I started my career as a junior QA to Software Engineer In Test in Australia before a slight change in my IT career into a DevOps engineer in NYC.
I would like to share about the technical skills that could be transferred from SDET and what extra skills that need to be picked up in order to be a DevOps engineer.
The programming skills from writing automated tests will be helpful in DevOps as part of the job requires programming to automate processes.
SDET will use more programming language such as Java, Ruby, etc but DevOps will use more of shell and bash script.
- CI/CD or Deployment
SDET’s involvement in deployment pipeline automation with tools like Jenkins is definitely a core part of a DevOps engineer. The only difference is that a SDET will usually use Jenkins to set up the automated test build or integrate it into the CI/CD pipeline.
DevOps’s involvement will be helping the development team with building the entire pipeline from compilation till deployment
SDET uses lots of Open Source tools such as Selenium, Cucumber to develop test automation frameworks.
DevOps’s job leverage a lot on tools as well, but different sets. We will discuss more about this in the “Skills to be picked up” section.
- General computing/system knowledge
General computer knowledge of operation systems etc will be used but more in depth in a DevOps’s role.
Skills to be picked up
- New automation tool – configuration management tools
Configuration management tools such as Ansible and Puppet are a key part for DevOps to automate deployment and server configuration.
- New tools
A major portion of a DevOp’s tasks involves installation, configuration, setting up, upgrading and managing a bunch of tools used by the development tools. A list of it include:
- Elastic Search
- New Relic
- More in-depth operating system
A lot of DevOps’s work involve in troubleshooting system issues. Therefore, knowledge of the operation system in use such as Linux, Ubuntu, RedHat, etc is very important.
Working with data centers or more applicable nowadays are the cloud such as AWS and Google Cloud.
That will include usage of related tools such as Terraform.
Both SDET and DevOps are exciting jobs. I would not recommend one over the other. However for those who want to transition, it’s definitely not a difficult task. There are transferable skills which you could leverage but also new skills to learn. Learning new skills is unavoidable in the IT world anyway as technology keeps on evolving.