Prerequisites for DevOps Testers
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - November 24, 2020
With DevOps becoming the norm in software development, organizers must move their existing employees (devs and testers) to processes and methods more aligned with DevOps practices.
However, this is easier said than done. DevOps doesn’t just require the right tools and frameworks, but also a fundamental shift in mindset in those using said tools. Developers and testers must change the way they perceive their roles and the roles of others in their teams. This requires some sustained training.
This article will look at four core elements that must be studied, internalized, and practiced by DevOps engineers. Think of them as the basic DevOps training prerequisites.
What is DevOps?
DevOps applies Agile practices to QA and Ops teams, thus streamlining build, validation, deployment, and development of software. For this purpose, DevOps prioritizes integration, collaboration, and automation between Dev and Ops teams. It seeks to standardize development environments and improve predictability, efficiency, and security in the software development lifecycle.
When implemented well, DevOps offers the following advantages to development and testing teams:
- Provides greater control over the production environment to developers
- Improves the frequency of deployment
- Lowers failure rate of new software releases
- Improves mean time to recovery
- Increases speed and quality of released software
- Achieves faster time to market
DevOps Engineer Prerequisites
Note: In a DevOps landscape, devs and testers work in consistent and close collaboration. Often, their roles overlap – testers must have an idea of development principles, and devs must know, at least, the rudiments of testing. Because of this, the prerequisites for DevOps-ready testers and developers will be similar.
- Expertise with programming languages
Any developer will need to know the languages of their craft. But DevOps professionals need to write code as well as handle software installation, configuration, and validation. They must also be able to write code that enables the automation of essential processes, testing in particular. This means they should know what they are doing when working with the most commonly used programming languages – Java, Python, Pearl, etc.
Scripting is a significant part of a QA’s day because effective DevOps involves a substantial amount of automation. For example, Ansible, commonly used for software provisioning, configuration management, and application-deployment, uses a YAML scripting language based in Python. Anyone seeking to use Ansible with any measure of efficacy will have to know their way around Python.
- Expertise with automation tools
The right automation tools are instrumental in creating an effective DevOps system. They reduce the time spent on each task and reduce the risk of human error. DevOps engineers and testers must execute automation at multiple levels – development, testing, deployment. As mentioned earlier, most automation tools require scripting to work their magic, thus making it a foundational qualification for DevOps professionals.
Anyone seeking to implement DevOps principles should have considerable hands-on experience with Infrastructure-as-a-Code frameworks, which translates to the usage of configuration management technology. Tools like Jenkins, Ansible, Puppet, Bamboo TeamCity are at the top of this list.
In DevOps, every stage of development is automated in some measure. Naturally, a DevOps engineer must be familiar with tools necessary for implementing automation at every stage – Selenium, Jenkins, ELK Stack GIT, Docker, etc. They should also be eager to explore and pick up new tech to stay updated and offer out-of-the-box solutions.
DevOps testers, in particular, would be served best when looking at a cloud-based testing tool already set up to facilitate CI/CD execution. BrowserStack real device cloud provides integrations with popular CI/CD tools. This includes tools such as Jira, Jenkins, TeamCity, Travis CI, and much more. It also provides a cloud Selenium grid of 2000+ real browsers and devices for testing purposes. Additionally, there are in-built debugging tools that let testers identify and resolve bugs immediately.
- Collaboration and Communication
This is possibly the most important of DevOps prerequisites. One can buy the tools, study to ingest the knowledge, but changing one’s working style takes the longest time and can be most challenging.
When moving to a DevOps style of work, devs and testers will have to move beyond their predetermined roles. DevOps professionals must bridge the gap between developers and IT operations, making communication and collaboration key skills for them.
Testers must be involved in a project from the beginning; developers must pay heed to their input and take testing protocols into account when designing code. Developers must also run preliminary unit tests on their code before pushing it to version control so that basic bugs can be done away with.
Similarly, testers must gain knowledge of development so that when they encounter a bug, they can identify it better, understand its nature, and return it to devs with some helpful information. Since testers have to design test cases for the Continuous Testing phase of the CI/CD pipeline, they must also understand how development works and what the software must do for its users.
DevOps testers and developers must be ready to work with each other, rather than rushing to finish their part and wash their hands off the matter. DevOps roles and responsibilities can be best executed when a team moves in tandem. Keep your colleagues informed and consider them when writing code, ideating, and designing features and tests.
- Speed and Logic
Obviously, the ability to work fast and rationally is an asset in any professional role. But they are non-negotiable DevOps engineer prerequisites. The whole point of implementing DevOps is to speed up software development without compromising accuracy or quality. To do so, DevOps engineers and testers must be able to take spontaneous, rapid decisions based on immediate events. Since these split-second decisions will be responsible for the smooth functioning of the entire team and software quality, the person taking the decision must be able to think rationally without spending much time.
The prerequisites for DevOps testers, often the same as those for DevOps engineers, ensure that a team can work on the same page in a similar professional and technical direction. Look for these qualities in prospective employees for a DevOps team, or shape training modules for existing employees in a way that lets them learn, excel, and apply these skills every single day.