Creating a Strong DevOps Resume

Kelsey Loughman March 04, 2019

DevOps Collaboration
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Whether you’re a recent college graduate looking for your first entry-level DevOps engineer job or you have three or more years of experience, you always need to make sure your DevOps resume is polished. With how quickly the DevOps field grows and shifts, it’s important to keep up-to-date on the latest programming languages, tools and skills that DevOps hiring managers are looking for. Maintaining an up-to-date resume showing your technical abilities and how your projects have specifically driven development speed, reliability and business value will set you apart from the competition.

So, no matter where you are in your career, we built this guide to help you create or update your DevOps resume to reflect the skills and talents you’ll need to be successful in your DevOps journey. But, before we start creating the resume, we need to understand what DevOps managers will ask in an interview and the type of person they’re looking for.

What DevOps managers are looking for

The short answer is, it depends. DevOps isn’t a specific role – it’s a methodology for quickly building software and maintaining reliable services. So, flexibility and a willingness to learn new programming languages and skills are imperative traits for DevOps new hires. Managers need a team of malleable chameleons who have a wide breadth of knowledge across the entire software delivery and deployment lifecycle.

DevOps engineers should have a t-shaped personality and be able to take on new projects quickly. Whether your background before going into DevOps was closer to information technology or software development, you’ll need some level of expertise in both. Nobody expects one person to be an expert in everything from Docker to Java to Puppet, but understanding how these tools function together at a high level is necessary for a DevOps culture focused on collaboration and transparency.

A few months ago, we spoke with our Engineering Manager, Dan Hopkins, who mentioned these three things as requirements when he’s looking at hiring people for a DevOps-focused team:

  • Interviewee shows buy-in to your team and culture

  • Interviewee shows buy-in to your product

  • Interviewee shows technical excellence

Keep those three things in mind when designing your resume and the next time you walk into a DevOps job interview. Now, let’s take a peek at some common things you’ll see in DevOps job postings.

DevOps & The Incident Lifecycle

Essential DevOps engineer skills

In a recent post from Edureka, they actually show a couple of job descriptions for DevOps Engineers and some of the commonalities between the two. The skills for people on a DevOps-oriented team span across a wide range. So, it’s important to highlight the skills and tools you know well while showing that you understand many of the other tools and concepts in DevOps that you may not always be directly involved with.

Here’s a common list of topics that job listings for DevOps engineers typically include:

  • CI/CD tooling and implementation (CircleCI, Jenkins, etc.)

  • Cloud environments and tools (AWS, GCP, Azure and many of the specific services they provide)

  • Database administration experience (MySQL, PostgreSQL, NoSQL, etc.)

  • An understanding of Git and the importance of version control systems (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, etc.)

  • Scripting and shell programming expertise (Powershell, Bash, Python, Perl, Ruby, etc.)

  • Familiarity with container orchestration systems and microservices (Docker, Kubernetes, etc.)

  • Experience with server and/or application monitoring systems (Splunk, Nagios, New Relic, Prometheus, Amazon Cloudwatch, etc.)

  • Knowledge about configuration management and server automation (via Terraform, Ansible, Puppet, Chef, SaltStack, etc.)

Your resume should cater to these needs and help a hiring manager see your experience with these services. Highlight the topics that you’re most experienced with while being transparent about the other areas of DevOps that you’re looking to learn. Your resume will stand out if you can show a deep understanding of how everything fits together to create an agile delivery pipeline focused on customers and reliability.

Building your DevOps resume

Once you get into the nitty-gritty of building your resume, you’ll want to showcase your flexibility and ability to learn quickly. Also, any tangible metrics you can point to such as, “I helped reduce MTTA/MTTR by x% in one year,” or “doubled monthly deployment cadence from 10 to 20.” Anything you’ve done in the past to tangibly reduce costs, improve development speed or increase the reliability of your systems should be called out in your resume.

Engineering managers don’t just want to see a sample of the skills you have, they want to see how you’ve used these skills to drive process improvements and business value. Being an Ansible pro means absolutely nothing if you can’t leverage your knowledge to improve the environment your team works in. Make sure to emphasize the way you’ve helped improve collaboration, transparency and automation across your entire team.

If you have little to no DevOps experience and you’re looking for entry-level DevOps positions, focus on some of the projects you’ve executed in your spare time. Talk about the ways you’ve experimented with different programming languages or DevOps tools to express your curiosity and ability to learn new skills. Try building a simple application that you can point to as an example of your work and personalize this for the job you’re applying to as much as possible.

Conclusion

This template for a basic DevOps resume should help you get in the door and get the job of your dreams. Keep everything above in mind when writing your resume and remember these common DevOps philosophies and misconceptions when crafting the story you’ll be telling. DevOps is about continuously improving on what you know and learning more about what you don’t. Constantly striving to build a wider range of knowledge in IT operations and software development practices will make you a better DevOps Engineer and help you create and maintain your DevOps resume.

Learn all about the importance of DevOps-focused collaboration and transparency in software delivery and on-call incident management in our free guide, Why DevOps Matters. See how tightening the relationship between developers and IT can help you build more reliable services faster.

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