If you’re someone who wants to establish your credibility and value as a DevOps Engineer then this article is for you.
You will learn the ins and outs of DevOps, right from - what is DevOps, the roles of a DevOps engineer, career prospects, how to become a DevOps engineer and how to pass the AZ-400 exam. It’s a must-read if you’re a system administrator, project manager, or software developer looking to become a Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert and lead a Microsoft DevOps team or project. Let’s dive right in.
Do you know that the global DevOps market was valued at $7 Billion in 2021, and is expected to hit $26 Billion by 2027? That’s a CAGR of whooping 24.6%, making DevOps one of the hottest career choices for IT professionals. As more businesses move to the cloud, the demand for DevOps engineers is mounting with no signs of stopping.
Because of its dynamic nature, new DevOps tools keep coming into the market. No two companies have the same roles and responsibilities for a DevOps engineer. So, companies like to retain their DevOps engineer for good perks and compensation. And in return, DevOps engineers have to stay on top of industry trends and best practices to ensure they are ahead of the DevOps learning curve.
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Before we get into the meaning of DevOps, and the roles & responsibilities of a DevOps engineer, let’s remind ourselves that any app is built in two parts:
A DevOps expert bridges the gap between the programmers and the operations team, by automating and integrating software development and IT teams. He or she enables them to build, test, and release updates swiftly and reliably. So, DevOps experts are professionals with expert-level knowledge about agile methodology, continuous integration, and continuous deployment.
If you look at the DevOps official logo, it’s an infinite and continuous cycle of steps, including planning, coding, building, testing, release, deployment, operations, and monitoring. The DevOps engineer is the link between the developers and deployers. They work with the developers and engineers to oversee code releases.
The companies who are running their business online, their main goal is to get their code faster to their customers through something called the CICD pipeline, so that any piece of code can go to the customer with a single click of a button. DevOps engineers streamline delivery by optimizing practices, and improving communications, collaboration, and automation.
Azure DevOps is a Software as a Service by Microsoft, which provides a DevOps toolchain for developing and deploying software not just with its tools but its integration with a wide array of 3rd party tools such as Jira, Jenkins, Grades, etc.
Microsoft Azure owns a big chunk of the cloud market space due to its integrated suite of pipelines. Unlike AWS or GCP, Azure DevOps hasn't restricted itself to only deploying in Microsoft. This centralized and integrated approach has helped Microsoft a big chunk of the market.
If you check Google Trends, clearly Azure DevOps is more popular than AWS DevOps.
The roles and responsibilities of a DevOps engineer mostly go around creating the CICD process, wherein CICD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. So, if you are a DevOps engineer, it’s your responsibility to configure this pipeline for your application and ensure that the pipeline is continuous. improvements in the form of new features and bugs, get added all the time, which need to be deployed. So yes, being a Devops engineer, you can’t go a day without hearing about words such as ‘continuous’, and ‘pipeline’.
Depending on the status of the company in its CICD pipeline, as a DevOps engineer - you might find yourself planning, creating, or being a part of the pipeline. As a DevOps engineer, you should be able to think in the pipeline - how you can connect tools and make the code move from one side to the other not just effectively, but automatically, and continuously. You know there can be multiple paths from which the code can flow, and it’s your responsibility to decide the right path.
For example, a company might require you to have experience in Jenkins or SonarQube, or Github (acquired by Microsoft in 2018), or all of them, backed by a strong experience in a programming language such as Java. That’s a company that is looking for a candidate who can work on the continuous integration part.
Your typical day as a Devops might be spent writing infrastructure code and jobs that create the continuous integration and delivery pipeline that allows the application code to be continuously tested and processed and sent out to the end-user. The idea is to ensure that the users get their software and its updates reliably faster and automatically.
You’d have to work closely with developers to ensure that their code works with the infrastructure that you’re creating as a DevOps engineer. Also, to ensure this can be accomplished without downtime. Your work requires enabling seamless integrations with third parties; so you have to be comfortable working with certificates from other teams - both internal and external.
Being an AZ-400 certified makes you a front runner in securing a high-paying role as a DevOps engineer for companies moving and expanding on the cloud. Of course, you need to acquire an advanced and unique set of skill sets to get the job done. Here are the some of the key ones:
As a prerequisite, you have to clear either AZ-104, ie. the Certified Microsoft Azure Administrator exam, or the AZ-204 the Certified Microsoft Azure Developer exam. Then you just need to pass the AZ-400, the Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions exam to achieve the ultimate Microsoft Certified DevOps Engineer Expert Certification.
AZ-400 is an expert-level exam for professionals who want to learn to design and implement DevOps processes and practices for enterprises. AZ-400 is of 1000 marks and you need 700 at least to clear the exam. You are asked 40-60 questions in 3 hours. Most of these questions are multiple choices. Answer all the questions as there is no negative marking. The case study questions are there to judge your understanding of practical implementation. You might also get questions in the form of ‘fill in the block” code. As far as the examination fee is concerned, AZ-400 can cost you $165.
Let's go over some of these skills to give you an idea of the learning curve you have to go through to prepare for the AZ-400 exam. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will give you a birds-eye view of the AZ-400 curriculum:
The topic-wise weightage of the AZ-400 exam is as follows:
The answer is no, but it most definitely helps you attract better jobs and higher packages. Knowing scripting languages such as Python, Bash, or Ruby definately helps. A DevOps engineer isn’t someone who is programming the application, but you should know how the programmer codes the application, how the repository workflow works, how the application is configured, and the concepts of automated testing.
If you’re someone with an engineering mind and like to see things come together and work continuously like a machine, DevOps might be the perfect career for you. And while having a certification isn’t a mandatory requirement to get a DevOps job, it gives you a structured way of learning cloud and DevOps. Plus, having a certification under your belt will give you the much necessary confidence when appearing for a job interview. A prospective employer looking to hire an Azure DevOps Engineer would feel much more comfortable putting their bet on certified candidates, as compared to the ones who are not certified.
As far as exam preparation goes, one option is to prepare for the exam all by yourself with free content. You can do self-learning but taking out time in a disciplined manner to prepare for the AZ-400 exam can be challenging when you have a full-time job. That’s why companies around the world bank on Readynez’s proven exam preparation methodology to help their staff clear their AZ-400 with ease.
Whatever preparation approach you chose, remember to consistently check that you have your bases covered so you have access to the latest curriculum, practice tests, and mentors to guide you.
We hope this article helped you on your journey to becoming a Certified Devops Engineer, especially if you’re just getting started. If you are an individual and a company looking to start a DevOps project, reach out to us, our team is happy to understand your organization’s skilling requirements and create a learning path to help your staff earn the target certifications you need for your company's growth.
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