How ideal DevOps recruitment requires a mix of soft and technical skills

If you want to get ahead in DevOps, then automation and process skills are vital - but don't forget the soft skills either.

That's the key finding from a new report by the DevOps Institute. The study, titled Upskilling and which polled more than 1,600 people, found a distinct correlation between 'must-have' and 'nice to have' skill sets. Automation, cited by 57% of respondents as must-have, beat out process (55%) and soft skills (53%). Of those in the process department, software development lifecycle, cited by 47% of respondents, was of the most interest, ahead of understanding process flow and analysis (46%) and Agile methodologies (42%).

When it came to recruitment, there is an equal balance between those looking for soft skills and those looking for technical skills both for internal and external hiring. For C-level executives and IT management, business skills - communication, influencing, negotiation and strategic thinking - were considered particularly important. Yet only 23% of individual contributors - compared with 47% of IT and 43% of C-suite - said these skills were very important.

In terms of specific adoption rates, the research found 43% of organisations were at project-level adoption, while 19% were enterprise-ready and 15% were only at the planning stage. 55% of respondents said they were 'knowledgeable' about DevOps, compared with 22% who said they were very knowledgeable. 22% said they either had very little knowledge or no familiarity.

It is evident, therefore, that different skills are required. Ultimately, professionals need to build their automation and process know-how, while soft skills need to be looked at in terms of collaboration, problem-solving, and sharing and knowledge transfer.

"We found the majority of leaders within the organisations we surveyed are hiring from within and are willing to develop an individual's abilities and provide opportunities," said analyst Eveline Oehrlich of Forrester Research. "Hiring managers see the DevOps human as a creative, knowledge-sharing, eager to learn individual with their skill sets and abilities being shareable. Our study provides insight into what skills the DevOps human should develop, in order to help drive a mindset and a culture for organisations and individuals."

You can read the full report here (email required).

Read more: Four reasons why your company might not be ready for DevOps just yet

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