How to Become a DevOps Manager

Learn what it takes to become a DevOps Manager in 2024, and how to start your journey.

How do I become a DevOps Manager?

Becoming a DevOps Manager is a journey that requires a blend of technical expertise, management skills, and a deep understanding of both software development and IT operations. This role is pivotal in fostering collaboration and communication between developers and IT professionals, streamlining the process of software delivery, and ensuring high system reliability. If you're committed to pursuing a career as a DevOps Manager, be prepared to cultivate a diverse skill set, gain extensive experience in various IT roles, and continuously adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of technology and software development practices.

Gain Relevant Education

Begin by acquiring a solid educational background with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, engineering, or a related field. This will provide you with the fundamental technical knowledge required for a career in DevOps. To further enhance your understanding, consider pursuing additional certifications in areas such as cloud computing, automation, or containerization technologies. These certifications can not only deepen your expertise but also showcase your dedication to the field to potential employers.

Develop Technical and Management Skills

A successful DevOps Manager must possess a strong technical skill set, including proficiency in scripting languages, experience with infrastructure as code, and familiarity with continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) tools. Equally important are management skills such as project management, team leadership, and strategic planning. Work on developing these competencies through hands-on experience, training, and by staying current with the latest DevOps trends and tools.

Gain Practical Experience in DevOps Roles

Hands-on experience is crucial in the DevOps field. Start by taking on roles that involve software development or IT operations. Seek opportunities to participate in cross-functional projects that allow you to understand and contribute to both sides of the DevOps equation. As you progress, aim for positions that involve automation, monitoring, and optimizing deployment processes, which are key responsibilities of a DevOps Manager.

Build Your Professional Network

Networking is essential in the tech industry. Connect with DevOps professionals through online forums, social media, and by attending industry conferences and meetups. Engage with the community by contributing to open-source projects or sharing your insights on DevOps practices. Building a strong professional network can lead to mentorship, collaboration opportunities, and valuable insights into the industry’s best practices.

Create a Portfolio of Your DevOps Work

Document your achievements and contributions in the field of DevOps by creating a portfolio. Include detailed descriptions of projects you've led or contributed to, emphasizing the challenges you faced, the solutions you implemented, and the results achieved. Highlight any improvements in efficiency, cost savings, or system reliability that your work facilitated. A well-crafted portfolio can be a powerful tool when applying for DevOps Manager positions.

Stay Informed and Continue Learning

The DevOps landscape is dynamic and rapidly changing. To stay relevant, continuously educate yourself on new methodologies, tools, and best practices. Subscribe to industry publications, follow thought leaders on social media, and participate in workshops and training sessions. An ongoing commitment to learning and improvement is essential for a DevOps Manager who aims to drive innovation and operational excellence within their organization.

Each step is a critical component in building a successful career as a DevOps Manager. The path requires a commitment to technical excellence, leadership development, and a passion for operational efficiency. For those who are dedicated to bridging the gap between development and operations, the role of a DevOps Manager offers a challenging and rewarding career.

Typical Requirements to Become a DevOps Manager

Embarking on a career as a DevOps Manager requires a blend of technical expertise, leadership skills, and practical experience. In the rapidly evolving tech landscape, companies seek individuals who can bridge the gap between software development and IT operations, ensuring seamless delivery of services. Understanding the prerequisites for this role is essential for those aiming to secure a position in this interdisciplinary and challenging field.

Educational Requirements and Academic Pathways

While there is no strict educational requirement for DevOps Managers, a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, engineering, or a related field is often preferred by employers. This education provides a solid technical foundation and understanding of the principles of software development and systems administration. Advanced degrees, such as a master's in computer science or a related field, can further enhance a candidate's knowledge and leadership capabilities. Certifications in cloud services (AWS, Azure, GCP), containerization (Docker, Kubernetes), and DevOps practices (CI/CD, IaC) are highly regarded and can demonstrate specialized expertise.

Building Experience in DevOps

Experience is paramount in the DevOps field. Aspiring DevOps Managers typically begin their careers in positions such as Systems Administrator, Software Developer, or in a support role within IT operations. Progressing through roles that offer exposure to both development and operations is crucial for gaining the holistic perspective required of a DevOps Manager. Experience with automation tools, scripting, deployment pipelines, and infrastructure management is essential. Participation in real-world projects that involve scaling systems, ensuring high availability, and implementing continuous integration and delivery can provide invaluable hands-on experience.

