Hiring devops illustration

Who are DevOps Engineers?

DevOps engineers place themselves between software development and IT operations, securing smooth communication between all the systems and IT departments. Their primary role is to ensure that the underlying systems, networks, and hardware are reliable, scalable, and optimized for an efficient software release.

To excel as a DevOps Engineer, an individual must have an understanding of various infrastructure systems, their interconnection with production, and their potential impact—both positive and negative—on software performance. Stemming from this, it’s evident that there isn’t a standardized career pathway leading directly to a DevOps title. Often, at least five years of diverse IT experience is necessary for someone to thrive as a DevOps engineer. This complexity underscores the challenge companies face when trying to identify and hire qualified DevOps professionals.

Challenges in Assessing DevOps Engineers

Evaluating DevOps engineers is not solely about their familiarity with tools. Since DevOps responsibilities revolve around designing processes from the outset—where tasks like change control are largely automated—it’s important that an engineer can quickly identify and solve issues. Companies usually fail to cover this aspect during the hiring process. Here at HDO, we believe companies should prioritize hiring individuals with a proactive learning attitude and great problem-solving skills over marking a checklist of past accomplishments.

Overcoming Hiring Challenges

To effectively address hiring challenges, companies must first identify their specific software performance needs. This involves outlining the essential attributes a DevOps engineer should embody to align with the company’s objectives. In order to assess these attributes, hiring managers must create environments that allow candidates to demonstrate their qualities.

At HDO, we advocate for evaluating DevOps by immersing them in situations that mirror their potential responsibilities. For instance, when presenting the candidate with an unfamiliar malfunctioning infrastructure, we can assess the key questions:

  • How long will it take for them to grasp the new architecture?
  • How quickly can they determine the cause of the breakdown?
  • Will they be able to find a solution to fix the system?

By crafting tasks that evaluate candidates’ critical thinking as well as their system familiarity, HDO promotes technical assessments that reflect the daily challenges a candidate might encounter. This not only ensures a realistic evaluation but also stimulates problem-solving skills.

Unfortunately, many recruiters stick to knowledge-based evaluation, since it is easier to assess. However, with the right tools and strategies, companies can streamline their hiring process, reducing the resources spent on screening, evaluating, and decision-making.


The traditional method of evaluating DevOps candidates solely on their technical knowledge can leave gaps in assessing their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities. As highlighted by HDO’s approach, the future of effective hiring lies in immersive assessments that mirror real-world scenarios. In essence, a successful DevOps hiring strategy should not just be about ticking boxes but understanding the holistic nature of the role and finding candidates that fit the company’s goals.