Right now, many IT managers are wondering what makes a site reliability engineer (SRE) valuable and if they should add one to their team. A site reliability engineer was a job created at Google in 2013. These engineers work as developers who write code, but they also work within IT systems to ensure functionality. Ben Treynor, the creator of the job, describes an SRE as a software engineer with specialized knowledge. Their expertise allows them to work as operations team members with the ability to build automated systems.
An SRE is considered one of the new kids on the development block, but some of the most recognizable brands in the world like GitHub, Reddit and Netflix are already using SREs on their teams. Site reliability engineers are added to teams when designing and developing large-scale systems.
Of course, the technical aspects are crucial, but SREs can also have a positive impact on team morale. This is because SRES aren’t solely relying on knowledge to push products through each development phase. SREs are enthusiastic about systems operations, and they genuinely hope to optimize each product.
Despite the variations when working as a SRE, there are numerous benefits of working with these engineers that are standard across the board. If you’re considering hiring an SRE, here are a few advantages they can give your company.
Four Reasons Why your Team Needs an SRE
Cross-platform Skills – Working as a site reliability engineer doesn’t mean working as a systems administrator or developer. An SRE is a combination of both roles, thus avoiding the conflicts that arise when developers and administrators embrace separate ideals and methodologies during development and troubleshooting. Instead of working on opposing sides, SREs utilize the strengths of developers and system admins to form an operational system that truly embraces the balance of Dev Ops.
Automation – Site reliability engineers write and manage the code that supports functional systems and automates various processes to assure reliability. Manual reprogramming is a time-consuming and laborious process, but automating systems puts less work on your in-house team. Through automation, SREs enable systems to recognize and address operational flaws without human interference.
Innovation – A site reliability engineer increases the likelihood of your team creating a disruptive product. SREs know that every product won’t make it to market, but their focus on reliability remains unwavering. As a key team member during development, these engineers are working towards discovering innovative approaches to solve problems instead of focusing on the end result.
Collaboration – SREs are genuine team players. While collaboration is critical for high quality, it’s even more important when problems arise during development or systems fail. SREs are exceptional communicators who focus on solutions instead of divisive ideas and habits. This collaborative mindset moves the development process along more quickly while adhering to the principles of system administration.
Site Reliability Engineers Possess Invaluable Skills
Systems must be configured properly throughout the development process. Therefore, as developers are building code, they must create an intuitive system for administrators and front-end users. If a product is already available on the market, customers shouldn’t experience any malfunctions as changes are made to the back-end. Along with enhancing the user experience, SREs focus on every element of design to build scalable products that can adapt to evolving customer demands and business needs.
At this point, many developers and computer engineers are gaining interest in SRE positions because of the challenging and fulfilling work it provides for professionals with a team-oriented mindset. To qualify for SRE positions, engineers are taking the necessary steps to acquire the skill sets and knowledge to perform the role successfully.
Site reliability engineering may still seem like a new occupation, but the role won’t be going away anytime soon. After working with SREs, companies will want them on their teams to foster innovation, encourage productivity and collaboration, and resolve conflicts.