestration (e.g. Kubernetes, Swarm, Mesos)

Experience and expertise in security
Combining development and operations greatly optimises development and speed up code deployment, however, a faster cycle can be prone to security threats. As such, the ideal DevOps engineer must be knowledgeable of good security practices in order to write secure code. Companies that use DevSecOps know that it is best to build secure software right from the start.

For employers and recruiters, it is recommended to test your candidate’s knowledge and ability in security practices when it comes to DevOps. It is also preferable if the candidate had previous training or certification in cybersecurity.

Other preferable technical skills
Here are other technical skills that hiring managers look for when they hire skilled DevOps engineers.

  • Experience deploying code
  • Broad knowledge of software build cycles
  • Experience in software architecture
  • Knowledgeable with the basics of application programming
  • System design
  • Database management

The technical requirements above are just a basic guide when you hire DevOps engineers. This list can be as short or as exhaustive depending on the project specifications.

Are there other skills to consider when hiring a DevOps Engineer?

Aside from the technical requirements mentioned above, there are ‘soft skills’ that would greatly help recruiters and employers to determine skilled DevOps engineers from the rest.

Communication and Collaboration
Since the role of a DevOps engineer requires them to work with the development and operations team, as well as other key members of a project such as a project manager, exceptional communication and collaboration skills are crucial when hiring a DevOps engineer.

In fact, the DevOps culture itself highly values communication and collaboration which can be seen in DevOps’ methodology goals for improvement. As rapid deployment becomes increasingly common, communication and collaboration will challenge and change the way software businesses work. As such, it is wise to pay attention to how your teams or departments work and to select highly skilled individuals with strong communication and collaboration skills.

Willingness to Learn and Improve
In an ever-changing environment, a good DevOps candidate must be able to demonstrate their drive to improve their work and themselves. Aside from continuously studying industry trends, a DevOps candidate must also have a mind that is receptive to constructive feedback, always willing to admit mistakes and responsible enough to learn from it.

Curiosity
Great DevOps engineers should be highly inquisitive. To learn new things and keep up-to-date with the industry trends, a DevOps engineer must constantly ask questions and find answers to come up with great ideas and solutions. In addition to this curiosity, an ideal DevOps engineer must have a knack for challenges, always eager to solve problems as they arise.

What are the DevOps best practices?

Communication and Collaboration
Previously mentioned as the most important soft skill a DevOps candidate must possess, communication and collaboration are the core cultural aspects in DevOps. Using DevOps tooling and automation in the software delivery process creates collaboration by combining the development and operations’ responsibilities and workflows. In addition, teams set strong communication practices in terms of information sharing and facilitating communication by making use of project management and tracking tools and instant messaging, among others. This helps to quickly communicate information and to align all teams involved.

Continuous Integration
This is a practice in software development where a developer regularly combines code changes into a central repository. The goal of this practice is to find and solve bugs faster, improve the software quality, and reduce the time when validating and releasing new software updates.

Continuous Delivery
Continuous Delivery is a practice where changes in code are automatically built, tested, and prepared for production. It expands upon the practice of continuous integration by deploying all changes in code to testing and/or production environment after the build stage.

Monitoring and Logging
Monitoring, categorising, and analysing data and logs by applications and infrastructures allows organisations to see how an application and infrastructure performance impacts the end user’s experience. As services must be available at all times and as application updates increase, active monitoring and real-time data analysis can help organisations to proactively monitor their services.

Microservices
Microservices is a design approach enabling developers to create an application as a collection of small services. In addition, it allows the continuous deployment of large and complex applications and allows an organisation to evolve its tech stack.

Infrastructure as Code
It is the practice of managing and provisioning computer data centres using code and software development techniques. Developers and system administrators can programmatically interact with the infrastructure through the cloud’s API-driven model. Because they are made by code, developers can use the latest standardised patterns to quickly deploy infrastructures and servers.

How much is the usual rate for DevOps Engineers?

Here’s a quick table comparing the average annual local rates of DevOps engineers from four different countries. All salaries and hourly rates are based on PayScale and IT Jobs Watch.

