Must-have Soft Skills for a DevOps Engineer  by@iliafeoktistov

Must-have Soft Skills for a DevOps Engineer

Soft skills are always a good investment, but for DevOps engineers, those are skills are vital to survive in balancing between teams, leading a digital transformation, or opening doors of new opportunities. These are the must-have soft skills every DevOps engineer should possess to make their work less stressful.
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Ilia Feoktistov

Head of DevOps at Bling


A DevOps Engineer is bridging the gap between Software Developers and Infrastructure: balance with different teams is always tough and means that they must have both solid hard and soft skills. While Engineering jobs are in high demand, and with good reason, a talented engineer can make or break a company. However, what does it take to be an excellent engineer? It takes more than just technical skills. It also takes interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and creativity - soft skills that are overlooked or not taught at all.

These are the must-have soft skills every DevOps engineer should possess to make their work less stressful.


  1. Patience

When working in a fast-paced environment, it is easy to lose patience with things you cannot control. However, you must learn to work within the team and resolve conflicts. Not everyone is going to agree, and that is fine. But remember to take the time to explain your point of view. Try to create a safe environment where you can air your grievances.

Even if the other person is wrong, you must learn to disagree without holding a grudge. Patience is an essential soft skill, especially for the development team, as they do not always have the time to sit around and complain about the work they are being asked to do.


  1. Mindfulness

Therefore, every individual has to build up a thick skin to handle issues that may arise, whether it be through customer complaints, an issue with another team, or a new upgrade from the developers.

You should be able to understand your own personality and how it affects your decisions. It’s also a good idea to find out how other people perceive you and use this to improve your development process.


  1. Listening

An engineering task may be straightforward on the surface, but when it’s broken down into steps, the path to success is often long and intricate. A good engineer will decipher the problem and ensure that their solution is the best solution possible.

They will communicate this to their fellow engineers without making it seem like a tough decision. Instead, they will convey the best solution and allow the team to make the best choice for themselves. A good engineer will listen to their team and gain their team’s trust by remaining positive and empathetic with their approach.


  1. Leadership

DevOps engineers are often involved in a digital transformation which could be tough for some teams to follow. During this period the engineer should show their presentational, leadership, and teaching skills as much as possible. Sharing knowledge through additional materials, external trainers and courses could be very beneficial on the long way to the results and will alleviate stress and help every member to be on the same page.


  1. Adaptability

DevOps is a dynamic field that requires quick-witted people who can grow in their careers. This may not be true for all engineering fields, but DevOps is one of the few, if not the only one, that requires continual learning. You can’t “know” the difference between Ruby, Python, or JavaScript and be a successful DevOps engineer. You must practice and experiment with different tools and code bases to keep up with the evolution of technology.


  1. Diplomacy

Developing tact and being diplomatic is extremely important for DevOps Engineers. When you are dealing with people, it is crucial to adapt to the needs of others. Unfortunately, this is a skill that many people think they possess but cannot put into practice.

To be successful in DevOps, you will need to communicate well, you will need to know how to make effective decisions, and you will need to use your diplomatic skills to solve problems. A DevOps Engineer with diplomacy skills will collaborate well with various teams and build consensus for projects.


  1. Teamwork

Developers typically come into the mix already knowing the basics of technology and how to write code. But it’s easy to feel out of place as the new guy or gal on the team, especially if you are new to software development. You don’t want to make a rookie mistake that will ruin your day.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, you need to learn how your team works. It’s vital that you learn about their workflow and how they interact with each other. You can be the expert at a technical concept, but you still have to create an efficient and functional team.


  1. Accountability

Engineering must be accountable to customers, stakeholders, and ultimately, the organization. Be honest and proactive, and do not be afraid to admit your mistakes and own up to them. Do not use “Oh, I’m new” as an excuse.

Every engineer should be comfortable owning up to their mistakes or screw-ups without letting the entire team down. Once an error is committed, you must let your colleagues know about it quickly and openly.

For example, imagine that you accidentally send the client the wrong version of the software containing essential security updates. The client will surely panic and will immediately notice the mistake. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to create awareness in the team about your current situation and apologize for the mistake.

Summary

Obviously, a DevOps engineer should think on their feet and have a broad knowledge of software engineering, system administration, and computer networks. In addition, write code in multiple languages and understand complex technical architectures used in modern web applications to fit in the industry. But the mix of technical and soft skills will open doors for your career opportunities and make your everyday work more pleasant and less stressful.


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