Diving into DevOps

Need for DevOps Talent Prompts New Specialty at Toptal

For anyone out there still harboring doubts about enterprise interest in DevOps, consider Toptal's recent launch of a new on-demand talent specialization focused on "meeting the rising need for skilled DevOps engineers."

For anyone out there still harboring doubts about enterprise interest in DevOps, consider Toptal's recent launch of a new on-demand talent specialization focused on "meeting the rising need for skilled DevOps engineers."

Toptal (short for "top talent") is a freelance engineer marketplace launched in 2010. The organization, which bills itself as a global network of top engineers, designers, and finance experts, reports seeing a 109 percent annual growth rate in demand from its clients for DevOps positions, growing consistently by more than 25 percent for each of the last four quarters since 2016.

The new specialized service will connect businesses and organizations with a pool of freelance DevOps professionals "who are experts in virtualization, containerization, automation, continuous integration and delivery, and cloud application distribution," the company said in its announcement.

"As organizations undergo DevOps transformations to more quickly deliver applications and services and compete more effectively in the market, most still don't have access to the right talent who can make this happen," said Alvaro Oliveira, Toptal's VP of Talent Operations, in a statement. "Our new DevOps practice provides a reliable pipeline of qualified IT professionals who can enable shorter development cycles, increased deployment frequency, and more dependable releases, among other agile software development goals."

The authors of the Linux Foundation's "2017 Open Source Jobs Report" found that 60 percent of open source professionals and hiring managers are currently looking to fill vacant DevOps engineering positions. In a blog post, Scott Weiss, a partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, opined, "…DevOps is more than just a methodology. It's a must-have skill set for the modern programmer…"

There's a reason for this growing demand., says industry analyst Al Gillen, VP of IDC's Software Development and Open Source group. "Forward-looking CIOs and CEOs that have embraced agile and DevOps operational models have seen paybacks," he said in a statement, "including more frequent application deployments, higher-quality code, agility in delivering and evolving user-centric features, and a greater ability to innovate with new products and features."

Is DevOps really a specialty? Andrea Villa, a former DevOps engineer at Atlassian, system architect at CloudReach and current member of the Toptal network, thinks so. "To be effective, today's DevOps Engineer needs to have a developer background and possess a wide knowledge of system administration and network knowledge," he said in a statement. "It's important that they be able to bridge the gap between the raw code and the challenges that the business has to face every day, such as reducing friction between ideas, delivery, and consumers."

About the Author

John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends (www.ADTMag.com) and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.

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