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From DevOps to Architect: How DevOps Bolstered my Architect Skill Set

From DevOps to Architect: How DevOps Bolstered my Architect Skill Set

Introduction

The pandemic has sped up cloud adoption, stimulating growing demand for DevOps engineers. Businesses require faster product delivery, accelerated innovation, and improved operational efficiency, leading to more frequent, product releases  and the ability to integrate users’ feedback to help shape a product’s development process. Organizations began to increasingly focus on product value and the DevOps specialists who could deliver.

But where to start and how to become a DevOps?

 

Forte Group’s cloud solution architect, Viachaslau Matsukevich, shared his experience on becoming a DevOps Engineer/Specialist, and the benefits of pursuing a DevOps career.

 

devops

Becoming proficient in DevOps is a great way to boost your career if you want to become an enterprise architect. DevOps educates you to use various tools and to perform in numerous roles, including as a developer, quality assurance (QA), site reliability (SREs), and many others. 

 

I believe DevOps is both a methodology and a role. From a methodology perspective, it’s an approach that unites the development (dev) and operational (ops) sides of the house and makes continuous software delivery possible.

«As a role, DevOps differs from team to team and from organization to organization. That means you have lots of freedom and potential to own a more significant part of the solution and gain more responsibility. With greater responsibility comes experience, upskilling, and job security.»

My path to becoming an Architect

I started my career as a system administrator and spent four years becoming the lead. To grow into DevOps, I began to learn by reading professional books about Linux, networks, automation, and more. I started implementing some practical DevOps configuration automation and monitoring tools in my work infrastructure. I went the extra mile and became proactive with those tools to build automation.

 

Once I felt ready, I interviewed for a DevOps systems engineer and was hired after the first interview. Working with DevOps, I accomplished continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) and infrastructure automation projects. 

 

My next move was to become a cloud solutions architect. I call this role “DevOps++.” I did many consulting engagements focusing on deploying cloud-native platforms and delivering Kubernetes training. I also earned certifications such as Google Professional Cloud Architect, Kubernetes Administrator, and Azure Solutions Architect Expert.

 

After two years, my experience and certifications helped me get an offer to become a solutions architect for a large organization. I learned new skills related to systems design, documentation, presenting, and overall IT solutions life cycles. It was a significant shift from the daily hands-on work on the command line to a role with client meetings, presentations, and design decisions.

How DevOps helps your architect career

DevOps played a significant role in my transition from hands-on work to creating informed design decisions. Here are four reasons why DevOps was so integral in my career progression.

1. Infrastructure experience

Part of the DevOps engineer’s responsibility is provisioning infrastructure for development, testing, production, and other environments. While doing that, I bumped into architectural design decisions daily. Good or bad, you can see them from the operator’s perspective. You might be asked to create and provision infrastructure from scratch for some projects. That’s common on small teams with a dedicated architect to plan infrastructure. In those cases, it likely becomes part of your DevOps role to “make it work” and then make it secure, reliable, highly available, and more. And that’s a valuable experience if you want to become an architect.

2. Communication

As a person who deploys environments and applications and works with both developers and operators, a DevOps engineer is the main point of contact when something goes wrong with any part of the solution. As a result, you may be able to participate in troubleshooting sessions, and getting t to the problem’s root cause, regardless of whether the application or the infrastructure was to blame. Good communication skills and a proactive approach are necessary when many parties are involved.

3. Early feedback

The DevOps role is generally needed from the early stages of the IT solution to set up infrastructure for test and development environments, create the first pipelines, and provide the necessary level of testing for automation and CI pipelines. It also helps you understand your IT solution’s weak points early on.

4. IT solutions knowledge

An architect covers many aspects of the IT solution. DevOps experience provides an advantage because it’s a role with broad responsibilities. On the one hand, the DevOps role understands how applications are developed, delivered, and updated. On the other hand, the part understands how IT solutions must be managed and operated once they go live. The above creates a “big picture” view of the entire IT delivery process, which is vital for an architect.

Wrap up

My DevOps experience was a crucial part of becoming a solutions architect. It seems like a natural career path to grow from DevOps or systems engineer to an architectural role. If you want to become a solutions architect, DevOps experience can help by boosting your expertise in understanding, designing, and managing IT solutions.

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