While most of the industry is undergoing a digital transformation, the CEO of the DevOps Institute Jayne Groll stresses the need for a human transformation. According to Groll, DevOps initiatives are focusing too much energy on technology and not enough effort with skills. 

The DevOps Institute released the Upskilling 2020: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report to find the most in-demand skills needed for DevOps. The data was based on more than 1,200 respondents. 

“Human transformation is the single most critical success factor to enable DevOps practices and patterns for enterprise IT organizations,” said Groll. “Traditional upskilling and talent development approaches won’t be enough for enterprises to remain competitive because the increasing demand for IT professionals with core human skills is escalating to a point that business leaders have not yet seen in their lifetime. We must update our humans through new skill sets as often, and with the same focus, as our technology.”

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According to the report, more than 50% respondents are having trouble on their DevOps transformation journeys, and 58% cited finding skilled DevOps individuals are a challenge. Another 48% find it is difficult to retain skilled DevOps professionals. 

“The DevOps human and the associated skills plays a huge role in enabling an organization and its culture towards agile innovation, cross-functional collaboration and risk-taking to support digital operating models such as DevOps,” the report stated. “The fight for talent is not new as hiring managers are nervous about a talent gap in their teams relative to human, functional, technical and process skills and knowledge. Individuals in current positions are eager to update their skills. New job entrants are needing to know how to compete with skills and talents for todays and future opportunities.”

The institute found that the top skills necessary to create a “DevOps Human” are process skills and knowledge, automation, and human skill. 

In addition, the DevOps Institute found that not enough business leaders are focused on upskilling talent. More than 38% respondents’ organizations don’t have an upskilling program, 21% are working towards on and 7% don’t even know if on is available to them. Thirty-one percent found their company is already implementing a formal upskilling programming. 

As part of the report, the DevOps Institute is also introducing the “e-shaped” human of DevOps. Last year, the 2019 skills report focused on “t-shape” humans, which are specialists who have disciplinary depth in one area such as the cloud, but have the ability to reach out to other disciplines. “T-shaped individuals supplement their depth of specific knowledge (the deep stem of the T) with a wide range of general knowledge (the general top of the T). The need for T-shaped talent is being driven by the increasing requirement for speed, agility and quality software from the business,” the 2019 report stated. 

This year’s report highlighted the need to evolve “t-shape” humans to “e-shape” humans, which includes “4-Es:” experience, expertise, exploration and execution. Additionally, there are horizontal and vertical skills an “e-shaped” DevOps human must posses. The horizontal skills include automation, functional, knowledge and technical skills while the vertical skillset includes flow, understanding of different practices such as Scrum and Value Stream Mapping as well as human skills like collaboration and interpersonal skill.s 

“The time is now to upskill your DevOps teams and individuals, however, this must be done across more than technical and functional skills,” said Eveline Oehrlich, research director at the institute. “We already saw a significant demand for a variety of human must-have skills in our 2019 research and this year we saw a tremendous increase across all human skills e.g. collaboration, interpersonal skills, empathy and creativity to name a few. The most important though is the increase in value placed on the human skills, which comes from the management and business leaders in our survey. Our research shows that a mindset shift is happening with the transition from ‘soft’ skills to ‘human’ skills, but more importantly, today’s leaders must change their mindset to recognize the value human skills will bring to a team and organization.”