  Average DevOps Engineer Annual Salary Average DevOps Engineer Hourly Rate
United Kingdom GBP 40,457 GBP 35
United States USD 91,347 USD 48.79
Canada CAD 74,155 CAD 25.43
Australia AUD 103,799 AUD 43.78

To further reduce costs on operations and recruitment, many companies, from startups to large tech firms, are utilising services offered by IT outsourcing providers.

At Cloud Employee, we understand the growing need for businesses to find alternative solutions to expand their operations. To make IT outsourcing in the UK and across the globe more accessible, we offer competitive industry rates for hiring the best offshore DevOps engineers in the fastest amount of time possible.

For a quick guide on outsourcing your software development, here’s a helpful blog on offshore developer rates from different outsourcing regions.

What interview techniques should you use to hire the best DevOps engineer?

When hiring skilled DevOps engineers, it’s important to remember that the goal of the interview is not to pose challenging tasks or problems, rather it is to gauge the candidate’s ability within a limited time.

As such, here are some recommended interview questions and techniques that you can ask or apply to determine the best DevOps candidate for you.

Ask them to describe the structure of their recent project
During the interview, ask candidates to describe their most recent project in detail. Allow them to illustrate their project on a paper or whiteboard, if needed. With this method, you can determine two things.

First, recruiters or hiring managers can immediately confirm the candidate’s expertise about the development process and their programming language. This also shows what the candidate can offer beyond the resume such as leadership skills. Candidates who discuss their project in detail demonstrate their level of involvement and commitment to the project.

Second, the exercise demonstrates how well a programmer can present a technical concept. Assess the presentation based on how understandable it is from a non-technical person’s point of view. In addition, keep an eye on non-verbal cues such as eye contact and hand-gestures to evaluate the candidate’s softs skills such as confidence and public speaking. If you are looking for a lead DevOps engineer, the ability to clearly communicate technical concepts to a non-technical person is a very important skill.

Conduct technical tests
Technical tests are highly recommended, yet very few companies actually have technical tests during their recruitment process. To fully assess what a DevOps engineer can do, let them take online programming tests. These technical tests can also give you an idea on the candidate’s level of critical thinking. Don’t just hire a candidate that knows how to code, rather, hire someone who knows how to solve.

However, if you can’t conduct a test, you can ask the candidate to show a sample code instead. With two or three sample codes (average 5-10 lines of code), you can already tell whether a developer knows what he or she is doing.

Here are a few sample challenges that you can ask your candidate to code.

Q: Can you configure a Git repository to run code sanity checking tools just before making commits and preventing it if the testing fails?

A: Code the following script.

#!/bin/sh
files=$(git diff –cached –name-only –diff-filter=ACM | grep ‘.go$’)
if [ -z files ]; then
exit 0
fi
unfmtd=$(gofmt -l $files)
if [ -z unfmtd ]; then
exit 0
fi
echo “Some .go files are not fmt’d”
exit 1

It allows you to check any .go file that is about to be committed to pass through the standard Go source code formatting tool gofmt. This script prevents it from being applied to the repository by exiting with a non-zero status.

Q: How do you squash last N commits into a single commit?

A: To write the new commit message from scratch, use the command:

git reset –soft HEAD~N &&
git commit

If you will edit or use existing commit messages, extract the messages and pass it to Git commit and use:

git reset –soft HEAD~N &&
git commit –edit -m”$(git log –format=%B –reverse .HEAD@{N})”

Q: Give and explain some basic Git commands.

A:
Command for configuring author name and email address to be used with the commits:

git config --global user.name “name”
git config --global user.email “E-mail”

Command for creating a new local repository:

Git init

Command for a remote server:

Git clone username@host:/path/to/repository

Command for adding one or more file to staging:

git add <Filename.>
Git add *

Command for commit changes to head:

git commit -m “Commit message”

How can Cloud Employee help you?

