Moving to SRE is the best way to keep a job in a recession for a DevOps engineer

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The labor market in the IT sector is shrinking worldwide, hitting both entry-level and experienced positions. The collapse of the Silicon Valley bank is only the latest sign of general panic and nervousness in the entire sphere, following a plummet in investment with the end of cheap money from investors. Layoffs globally have already affected the global IT job market, with the hiring of newbies coming to a halt. The cost of labor will continue to fall, as the supply of workers on the labor market increases since 2022. Companies are increasingly looking towards Site Reliability Engineers (SRE) to ensure high availability, scalability and reliability of applications and systems operating in a production environment.

Moving to SRE is the best way to keep a job in a recession for a DevOps engineer

Last November, we published an article suggesting that Twitter’s cutbacks were the first sign of a coming collapse in the IT job market. At the time, the audience was divided: some agreed that the sector was about to fall into a global recession along with other fields of activity, others noted that engineers were not at risk.

After five months, you can draw up an interim summary: how sad it is, but the skeptics (and we are among them) were right. The labor market in the IT segment all over the world has begun, if not to clap, then to seriously shrink.

While the whole world is discussing that the negative growth of Sillcon Valley Bank will not bring down the global banking system and is a local problem, the IT segment should still be stressed. We will remind you that back in May 2022, Y Combinator sent out letters to its participants stating that there will be de facto no more investments in startups without 100% guarantees of payback.


The cheap money that business angels poured into numerous IT projects, which often consist only of a fashionable office, a whole herd of founders and a one-page landing site, suddenly ended. And the collapse of the Silicon Valley bank is only a consequence of panic and general nervousness in the entire sphere. Yes, there is an opinion that the bank collapsed almost by accident, but the general trend is clear: now, at the slightest hint of a collapse, the owners of capital seek to get out of such recently lagging cash.

But all of the above is only an exposition of what is happening now in the labor market. As we said earlier, even with the fall in the capitalization of IT companies over the past five years, the attractiveness of working in the industry has been constantly growing. First of all, because of the mythical salaries of 300 kc/nanosec and the “low” threshold for entering the profession. But economic laws are such that infinite growth is simply impossible. Sooner or later, the stage of correction (or crisis) comes.

Layoffs around the world have already affected the global IT job market. If five years ago it was problematic to find a job for a junior, and many were running their own pet projects on GitHub or doing internships for food, now the hiring of newbies has simply stopped. No, some companies may supposedly hire juniors, but will the requirements for the candidate really match the junior position?


From the spaces of HeadHunter

The number of responses to similar junior and even middle vacancies confidently crossed the four-digit barrier. Up to 2,000,000 reviews, one place for a newcomer is the new reality of the IT labor market, both in Russia and beyond. Everyone can now go to the same hh.ru: each low-level vacancy is viewed by up to one and a half dozen people right now, and how many reviews have been sent – only eichars know.

Anticipating the comments, we note that we do not feel bad: the current situation on the labor market is not beneficial for everyone and is far from healthy. And where there is no healthy atmosphere, there is no adequate hiring procedure.

The recession also hit experienced specialists. In general, there is a decrease in the bones for middle and senior developers in the market. Bonuses, comfortable offices, livers and subscriptions to the swing at the expense of the company are leaving. Now more and more high-level jobs in the compensation section look very dry: payment of an amount with fairly tight control over the employee. If two or three years ago, a middle developer could avoid open galleys with screen trackers and strict timekeeping by a kilometer, preferring a young web development studio with table tennis and corporate catering, now the choice has greatly reduced. Especially when it comes to currency removal, which has become dramatically less.

The average salary of seniors seriously asked. There are several reasons for that. The first is that the cheap money of investors has run out, now every company lives on its own. The second is the giants who vacuumed the market and dumped, because their pockets were bottomless, not only stopped hiring, but also cut their employees, including not only managers, but also programmers. The supply of workers on the labor market has been steadily increasing since 2022, which means that the cost of labor will continue to fall.

Back in November, we wrote about the advice given by an experienced developer who survived the dot-com bust and the crisis of 2008. Let’s repeat them:

  1. Try to save money for 6-12 months if you don’t have it.
  2. Give up vacations, purchases and additional expenses in the coming year.
  3. Try to raise your KPIs by 20-25% if your company is planning to downsize. It might save you a job.
  4. Dust off old non-IT diplomas and transcripts, if any.
  5. If there are no crusts or skills – it’s time to get them in your spare time, before you are fired.
  6. Be ready to go to another field for 2-3 years to survive the collapse.

Based on our field of activity, we can give another, seventh piece of advice, directly for administrators and DevOps engineers: look towards SRE.

How does SRE differ from DevOps in the general sense. Simple and affordable

SRE engineer (Site Reliability Engineer) and DevOps engineer (Development Operations Engineer) are two different roles, but they have a lot in common and are often used in similar contexts.

An SRE engineer is an engineer who is focused on ensuring high availability, scalability and reliability of applications and systems operating in a production environment. This approach to development is similar to DevOps, but focused on risk management. As an SRE engineer, you must ensure that applications and systems run efficiently, securely, and without interruption. To do this, SRE engineers often use DevOps methodologies and tools such as automation, containerization, monitoring, and orchestration.

A DevOps engineer is an engineer who automates the processes of software development, testing, delivery, and deployment. He is responsible for integrating application development and operation processes to improve development speed and quality. A DevOps engineer’s responsibilities include creating, configuring, and maintaining tools for automated application deployment, monitoring, and management. DevOps engineers work as a team with developers, system administrators, and other members of the development team to ensure continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) of applications.

Both roles have a lot in common, as both use Agile methodologies, automation tools, and ensure high availability and reliability of applications. SRE engineers typically focus on risk management and working in a production environment, while DevOps engineers focus on automating and integrating development processes.

The screenshot with the paradoxical Junior Fullstack developer vacancy was inserted into this text for a reason. He – like a mirror – reflects the current main trend of the market, which consists in hiring the most experienced and versatile employee possible.

Hiring is expensive and difficult. Hiring, when 2,000 reviews arrive for your vacancy, turns into an attempt to get out of the swamp, into which you are sucked more and more with every move. The work of HR departments all over the world is now practically paralyzed. Even if they throw away 50% of resumes with the words “we don’t want losers”, there are a lot of reviews. The hiring process is delayed and complicated, and this is not a cheap pleasure. At the same time, the wave of free candidates does not simplify the task: HR does not report something that they started to close positions in two days – because the business still needs to hire the most suitable person, and not the first one that comes to hand.

In one form or another, approaches with SRE are practiced in all large companies. Google once started what is now actively used in almost all highly loaded systems and services, from AirBnB and Netflix to IBM’s corporate projects. Since SRE is a fairly high-level activity, there are no junior positions in it. Usually, those engineers who pay more attention to risk management in the product segment move from the same DevOps to SRE. In the conditions of growing demand for the stability of projects in order to reduce the probability of technical failure, companies are increasingly actively looking towards SRE.

For DevOps professionals, a great way to increase their competitiveness is to gain additional knowledge and skills and move into the still small but sought-after category of SRE engineers. In general, this advice applies to all IT workers: additional or in-depth knowledge and skills will allow you to win the competition, avoid layoffs or find a new job in conditions that are deteriorating daily, in a certain period of time, which is now, on average, from 3 to 6 months. .

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