Years ago, prior to the advent of Agile Development, a friend of mine worked as a release engineer. His job was to ensure a seamless build and release process for the software development team. He designed and developed builds, scripts, installation procedures and managed the version control and issue tracking systems. He played a mean mandolin at company parties too.
The role of release engineer was (and still is) critical to completing a successful software release and deployment, but as these things go, my friend was valued less than the software developers who worked beside him. The thinking went something like this — developers could make or break schedules and that directly contributed to the bottom line. Release engineers, on the other hand, were never noticed, unless something went wrong. As you might guess, in those days the job of release engineer was compensated less generously than development engineer. Often, the best people vied for positions in development where compensation was better.
Today, the fortunes of release engineers have risen sharply. In companies that are implementing DevOps there is no more important person than the release engineer. The job title has been renamed DevOps engineer and it is one of the most highly compensated positions in the field of software engineering. According to salary surveys, experienced DevOps engineers make six figure salaries. DevOps specialists are so hard to find that firms are hiring people without college degrees, if they have the right experience.
Whereas a release engineer used to work off in a corner tying up loose ends, the DevOps engineer is a high-visibility role coordinating the development, test, IT and operations functions. If a DevOps engineer is successful, the wall between development and operations melts away and the dev team becomes more agile, efficient and responsive to the market. This has a huge impact on the organization’s culture and ability to innovate. With so much at stake, it makes sense to get the best person possible to fulfill the DevOps engineer role, and compensate them accordingly. When DevOps came along, the release engineer went from fulfilling a secondary supporting role to occupying the most sought after position in the department. Many release engineers have successfully rebranded themselves as DevOps engineers and significantly upgraded their careers.
DataOps for Data Analytics
A similar change, called DataOps, is transforming the roles on the data analytics team. DataOps is a better way to develop and deliver analytics. It applies Agile development, DevOps and lean manufacturing principles to data analytics producing a transformation in data-driven decision making.
Data engineers, data analysts, data scientists — these are all important roles, but they will be valued even more under DataOps. Too often, data analytics professionals are trapped into relying upon non-scalable methods: heroism, hope or caution. DataOps offers a way out of this no-win situation.
The capabilities unlocked by DataOps impacts everyone that uses data analytics — all the way to the top levels of the organization. DataOps breaks down the barriers between data analytics and operations. It makes data more easily accessible to users by redesigning the data analytics pipeline to be more flexible and responsive. It will completely change what people think of as possible in data analytics.
In many organizations, the DataOps engineer will be a separate role. In others, it will be a shared function. In any case, the opportunity to have a high-visibility impact on the organization will make DataOps engineering one of the most desirable and highly compensated functions. Like the release engineer whose career was transformed by DevOps, DataOps will boost the fortunes of data analytics professionals. DataOps will offer select members of the analytics team a chance to reposition their roles in a way that significantly advances their career. If you are looking for an opportunity for growth as a DBA, ETL Engineer, BI Analyst, or another role look into DataOps as the next step.
And watch out Data Scientist, the real sexiest job of the 21st century is DataOps Engineer.
Learn More About DataOps Engineering
At this point, you may be wondering what it really takes to move forward with DataOps. You may be surprised that DataOps can be implemented in seven simple steps. We have laid out the seven steps in a blog series. Step one is here.