Mastering the Art of Hiring DevOps Engineers for Your Startup -

Mastering the Art of Hiring DevOps Engineers for Your Startup

Introduction: The Importance of Hiring DevOps Engineers

Why hire DevOps engineers? Simply put, they bring a unique set of skills that can significantly boost your tech infrastructure. They optimize it for improved security, scalability, and efficiency. However, it’s important to note that hiring and retaining these specialists isn’t a piece of cake. In fact, the DevOps Institute’s 2020 research revealed that 58% of businesses find it tough to recruit skilled DevOps personnel, and nearly half find it hard to keep them.

DevOps isn’t a conventional job title with a defined career path. It’s a role crafted by the industry to meet specific needs. So, when you’re looking to hire DevOps engineers, you need to be clear about what you’re aiming to achieve. Understanding the complexities of your project and the challenges they present is key to finding the right candidate. It’s not just about filling a position; it’s about finding the right fit for your unique needs.

When hiring, you should look for a well-rounded set of DevOps skills and competencies. Infrastructure engineering, for instance, is a core DevOps skill. It involves standardizing, maintaining, and refreshing technological environments. Monitoring, performance management, capacity and availability management, reliability engineering, cloud, and containerization are also crucial. Remember, no one needs to be an ‘expert’ in all areas, as long as the team covers all of them. So, are you ready to navigate the challenging yet rewarding world of DevOps recruitment?

Understanding the Role of DevOps Engineers in Your Organization

So, what’s the role of DevOps engineers in your organization? Well, it’s not as straightforward as you might think. According to the DevOps Institute, DevOps is a versatile role that’s been somewhat invented by the industry. This means there’s no set path to follow, which can make hiring a challenge. In fact, in their 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills research, 58% of respondents found recruiting skilled DevOps employees difficult.

A DevOps engineer is a bridge between development and operations teams, assisting in optimizing infrastructure and improving security, scalability, and efficiency. One of their key competencies is infrastructure engineering, which involves monitoring, performance management, capacity and availability management, reliability engineering, and expertise in cloud and containerization technologies.

But remember, it’s not about finding a jack-of-all-trades. A well-rounded DevOps team doesn’t need everyone to be an expert in everything. As long as the team collectively covers all the necessary skills and competencies, you’re golden. So, when you’re hiring, look for a mix of these skills across your team, rather than in each individual.

When employing DevOps engineers, it is critical to clearly define the job obligations and distinguish between requirements and preferences. Some companies need a DevOps engineer that is fluent in a specific language, while others want a DevOps who is fluent in cloud technologies like AWS or Azure. The first step is to define the position’s responsibilities and qualifications as needed. Now that we’ve got a handle on the role of DevOps engineers, let’s dive into how to hire them. Ready?

Step-by-Step Guide to Hire DevOps Engineers

Having understood the role of DevOps engineers in your organization, it’s time to dive into the hiring process. Start by identifying your project’s complexities and the challenges they pose. What are you aiming to achieve with a DevOps engineer on board? Once you’ve figured that out, you’re ready to kick off the hiring process.

Step 1: Define the job role. Remember, DevOps is a versatile specialist, so tailor the job description to your specific needs, including key skills such as infrastructure engineering, monitoring, performance management, and cloud expertise.

Step 2: Use the DevOps Institute’s Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills research as a benchmark for the skills your candidate should possess. A well-rounded set of DevOps skills and competencies is crucial for a successful team.

Step 3: Consider internal hiring. Look within your IT Operations teams or development engineers. They often have diverse backgrounds, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of engineering principles.

Step 4: Advertise the job opening. Use industry-specific job boards and platforms for maximum reach.

Step 5: Screen applications. Look for candidates with proven experience in optimizing infrastructure and improving security, scalability, and efficiency.

Step 6: Conduct interviews. This is your chance to assess the candidate’s problem-solving skills and cultural fit.

Step 7: Make an offer. Remember, retaining DevOps engineers can be as challenging as hiring them, so ensure your offer is competitive.

There you have it, a step-by-step guide to hiring DevOps engineers. But, what questions should you ask during the interview? We’ll delve into that next.

Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring DevOps Engineers

When interviewing DevOps engineers, it’s crucial to ask the right questions that cover a wide range of skills. Let’s dive right in.

Start with their experience in infrastructure engineering. Ask, “Can you describe a time when you had to standardize, maintain, and refresh a technological environment?” This will give you insights into their monitoring, performance management, and reliability engineering skills.

Next, probe their understanding of security, risk, and compliance. A question like, “How do you ensure security and compliance in a DevOps environment?” will reveal their approach to these critical aspects.

Don’t skip their programming skills. Ask, “What programming languages are you proficient in, and how have you used them in a DevOps context?”

Also, inquire about their experience with continuous delivery and improvement. For instance, “Can you share an example of how you’ve implemented continuous delivery in a previous role?”

Lastly, check their understanding of business value optimization. A question like, “How do you ensure the business value of DevOps practices?” will help gauge their business acumen.

According to the DevOps Institute, hiring skilled DevOps professionals can be challenging. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure your questions cover all areas, including technical skills, business acumen, and team-building abilities. Remember, while no one needs to be an ‘expert’ in all areas, the team should collectively cover all competencies.


In conclusion, hiring DevOps engineers is a strategic move towards enhancing your startup’s agility and operational efficiency. As outlined in LinkedIn’s Hiring DevOps Engineers guide, these professionals are instrumental in breaking down barriers, deploying automation, and expediting updates. The DevOps Institute’s 2020 Upskilling: Enterprise DevOps Skills research further emphasizes the importance of finding and retaining skilled DevOps professionals. Understanding the intricacies of your project and the challenges it presents will guide you in selecting the most suitable candidate. Utilize insightful interview questions to assess their technical expertise and cultural fit. The DevOps Institute and LinkedIn’s ATS partners offer valuable resources for deepening your knowledge and implementing best practices in your recruitment process. EPAM Startups & SMBs also provides a pool of over 8,200 certified DevOps engineers globally, ready to drive your startup’s growth. So, take this crucial step and enrich your team with seasoned DevOps specialists dedicated to delivering tangible results in a timely manner.

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