How to future-proof your DevOps career: top trends for SRE upskilling

8 mins

Are you a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) or DevOps specialist? If so, congratulations! You’...

Are you a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) or DevOps specialist? If so, congratulations! You’re in one of the most exciting, advancing tech areas right now and talent with your skill set is in high demand.

Technology specialist strongDM reported that the DevOps market exceeded $4bn in 2019 and is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than 20% between 2020 and 2026.

But being part of such an ever-evolving sector can be tough. You need to evolve with it. And one of the only ways to increase your market value is to continuously upskill. It’s about staying on top of the latest tech developments.

So, to help steer you in the right direction, here’s our lowdown on current SRE and DevOps market trends - the essential skills for propelling your tech career.

1) DevSecOps

With DevOps on the rise for a while now, it's only natural that DevSecOps follows suit. Afterall, security – and the ability to identify and fix weaknesses - is crucial to any software development process.

While still in its early stages, the potential for DevSecOps is huge. anticipates the global DevSecOps market will achieve a CAGR of 32.2% over the next few years. And additional revenue growth of $2.55bn in 2020 will escalate to $23.42bn in 2028.

It’s no surprise then that job listings for DevSecOps experts are climbing. To land one, specialist knowledge of compliance, cybersecurity threat investigation and vulnerability assessment is a must. But if you can add strong teamwork and communication skills you’re going to be in particularly high demand.

Other competencies that will help include things like SOC-2 Compliance, Security Chaos Engineering, and Identity and Access Management. And if you’re a whizz with Cloud Security, get ready for those job offers!


2) FinOps

If you want to stay ahead in DevOps and SRE, then Financial Operations (FinOps) is a great route to take. Sometimes also known as Cloud Financial Management or Cloud Optimisation, it’s a cultural, cross-functional practice bringing together multiple departments to forecast and manage cloud-related finances.

Most of today’s workplaces use cloud technology, and often several cloud services at once (think AWS, Azure, Google Cloud). Statistics shared by Techjury suggest that by 2024 enterprise cloud spending will make up 14% of global IT revenue and more than half of businesses will migrate their workloads to the cloud during 2022.

FinOps is therefore playing an important role in all kinds of organisations. Anyone who can take responsibility for a business’ cloud strategy – and advise on where savings can be made - is going to add enormous value.

Besides the IT knowledge required for this kind of role, soft skills like collaboration, communication and listening are essential. You’ll be analysing and reporting back to the business, as well as encouraging employees to follow best-practice – all with the goal of reducing costs.

If you’re a DevOps and SRE specialist who can help companies achieve maximum value for minimal spend, you’re going to be highly sought after.


3) Serverless Computing

More and more companies are realising the benefits of serverless computing. Having the ability to outsource infrastructure work to free up development teams (especially where there’s a high volume of requests) is resulting in increased productivity, simpler rollouts, and speedier system updates.

For all these reasons, serverless is on the rise. So, keeping your serverless knowledge up to date is essential if you’re in DevOps or Site Reliability Engineering. Vendors like AWS Lambda, EC2, CloudWatch, Cosmos DB, and Azure Functions are leading this space, so DevOps and SRE professionals with specific know-how of these are needed.


4) Cloud Native Infrastructure

Another DevOps area growing in popularity is Cloud Native Infrastructure (CNI). Providers like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) are helping businesses become more agile and safe than more traditional approaches to application deployment. It also allows businesses to be innovative and to build only what they need to create their product, saving time and improving efficiency.

According to Techjury, 57% of companies will transition to a cloud environment in 2022. And with benefits including improved disaster recovery plans, consolidated billing, and reduced costs, it’s easy to see why so many organisations are making the shift.

Expertise in Cloud Native Infrastructure is desirable right now and that won’t change any time soon.


5) Microservices Architecture

Modular architecture has become increasingly popular over the past few years. As microservices architecture becomes more advanced, people are moving away from monolithic architecture. Drawbacks include slow speed, size and scalability limitations, difficulties around continuous deployment and a lack of reliability. Monolithic applications also act as a barrier to adopting new technologies, meaning additional costs and time for businesses.

That’s why the concept of improving cloud solutions on multiple small servers, all working in sync, is catching on. And they’re perfect for companies looking to save on costs without forgoing storage capabilities.