Key Skills for Aspiring DevOps Managers

DevOps Managers must possess a unique set of skills that encompass both technical and managerial aspects. Technical skills in coding, system administration, and familiarity with tools like Jenkins, Git, and Ansible are fundamental. Equally important are soft skills such as leadership, communication, and collaboration, as DevOps Managers often lead cross-functional teams and must effectively communicate with both technical staff and business stakeholders. Problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects are also key competencies. A strong understanding of Agile methodologies and project management practices further contributes to a DevOps Manager's skill set.

Additional Qualifications for a Competitive Edge

To stand out in the field of DevOps, additional qualifications can be a differentiator. A deep appreciation for automation and a passion for streamlining processes are traits that align well with DevOps principles. Experience with monitoring and analytics tools, security best practices (DevSecOps), and database management can also provide an edge. Continuous learning through workshops, webinars, and industry conferences, as well as active participation in DevOps communities and forums, can keep candidates up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Leadership training and experience with change management can also be beneficial, as DevOps often involves cultural shifts within an organization.

Understanding these requirements is a vital first step for anyone aspiring to become a DevOps Manager. With the right mix of education, experience, and skills, candidates can position themselves as valuable assets in the evolving field of DevOps, ready to take on the challenges of managing teams and processes that drive the delivery of high-quality software products.

Alternative Ways to Start a DevOps Manager Career

The journey to becoming a DevOps Manager is as dynamic and evolving as the field of DevOps itself. It's a role that sits at the crossroads of software development and operations, requiring a blend of technical prowess, leadership, and a continuous improvement mindset. Recognizing that the traditional career ladder isn't the only way to reach this position, it's crucial to consider the myriad of alternative paths that can lead to a successful career in DevOps management. These paths can be especially valuable for those who may face barriers to conventional routes or who wish to capitalize on their distinct experiences and competencies.

Transitioning from Systems Administration or Support

Individuals with a background in systems administration or technical support possess a strong foundation in managing and troubleshooting IT infrastructure. By embracing the culture of automation, continuous integration, and continuous deployment that defines DevOps, these professionals can transition into DevOps roles. This can involve upskilling in areas such as infrastructure as code, configuration management tools, and cloud services, as well as actively participating in DevOps initiatives within their current organization.

Building on Project Management Experience

Project managers with experience in overseeing software development or IT projects have a unique opportunity to move into DevOps management. Their skills in coordination, stakeholder communication, and timeline management are invaluable in a DevOps environment. To pivot into a DevOps career, they should focus on understanding DevOps practices and tools, fostering a culture of collaboration between development and operations teams, and gaining hands-on experience with automation and continuous delivery workflows.

Capitalizing on Quality Assurance Background

Professionals with a background in quality assurance (QA) are well-positioned to transition into DevOps due to their deep understanding of the software development lifecycle and emphasis on quality. By expanding their skill set to include DevOps methodologies and tools, they can play a pivotal role in implementing test automation, continuous integration, and ensuring that the infrastructure and applications are reliable and efficient.

Education and Certification Focused Approach

For those who prefer a structured learning path, education and certifications offer a clear way to enter the DevOps field. Pursuing degrees in computer science, information technology, or related disciplines can lay the groundwork for a DevOps career. Additionally, obtaining certifications such as AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, Docker Certified Associate, or Certified Kubernetes Administrator can showcase a commitment to mastering the technologies and practices central to DevOps.

Contributing to Open Source Projects

Engaging with open source projects can be a powerful way to gain practical DevOps experience. Contributors to these projects can learn and demonstrate skills in version control, automated testing, continuous integration, and deployment. This hands-on involvement also provides exposure to community-driven development and collaboration, which are key aspects of the DevOps culture.

These alternative pathways underscore the diverse entry points into a career as a DevOps Manager. They illustrate that with a strategic combination of skills, experience, and a passion for innovation and efficiency, there are numerous ways to forge a successful path in the ever-growing field of DevOps.

