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Engineering Your IT DevOps Career Pathway


UPDATED: We updated this article on September 15, 2017, to reflect relevant changes to various certification curricula.

DevOps still is new enough that certifications are evolving and emerging. In time, the IT industry will make clear what certifications are most necessary and most highly valued, but until then, we have some suggestions for training and certification pathways to help you engineer a successful DevOps career.

IT Certification and Training Pathways

DevOps emerged as a response to the challenges of siloed Dev and IT departments, resulting in failures. Generally, the goal is to solve those issues, tear down those silo walls, and develop a shared sense of responsibility for the health of the end product.

The result of this approach is the merging of Dev and IT/Ops, thus the catchy name, “DevOps.”

CBT Nuggets trainer Shawn Powers hosted a Demystifying DevOps webinar in which he explored some of the finer points of the approach.

This new working model has also been facilitated by the emergence of the cloud and software-defined assets like servers and storage. With all this in mind, we can create a pathway that can help prepare you for a rich career in DevOps.

Formal Certifications to Pursue

    1. CompTIA Network+ Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: CompTIA Network+.
    2. CompTIA Cloud+
    3. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2012 Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Windows Server 2012.
      Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016 – Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Windows Server 2016.
    4. AWS: Technical Essentials
    5. LPI Linux LPIC-1 and CompTIA Linux+Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: CompTIA Linux+/LPIC-1.
    6. Microsoft MCSA: Cloud Platform – Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: MCSA: Cloud Platform.
    7. Cisco CCNA Cloud – Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: Cisco CCNA Cloud.
    8. AWS: Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate.
    9. Linux LPI LPIC-2Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: Linux LPI LPIC-2.
    10. AWS: Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate.
    11. Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – Learn more about the certification from our Roadmap to Success: MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.
    12. Google Cloud Platform Fundamentals*
    13. Google Compute Engine: Qualified Developer*

*Please note that Google recently revised its certification structure. New Google Cloud training will be available through CBT Nuggets soon!

We recommend that you begin with a basic foundation in networking and server technologies before diving into specific DevOps material. This foundation will help you better understand some of the basic infrastructure on which cloud technologies are built, as well as how DevOps and the cloud can help your organization.

CBT Nuggets trainer Ben Finkel recommends a breadth of training and certifications to keep ahead of the IT industry curve. “The cloud has practically changed the role of a sysadmin overnight,” he said. “Understanding how to work with and incorporate these technologies makes you more flexible and dynamic — just like your systems!”

Trainer Garth Schulte said, “If you’re going after the Microsoft certs, don’t stop at the MCSA level. Continue down the MCSE path and beyond to hone your skills further and pick up some advanced ninja-ry along the way. You can never know too much!”

Critical Training for a Successful DevOps Career

While you may or may not pursue these areas for formal certification (in fact, some of the topics below offer no certs), you should consider these areas critical to your success:

  1. Ansible Essentials
  2. Docker
  3. Chef Fundamentals
  4. Puppet Fundamentals
  5. PowerShell 4 Foundations
  6. AngularJS
  7. Java Essentials
  8. Python Programming
  9. ReactJS

New DevOps Professionals

So far, most IT pros get into DevOps by accident. But with some careful planning, you can engineer a career in DevOps that you will find fulfilling and gratifying.

Because DevOps blends Dev and IT/operations equally, you need to begin your career with the understanding that you will have to be committed to learning. As Ben Finkel said, “Keep abreast with all of the technology changes that surround your field. For example, Configuration Management with tools like Chef and Puppet are upending the way enterprises work with infrastructure.”

Ben recently discussed how to boost your career with DevOps in a webinar.

It will be essential to your success that you are intentional about constantly learning in DevOps. Because the field is so new, it will continue to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. Keep pace with that change by developing a passion for learning and training. Learn more about building good IT training habits from Keith Barker’s webinar.

Wrapping It Up

DevOps is fast-paced and ready to welcome IT pros with a passion for learning and the ability to adapt to rapid change. Use the certification and training paths we’ve described here to engineer a rewarding career in DevOps.


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