Is DevOps Certification Worth the Cost?

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Site Reliability Engineering

DevOps certification, a methodology focused on integration and collaboration between ‘Development’ and ‘Operations’, has become one of the dominating management styles in modern IT. Virtually every organization that competes via the creation, assessment, and release of code is at least tangentially aware of what constitutes a DevOps pipeline, as well as the biggest benefits of DevOps in general.

DevOps is utilized by software engineers, network and sysadmins, and many other key IT staff members. However, this can create confusion about exactly what it takes to become a DevOps professional. Anyone interested in developing DevOps skills or becoming a certified DevOps engineer may worry the amount of investment and experience required may make the benefits moot.

However, the truth is that studying DevOps is open to professionals of various backgrounds. There are no official prerequisites for getting started with the DevOps Foundation (DOFD) course, and more experienced learners can start at higher levels like DevOps Leader (DOL), DevSecOps Engineering (DSOE), or Site Reliability Engineering Foundation (SREF) without needing any pre-existing DevOps qualifications.

In other words, the DevOps certification path offers official certification options to beginners, experts, and specialists alike. Practitioners of all levels can utilize DevOps to create value for businesses, and gaining experience to match a qualification can greatly expand a candidate’s career opportunities.

When asking, “Is DevOps worth it?”, it’s important to remember why DevOps is used so widely. You can find potential DevOps team candidates throughout a standard IT operation, with backgrounds and familiarity with DevOps being almost irrelevant. Students will also find additional options available if they wish to specialize or qualify for senior DevOps engineering roles. DevOps certification can be worth it to a huge variety of candidates, not just their businesses.

But what exactly are the tangible benefits of DeOps? What goals and environments are required to justify the costs of DevOps engineer certification training? Let’s take a look.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a management style that aims to optimize the speed and drive of development without hindering the reliability of key operations work. This has become a serious problem in IT, with market expectations requiring faster and faster releases. Tasks like testing and quality assurance become bottlenecks, and vulnerable or incomplete code is often deployed for the sake of meeting continuous delivery demands.

To combat this, DevOps establishes cultures where automation tools are applied throughout software development, testing, and anywhere else where processes are needlessly manual and unreliable. At the same time, siloes are broken down, with teams sharing responsibilities, goals, and expertise. Continuous integration creates a shared perspective, allowing developers to learn how to avoid creating mistakes for operations to find and repair later on. Automated testing takes this a step further, with the majority of flaws being solved before they can develop.

One crucial point to remember about DevOps is just how organic it is. In its current form, DevOps benefits from a booming networking community, with organizations like the DevOps Institute being largely member-based. Because of this, new developments and challenges are often discussed and tackled in the open (with many even being discussed at yearly shows and conventions). This has helped keep DevOps practitioners on the cutting edge, with newer syllabuses like that of DevSecOps Engineering Foundation having resulted from this ongoing evolution.

So, what is DevOps? It is a widespread and highly beneficial methodology that offers a great deal of potential to organizations focused on releasing code or deploying software. DevOps practices such as infrastructure as code and continuous integration can be applied widely in a business. With DevOps positions available for students of varying levels of expertise, both businesses and practitioners can greatly benefit from studying the methodology.

So, what is the best way to get started?

The DevOps Certification Path

As we mentioned previously, the DevOps certification path is quite easy to navigate based on a candidate’s experience and desire for specialization. Uncertified DevOps thought leaders can pursue qualifications that match their abilities, while beginners can get started regardless of their background or existing skill set.

The courses we have previously mentioned belong to the DevOps certification path offered by the DevOps Institute, a global networking association that serves a leading role in the continuous evolution of DevOps. In addition to offering many of the best DevOps certification options on the market, the Institute also offers free DevOps training materials that not only examine the growth of the methodology, but also outline the many ways it can create benefits for businesses.

What is the Value of DevOps Certification for Individuals?

Whether or not the costs of DevOps certification are worth the resulting benefits will typically depend on the goals of the student(s) in question. Winning a respected DevOps qualification and accruing sufficient experience utilizing the methodology, whether as a DevOps pipeline team member, manager, or senior DevOps engineer, can make a candidate far more desirable. It can mark them for further responsibilities, as well as advanced DevOps career options.

The value of experience is certainly reflected in the range of salaries enjoyed by DevOps and SRE practitioners. According to PayScale and Neuvoo, the ranges for DevOps engineer salaries in the US and UK are as follows (2020):

  • DevOps engineer average salary: US $64,000 to over $154,000, UK £26,000 to over £90,000
  • DevSecOps engineer average salary: US $78,000 to over $205,000, UK £43,000 to over £95,000
  • Site reliability engineer average salary: US $18,525 to over $195,000, UK £33,000 to over £94,000

Remember, experience is vital when it comes to reaching higher payment levels. A senior DevOps engineer’s average salary, for example, would be worth a great deal more than a green practitioner’s.

What is the Value of DevOps Certification for Businesses?

The cost-benefit question of investing in DevOps certification training is somewhat more nuanced with businesses. There may not be clear and convenient benefits like prospective salary increases, and every company’s experience with DevOps is different.

Adopting the methodology can greatly improve the efficiency, direction, collaboration, and general atmosphere of a company’s IT pipelines. DevOps cultures establish permanent behavioral change, and students will often be highly invested in training and gaining experience.

Indeed, much of the value that comes from adopting DevOps is seen in the success of pipelines as a whole. DevSecOps creates value if security is automated and integrated as code throughout, preventing breaches or compliance failures. SRE is doing its job if engineers have a clear perspective of how to meet the requirements for delivering a reliable service to end-users. DevOps will be generating value by optimizing your business’s ability to competitively deliver market-leading code quickly, reliably, and with more than enough time to work on new ideas.

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