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How to become a successful site reliability engine (SRE) in Australia 2020


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LinkedIn’s annual Emerging Jobs Report 2020 for Australia places the location reliability engineer role because of the fifth emerging job within the country.

But the role seems relatively new in Australia because the largest job-seeking websites within the country don’t offer data on the role itself. A LinkedIn look for the SRE role returns some 10,000 results and 212 jobs posted on the social media platform in Australia.

Computerworld Australia spoke to many SREs to find out how they got started within the role and what they suggest for those looking to follow this path.


What a site reliability engineer does


The site reliability engineer (SRE) role may be a concept created by Google within the early 2000s. to make sure the reliability of the corporate platform, an SRE performs several roles, including consulting on the designs for brand spanking new features, breaking a test environment to ascertain how the systems built will respond, deciding what the service level indicators are, and coordinating the response for high-severity incidents.

There are many flavours of site reliability engineering, but the one thing that does seem to carry consistent is that SRE is a smaller amount about specific technologies than it's about the method and practices.

LinkedIn describes the role of an SRE because of the use of a programmer approach to system administration topics. consistent with the roles board Seek, the common annual salary of a programmer in New South Wales is $130,000 while a systems administrator get roughly $110,000 a year.

The skills needed to be an SRE


Broad practical skills. Tigerspike SRE Tony Wong said that each one the core SRE books are free and crammed with knowledge for those seeking the career. “Knowing the way to utilise the general public cloud and work on a couple of side projects and work towards certifications is extremely important in solidifying practical skills. Be cloud-agnostic, be program-language-agnostic, because most variations are quite similar; it’s knowing the basics first that leaves easy transitioning,” Wong said.

“Working on personal projects like fixing an internet application, monitoring the appliance, and sourcing the simplest practises to try to certain things have always been key in my professional development,” Wong said.

To become an SRE specifically, Joshua Hui, an application infrastructure engineer at Mortgage Choice who performs the work of an SRE among other functions, advises to start out by learning a scripting language, because it is vital in systems administration to seek out how to automate things.

Dan Adams, an SRE at Google Australia, suggests finding technology of interest and learning to seem at it both broadly and intimately where there'll be interesting problems to find out the way to solve or fix it.

Continual learning. “Being autonomous and a self-learner is critical as our understanding of the discipline and therefore the technologies we interact with are always changing,” said Anton Engelstad, an SRE with Stax. like the other industry, to stay learning is important, especially in IT as technologies change and evolve fast. He explained that an SRE can cover a good range of private and technical skills, but instead of having the ability to hide it all which it isn’t easy what is significant has a passion for continuous learning.

“Having knowledge of how IT systems add terms of front, back end, data pipelines, networking, OS, and architecture remains fundamentally core within the SRE’s toolbelt,” said Tigerspike’s Wong. He also believes that networking with other professionals is additionally vital to ascertain where the trends are going.

“I have seen others left behind because their skill set has become redundant. New technologies emerge, and old ones become obsolete. it's important to remain relevant, otherwise, time will leave you behind,” Hui said. His manager has helped by encouraging him to find out skills across other IT functions, making him an asset to the business and also helping his personal development.

“Coming into Google, I didn’t have experience with the size and kinds of problems you've got with a globally distributed computing system,” Adams said. “I had to find out a special way of brooding about fault tolerance and system consistency, which has been an exciting and interesting challenge.”

Strong communications


Everyone within the business is during a position where they believe system reliability, so communicating well is crucial especially when things aren’t working. So, for an SRE, “it is vital to elucidate to stakeholders and be transparent about downtime,” Hui said. Most of the time stakeholders get more frustrated from the shortage of communication than from systems being down. “Excellent communication skills and willingness to figure within a team is significant as SREs act as consultants across development teams,” said Stax’s Engelstad.

Problem-solving. “Also, a passion for solving problems with sound methodology when facing the unknown and therefore the ability to manage risk is important,” Engelstad said. for instance, an SRE has got to be ready to effectively handle deployments gone bad. “Always have a rollback plan. If things fail they will always consider the unhappy path and contingency plans. Know when to roll back, and the way to roll back always super important especially when it involves databases,” Hui advises.

“Working with others and understanding different viewpoints will get you very far,” Wong said. “The IT industry isn't easy, it takes tons of trial and error and lots of hours. Be as flexible as possible. Some may say specialisation is vital, but I’m an enormous believer in being a generalist. It’s the generalist who has the far-reaching outlook of the connecting parts and allows for a more fulfilling career.”

Formal qualifications. Engelstad said that when he first started many companies had strict requirements for formal qualifications to form it to the interview stage but after he’d started working, it had been much smaller “except within the way that it informs how you approach your work.”

Even if a proper qualification isn't required, Wong said a diploma may be a great entry method to tip your toes into an IT career and experiment with all the various niches within the industry.

Building your thanks to becoming an SRE

As a fresh role, IT professionals who become site reliability engineers come from different backgrounds having worked in many various roles in information technology before landing an SRE role.

Today, there’s not an outlined path to the role aside from gathering experience that demonstrates the talents of being an SRE. Testing, development, and operations are all valid paths into the SRE role, Stax’s Engelstad said. generally, terms, working as a software developer or systems administrator are both great starts but “being ready to discuss how reliable the services you built or operated were is even better,” he said.

Engelstad studied network engineering at RMIT where his interest in software development first showed. After graduating, he joined NAB’s graduate program as a programmer, where he stayed for eight years moving through different roles and ending up within the operations team for the web banking and mobile apps platform.

Having worked mostly within the maintenance side, he was ready for a replacement challenge and a few practical experience building reliable systems. “Turns out there are tons thereto,” Engelstad told Computerworld Australia. “Last year, a chance came up to manoeuvre [from Versent] to Stax and build their site reliability team, which felt like what all my work thus far had been leading up to being a programmer tasked with ensuring the reliability of Stax, through the entire life cycle of development.”

With an interest in IT and business from a young age, Tigerspike’s Wong got a bachelor of business data system degree from Monash University. In his first job, he worked with financial data for Oxfam, later moving to NAB where he was ready to explore agile software development within the banking system.

After browsing the Thales graduate program, he joined Telstra where he explored report analysis and cloud infrastructure risk management and where he was introduced to the location reliability engineering mindset and ways of working.

Mortgage Choice’s Hui had been performing at a bank, which he found monotonous and unchallenging. After a while, he also noticed he couldn't see a transparent progression within his role then he left the work and enrolled at university where he studied for a bachelor of science degree.

After his first year at university, he applied for a help desk role with Mortgage Choice, which gave him the “challenge I used to be after”. “It taught me time management and also prioritisation skills. After a year approximately in help desk, I got promoted to junior infrastructure engineer, and after some long hours and a couple of years within the junior role, I'm now during a team of two, during a role of application infrastructure engineer,” Hui said.

Google Australia’s Adams features a degree in physics and one in computer systems engineering, he said his original plan was to be a physicist but he ended up enjoying the pc side of things more thanks to the power to create interesting things.

Adams started his career in embedded systems, later working for a games startup as a game systems engineer. He then worked on software and hardware for robotics and autonomous systems for teleoperation mining in remote locations.

“So a couple of jobs covering tons of various problems and technologies at a systems level and merchandise engineering,” Adams explained, adding that this is often what led him to SRE as you would like to seem at problems at a system level but even be ready to probe detail when required.
         
   
   

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