Top 4 skills to be a cloud-native developer

DevOps Institute Ambassadors share valuable insight on the most important skills for cloud-native developers
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CIO Cloud

The rise of cloud-native opens the door to many opportunities for the enterprise but also introduces new challenges. Developers new to cloud-native must navigate the shift from traditional on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud-native development requires a modern approach to software development, including the ability to develop microservices and leverage serverless functions.

If one thing is certain for software developers, it is that change will always happen – and with new changes come new skill requirements. Upskilling is essential for developers to manage these changes.

[ Also read How Cloud AI Developer Services empower developers. ]

To help developers focus on the top skills necessary for successful cloud-native development, I asked DevOps Institute Ambassadors to share their take on the most important cloud-native skills. Here are the top four:

1. Master basic developer competencies

“A top skill needed to be a successful cloud-native developer is the same as for any developer: you must be innovative, communicative, and technically competent. The key principles of cloud-native architecture are IAAS, containers, automation, and orchestration built around microservices. This means you must think about cloud techniques in AWSAzure, or Google, understand containers and their orchestration with Helm, Kubernetes, and strive to automate solutions.

"A top skill needed to be a successful cloud-native developer is the same as for any developer: you must be innovative, communicative, and technically competent."

“Working with microservices means owning the ability to constantly downsize code into the smallest functions possible. Elements of the microservices should be replaceable with other elements they contact without a loss of function. Understanding these areas will get you started but like any job or task, the most important part is experience. Get out there and practice, not just in your daily job, but on open-source code and your own projects.” -Mark Peters, Product Manager, BrainGu

2. Strong DevOps and automation knowledge

“A key skill required to be a successful cloud-native developer is DevOps and automation. When these are mastered, one should develop competencies in the following areas:

“The whole idea is to leverage the automation tools for better time-to-market capabilities, reduce friction and lower the development and maintenance costs.” -Parveen Kr. Arora, Founder and Director, VVnT SeQuor

3. Evolve quickly

“This skill covers both your own skillsets and others around you. One of the first things to evolve is just thinking differently about the application and architectural design – containers, serverless, smaller building blocks, etc. Consider building it or buying it as a service from the cloud provider(s). You may need to coach leadership and peers in this stage.

[ Also read 5 things CIOs should know about cloud service providers ]

“Offsetting the overhead of building things and buying from the cloud provider could mean you have more time to develop truly unique business features and products. Leverage ‘as a service’ and prebuilt/predefined containers (making sure they are safe and secure) to further gain precious time back and add true value to the business.” -Ryan Sheldrake, Field CTO, EMEA, Lacework

4. Understand API development

“Understanding API development is a key skill required for cloud-native architecture. Building software applications that have been decomposed into smaller functions is vastly different from delivering traditional monolithic software systems. Microservices are essentially APIs. As we move into this decomposed microservice architecture, software developers need to embrace a new paradigm. API developers already understand how to write code based on a small use case, or domain, to serve multiple consumers.

“In cloud-native architecture, we move to the practice of ‘feature’ teams. Each ‘feature’ team builds small functions to address their particular domain. A collection of domain-driven microservices creates our new software systems. If you have been writing monolithic applications and want to move into cloud-native development, you already have the coding skills you need. To be a cloud-native developer, you simply need to learn API development and domain-driven design to begin this new journey.” -Tracy Ragan, CEO and Co-Founder, DeployHub

Today’s DevOps humans face dynamic and complex cloud environments. It is important to master a few essential skills to lead the journey from a monolithic system to a microservices-based cloud-native environment. For more cloud-native ‘how-to’ knowledge, join SKILup Day: Cloud-native on July 21, 2022. Register here.

Jayne Groll is co-founder and CEO of the DevOps Institute (DOI). Jayne carries many IT credentials including ITIL Expert™, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Agile Service Manager, DevOps Foundation and is a Certified Process Design Engineer (CPDE)™.