Site reliability engineers, or SRE engineers, are coding and software automation experts who optimize information technology (IT) infrastructure and processes. They do this by configuring smart codes, tools and applications that streamline operations and enhance productivity from the beginning to the end of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Google introduced the SRE engineering role in the early 2000’s to operate at the crossroads between software development and IT operations, or DevOps, and it has been growing in popularity ever since.
The SRE role and responsibilities include software automation, monitoring, troubleshooting, problem solving, documentation, and team collaboration. Specifically, the role requires a high level of expertise in writing code to automate processes such as log analysis and testing, while responding to any new DevOps issues that arise. Automating processes allows the developers to focus on bringing new features quickly to production and reduces the burden on the IT operations team. An SRE engineer applies software engineering principles to ensure reliable and scalable performance of software and IT services. Site reliability engineers regularly work alongside teams of software developers and IT engineers, guiding them along the development.
Site reliability engineering is essential for any organization that needs to continuously improve their people, processes, and technology. SREs help teams to transition to a true DevOps culture, offering numerous benefits to increase speed and reliability. Popular job opportunities for site reliability engineers include at major tech companies, for eCommerce companies, or in payments, banking, and medical software development. As technology continues to evolve, so will site reliability engineering. This means, there will be only more opportunities for SRE engineers!
Common site reliability engineer roles and responsibilities
A site reliability engineer is responsible for performing a range of important software engineering tasks. Responsibilities may include:
- Analyzing DevOps processes and IT architecture for areas of optimization for continuous improvement;
- Monitoring symptoms documenting every action to automate it through code;
- Improving operational processes and design, build, and maintain core infrastructure for scaling;
- Being on-call to respond to incidents that impact product or software availability;
- Troubleshooting and debugging issues to fix them to ensure high productivity;
- Preventing incidents from happening;
- Planning and facilitating IT infrastructure growth;
- Providing support to, and collaborating with, engineers, developers, and specialists to develop and deploy the codes, tools, and applications in software products;
- Tracking progress and documenting knowledge and processes;
- Delivering results in line with agreed SRE engineering project timelines and budgets;
- Delivering software engineering outputs in compliance with relevant requirements, and in line with customer needs and demands;
- Leading trainings on software engineering and development as needed.
Qualifications for site reliability engineers
SRE engineers should have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering, Computer Science, or related.
Additional supporting skills and experience include:
- 2-4+ years of software engineering experience;
- Solid understanding of coding, DevOps, and IT infrastructures using programming languages such as Python, Go, or Ruby;
- Excellent analytical and natural problem-solving skills;
- Proficiency in using diverse software, including Chef, Ansible, Terraform, SaltStack, GitLab CI/CD, Kubernetes, AWS CloudWatch, NewRelic, PagerDuty, VictorOps, Jira and Trello, and similar;
- Proven experience in project and team management;
- Strong verbal and written communication skills to be able to work easily with developers, engineers, and other diverse team members.