As the fastest-growing UK-managed IT offshore partner in the UK and abroad, Cloud Employee helps startups and large firms across industries to expand their operations and explore possibilities. We connect businesses in the UK, the US, and across the globe to skilled IT professionals from the Philippines. With Cloud Employee, hiring offshore DevOps engineers have become easier, efficient, and cost-effective.

To start hiring DevOps engineers with us, simply send us your staffing requirements such as the required technical skills and knowledge, years of experience, and other important job description. We then conduct a custom search for skilled and available DevOps engineers who match your requirements, and afterwards, we send you a shortlist of candidate CVs. From this list, you personally handpick the engineers you want to interview and invite for technical testing. You hire only the DevOps engineers you want at no recruitment fees.

As your reliable outsourcing partner, we take care of your DevOps engineer or team for you. We provide them with the hardware and software according to your specifications, as well as a high-speed internet connection here at our modern offices. Aside from these, we also take care of all other administrative and back-office tasks such as payroll, taxes, HR and general admin, so you can focus on developing your project and managing your team.

With Cloud Employee, you can hire DevOps engineers who are also skilled in other related technologies: Linux/Unix administration, shell scripting, Python, MySQL, MongoDB, NoSQL, nginx, Vagrant, VMWare, Amazon AWS, Bugzilla, JIRA, REST APIs, OpenStack, Git and Github, Jenkins, Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Cobbler, SaltStack, New Relic, Docker.

What is the dedicated hiring model?

The Dedicated Hiring Model seamlessly incorporates your dedicated offshore team with your in-house developers further reducing miscommunication and allowing the offshore DevOps team to become part of your project’s methodologies and infrastructure.

Due to its flexibility, it is considered the best engagement model. You or your in-house team can request tech talents, equipment and resources at any given time according to the project requirements. The dedicated hiring model allows in-house teams to easily scale up or scale down.

In addition, payment is made simpler and easier as you would only have to pay a single sum of money which already includes the offshore team member’s monthly salary and the outsourcing provider’s service fee.

Pros

  • Great for long-term projects with a constantly changing project scope and undefined specifications
  • Predictable budget despite an indefinite project scope
  • You will have full knowledge and control over the recruitment process, candidate selection, and management of their offshore team
  • Product quality can be fully monitored, assessed and assured
  • The offshore team gains a deeper understanding of the client’s objectives, goals, standards and expectations
  • The offshore team exclusively works for you

Cons

  • Can be impractical if little to no tasks are given for the outsourced team
  • Can be time-consuming for clients who have no time to work directly with their offshore DevOps engineers

The dedicated hiring model is great for businesses that:

  • Prefer to work with a dedicated DevOps team for their project
  • Would rather reduce expenses in terms of talent search and recruitment process
  • Require flexibility in a team’s workload and scalability especially during the project’s development

At Cloud Employee, your dedicated DevOps Engineer works exclusively for you at your preferred time zone. This means both of you can work together at the same time, thus reducing any communication issues and inconveniences. Your offshore DevOps engineer or team can also use your preferred tools, software, and standards, further making them an effective and efficient extension of your in-house team.

Combining the dedicated hiring model and Cloud Employee’s 20 years of experience in the IT outsourcing industry, our team came up with a business model truly unique and effective. Our business model has simplified the hiring process, made working practices flexible, and bridged the gap between both teams—all for a competitive industry rate. Thus, Cloud Employee believes our business model works better than IT outsourcing.

WHY HIRE OFFSHORE DEVOPS ENGINEERS WITH CLOUD EMPLOYEE

  • Access to the best tech talent in the Philippines
  • End-to-end Client Control from custom-recruitment to direct developer management
  • 100% Dedicated Developers working at the same time-zone
  • Full Client Support with our After Care Team
  • Savings of up to 65% or more

Testimonials

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  • "I’m very pleased with Emerlito. I understand that the tasks given is quite difficult as he is not used to the environment, but he is persistent to learn and it’s working well for Abacus. He is also contributing quite an idea to achieve the completion of the projects given to him."

    Matt Rogerson, Abacus Direct Limited
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