How to Break into the Industry as a DevOps Manager - Next Steps

Master the Fundamentals of Software Development: Before you can manage a DevOps team, you need a solid understanding of software development practices. Aspiring DevOps Managers should be proficient in coding, version control systems, and software development life cycles. This foundational knowledge is essential for effective communication with your team and for understanding the challenges they face.

Embrace a Culture of Continuous Improvement: DevOps is all about streamlining and automating processes to improve efficiency and reliability. Cultivate a mindset that seeks to continuously identify and implement improvements in workflows, toolchains, and systems. This proactive approach to optimization will be a key driver of your success as a DevOps Manager.

Develop Strong Leadership and People Management Skills: As a DevOps Manager, you'll need to lead teams and manage individuals with diverse skill sets. Focus on building leadership qualities such as empathy, clear communication, and the ability to inspire and motivate your team. Effective people management is critical for fostering a collaborative and productive environment.

Acquire Deep Knowledge of Infrastructure and Operations: Understanding the nuts and bolts of IT infrastructure, including servers, networks, and cloud services, is crucial. Gain hands-on experience with system administration, network configuration, and cloud platforms to ensure you can oversee the technical aspects of DevOps practices.

Stay Abreast of DevOps Trends and Tools: The DevOps field is constantly evolving, with new tools and methodologies emerging regularly. Keep yourself updated on the latest trends, best practices, and technologies in DevOps. This will not only enhance your skill set but also make you a valuable resource for your organization.

Build a Portfolio of Successful DevOps Initiatives: Practical experience is invaluable. Work on projects that allow you to implement DevOps principles and showcase your ability to improve development pipelines, infrastructure automation, and deployment strategies. A track record of successful initiatives will demonstrate your capability and value to potential employers.

Network with DevOps Professionals and Join Communities: Connect with other DevOps practitioners through meetups, conferences, and online forums. Participating in these communities can provide insights into best practices, offer opportunities for collaboration, and help you stay connected with industry developments. Networking can also lead to mentorship and job opportunities.

These tips are crafted to guide aspiring DevOps Managers on their journey to breaking into the Dev/Engineering field. Each piece of advice addresses a critical area of expertise and personal development that is necessary for leading a successful DevOps team.

FAQs about Becoming a DevOps Manager

How long does it take to become a DevOps Manager?

The journey to becoming a DevOps Manager is unique to each individual, typically ranging from 5 to 10 years. Starting with a foundation in software development or systems administration, one might spend several years honing technical skills and understanding of DevOps practices.

Progressing to a senior or lead role, gaining experience in automation, continuous integration, and delivery, as well as team management, is crucial. Aspiring managers should also cultivate soft skills like communication and leadership. The path is not linear, and factors such as industry demand, personal aptitude, and opportunities for advancement can all influence the timeline. Proactive learning and a commitment to staying abreast of evolving technologies will be key accelerators on the path to a DevOps Manager role.

Do you need a degree to become a DevOps Manager?

A college degree can be advantageous for a DevOps Manager role, offering a solid foundation in computer science principles and management practices. However, it's not an absolute necessity. Employers often prioritize hands-on experience with DevOps tools, automation, and systems architecture, along with leadership and communication skills.

Aspiring DevOps Managers can also demonstrate their expertise through industry certifications and practical achievements. The field values continuous learning and adaptability, so a commitment to staying abreast of technological advancements can be just as critical as formal education.

Can I become a DevOps Manager with no experience?

Becoming a DevOps Manager without prior experience is a steep climb, but it's not out of reach. DevOps emphasizes collaboration, automation, and integration, requiring technical acumen and strong leadership skills. Start by gaining practical knowledge in software development and IT operations.

Engage in continuous learning through certifications, contribute to open-source projects, or take on relevant roles that expose you to DevOps practices. Cultivate leadership and communication skills by leading small teams or initiatives. Networking and mentorship can provide guidance and opportunities. With dedication to building a broad skill set, you can position yourself for a future DevOps Manager role.
Up Next

DevOps Manager Skills

Learn which skills will be essential for JOBs in 2024

Start Your DevOps Manager Career with Teal

Join our community of 150,000+ members and get tailored career guidance and support from us at every step.
Join Teal for Free
Job Description Keywords for Resumes