If you have the knowledge to help businesses save money and perform better through developing microservices architecture, it’s going to stand you in great stead.


6) Automation

According to Nasdaq, by 2025 the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and automation will be equal. Fast paced organisations are relying heavily on automation, making DevOps and SRE professionals with specialist automation knowledge, particularly CI (Continuous Integration) and CD (Continuous Deployment), extremely employable.

Organisations want DevOps and SRE resource to be spent on long-term engineering projects, rather than operational work or ‘toil’. It’s DevOps and SRE experts with specific CI/CD capabilities who can implement new features and bug fixes to support continuous delivery.

Companies are crying out for individuals who can help them automate repetitive tasks or repairs, improve the quality and accuracy of software products, and eliminate human error.

As coder and blogger Scott Hanselman (Microsoft) says “The most powerful tool we have as developers is automation.”

If you have the kind of skillset to solve everyday business challenges using automation, get ready for those job interviews.


7) AI & ML

You’ll find AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) in all kinds of industries. AI’s CAGR is reported to be increasing by 38% and is projected to reach $1,581.7bn by 2030. From customer service, banking, retail, and transport, to healthcare, cybersecurity, and manufacturing – AI and ML are everywhere!

These methodologies can be used to automate many DevOps and SRE tasks. And if you work in the exciting sub-sector of AIOps or MLOps, you’ll be responsible for providing best practices, improving communication and efficiency, as well as speeding up delivery times. You’ll also help to reduce risks associated with changes to code and configurations through early detection of errors and anomalies.

With Forbes stating that AI software spend will top $125bn by 2025, AIOps and MLOps know-how will be highly valuable to lots of businesses.


8) Low Code Apps

Low code apps are already everywhere…but the list is still growing. Thanks to low code, the world of software development has been made accessible to even the most non-technical of users. Google App Maker, Wix, Weebly, WordPress and Squarespace are some of the best-known low code apps achieving success through providing intuitive, personalised platforms.

But it’s not just usability that’s making low code apps all the rage. We can add a shortage of developers into the mix too. US Labor statistics report that the global talent shortage amounted to 40 million in 2021. And estimate that it will reach 85.2 million by 2030.

It seems the demand for professionals who can create low code apps is here to stay.  If you’re in DevOps or Site Reliability Engineering, you won’t regret honing your low code skills.


9) Containerization

Data shows that the number of companies adopting containerisation is growing rapidly. A study, carried out in 2021 by statista, showed 19% of respondents were already using containerisation, but many more had plans for it to play a strategic role in their business in the near future.

Offering portability, agility, increased efficiencies and security, containerisation is now high on the agenda for lots of organisations and tools like Docker and Kubernetes are common. But as Arun Chandrasekaran, Distinguished Vice President Analyst at Gartner, pointed out, “Although there is growing interest and rapid adoption of containers, running them in production requires a steep learning curve due to technology immaturity and lack of operational know-how.”

So, DevOps or SRE specialists with skills in containerisation will be highly sought after.


10) GitOps

There are many reasons for the increased adoption of GitOps, but the three main benefits are transparency, collaboration, and auditing.

Weaveworks COO, Steve George, explains “GitOps takes the principles of DevOps and applies them in a specific sphere…to help significantly improve the way we operate cloud native software.”

A relatively new term and methodology, it’s estimated that around 10% of enterprises are already using GitOps in some way. And as DevOps continues to evolve, we predict that GitOps will become even more increasingly common as a way for companies to manage infrastructure and applications.

Expanding your GitOps knowledge is sure-fire way to ensure you’re leading the way in DevOps/SRE.


11) Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

If you’re serious about advancing your DevOps or SRE career, you may want to get into infrastructure as code. It’s the process of managing computer hardware and software resources using code rather than more manual processes. And the demand for it is increasing as businesses become more reliant on cloud-based resources and infrastructure. 

Think about investing in further training in some of the most popular tools. Consider developing expertise in Terraform, Ansible, AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager, Google Cloud Deployment Manager, Chef, Puppet or SaltStack to really stand out from the crowd! 

So, there you have it. Our guide to the top DevOps and SRE trends in 2022. DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering never stand still – so why should you?

Ready to take the next step in your DevOps and SRE career? Get in touch with our expert team. Or take a look at our latest jobs to see what employers are looking for.

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