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DevOps skills in SFIA

DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market. (Definition from Amazon Web Services)

DevOps skills in SFIA

Click on image to see full-size interactive pdf with hyperlinked skill names.

The DevOps view of SFIA skills has been developed to provide a quick start identification of the SFIA skills which are most relevant/illustrative for the skills needed for organisations to adopt and operate DevOps working practices.

  • This view of SFIA identifies 20 to 30 professional skills related to DevOps within the complete SFIA framework of more than 100 skills.
  • The content of the SFIA framework is reviewed on a regular basis, and int the latest release the content has been refreshed and updated to capture the professional skills needed - whether for leading, managing and executing the adoption of effective DevOps practices
  • This selection of skills highlights the industry lessons that DevOps is about much more than deploying technical tools to automate development and operational IT tasks. So in this view of DevOps SFIA skills, there is a big emphasis on the skills (management and leadership) needed to develop and sustain culture and organisational capabilities for DevOps
  • SFIA's design has built-in levels of responsibility in all of its skill definitions. This provides direct support to organisational design, recruitment and deployment. Ensuring that far more than technical knowledge will form part of the new culture needed to exploit DevOps tools and technical working practices.
  • As with all applications of SFIA; this view should be considered against your specific organisational context and business objectives.
  • The intention is not to draw a hard boundary around these skills or to imply that other SFIA skills aren't appropriate. In practice, once you have familiarised yourself with this view; it is likely that you will refer to the full SFIA framework for additional and complementary skill definitions.
  • The full SFIA reference guide and a spreadsheet version of all skill descriptions available to download. You will need to be registered as a user on the site first but that is a very simple process.
  • This website provides advice and guidance on the adoption of SFIA.
  • There is also an active global ecosystem of SFIA Partners, SFIA Consultants and Practitioners. They are available for advice on adopting SFIA. Full details are available here.
  • If you represent a professional body or a framework owner and would like to collaborate with the SFIA Foundation on the development of additional SFIA views; please contact the

For ease of use, the DevOps skills view has been split into 3 focus areas based on different aspects of DevOps culture and working practices. The groupings are a navigational aid only: 

  • Once you are familiar with the content of SFIA they may not be needed
  • Each SFIA skill is present in only one focus area, but in practice, some skills could easily be represented in more than one focus area
  • SFIA skills for individual job roles should be selected appropriately from any of the focus areas and/or from the wider SFIA framework
  • SFIA is designed to be flexible and to be easily adopted and adapted to different organisation structures and different job designs. This makes it an ideal resource to support your development and improvement of DevOps working practices. 

Set up DevOps culture and organisational capabilities

  • Leading the transition to DevOps culture and mindset
  • Removing artificial barriers between functions, departments and teams, development and operations
  • Re-designing jobs and re-skilling practitioners
  • Better communications and end to end ownership of customer outcomes to deliver value

Technical DevOps capabilities – using automation to drive velocity and quality

  • Designing and implementing practices such as continuous integration, continuous delivery,  microservices, infrastructure as code, monitoring and logging, communication and collaboration 
  • Continuous improvement and increased use of automation to drive velocity, quality, scalability, security

Adapting and operating organisational processes to support DevOps culture & ways of working

  • Beyond the technical automated capabilities; other changes to working practices are required to achieve the full benefit and to drive a different culture
  • It will depend on your overall organisation structure, but you are likely to need to look at departments, teams and roles beyond your core DevOps teams. The skill listed here provide a lead into that discussion.

Insights from using SFIA's competency-based approach

Using SFIA provides insights in how you can tackle the people and skills side of moving to DevOps e.g.

  • consider the impact of automating routine development and operational tasks. It is likely that the lower level of SFIA skills will no longer be required or significantly impacted. You should consider how to support your people so their skills can move vertically (increased competency e.g. to levels 3 and 4) or horizontally (take on different tasks at the same level). Examples of skills affected by automation of operational tasks.
    • Configuration management - levels 2 & 3
    • Testing - level 1
    • Systems integration and build - levels 2 & 3
    • Release and deployment - level 3
    • IT infrastructure - levels 1, 2 & 3
    • Database administration - level 2
  • developing multi-skilled, T-shaped people. You can make use of SFIA skills and skill levels to highlight the operational skills you want your developers to have and the development skills you want your operational roles to have. Or if you want everyone in the team to be complete allrounders you can do that too. The SFIA framework lets you define both the skills and competency levels to aim for, and provides a way to keep track of skills and encourage the development of a rounded set of skills in all your team members.
  • the DevOps world is overflowing with technical jargon, vendor's toolsets. When you are starting off or when you need to improve performance - think about the cultural and organisational change required. You will need to recruit or develop people with non-technical skills (e.g. Organisation design, Organisational capability development, Relationship management) or find them elsewhere in your organisation or use external resources.
  • distinguish the depth of knowledge required for a person from their required level of responsibility. You will need some deep experts in your team's tools and working practices. But the leadership roles in your organisations do not need to be technical experts - they will need to be operating at level 6 and 7. Most technical certification programmes aim to develop a depth of knowledge - if you take a look at the SFIA level 6 and level 7 definitions you will see that the definition of increased responsibility level is quite different to increased knowledge. 

Using SFIA to improve DevOps job descriptions.

SFIA provides a common language of skills and skill levels. It is very flexible and this enables organisations to design their own team structures, roles and job titles. They can then select the appropriate configuration of SFIA skills and competency levels to match. 

  • The SFIA skills for roles responsible for DevOps / DevSecOps should be selected based on an analysis of the role's accountabilities and responsibilities. 
  • To provide the necessary focus, aim for no more than 6 to 8 SFIA skills per role (less if possible) 
  • The required skills can be selected from the full range of skills in SFIA 
  • The skill levels chosen should be based on the responsibility levels of the role and aligned to SFIA's generic attributes for levels of responsibility

Focussing on job responsibilities, and the SFIA-defined professional skills and responsibility levels provide a much clearer definition of the requirements of the job. This, in turn, supports people management related activities such as recruitment, skills assessment, professional development, and performance management.

Listing of potential DevOps skills in SFIA

DevOps Focus area

SFIA Skill name

& hyperlink to full skill description for each lev

Short-form SFIA skill description

(1st few words only)

Levels of Responsibility
see full description for each skill level by following the link

Set up DevOps culture and organisational capabilities

Organisational capability development The provision of leadership, advice and implementation support to assess organisational capabilities ... 5 6 7
Organisation design and implementation The planning, design and implementation of an integrated organisation structure and culture including ... 5 6 7
Relationship management The systematic identification, analysis, management, monitoring and improvement of stakeholder relationships ... 4 5 6 7
Measurement The development and operation of a measurement capability to support agreed organisational information ... 3 4 5 6
Competency assessment The assessment of knowledge, skills and behaviours by any means whether formal or informal against frameworks ... 3 4 5 6
IT management The management of the IT infrastructure and resources required to plan for, develop, deliver and support ... 5 6 7
Systems development management The planning, estimating and execution of programmes of systems development work to time, budget and ... 5 6 7
Learning delivery The transfer of business and/or technical skills and knowledge and the promotion of professional attitudes ... 3 4 5

Technical DevOps capabilities
– using automation to drive velocity and quality

Configuration management The planning, management, control and governance of organisational, project and service assets and artefacts. ... 2 3 4 5 6
Programming/software development The planning, designing, creation, amending, verification, testing and documentation of new and amended ... 2 3 4 5 6
Testing The planning, design, management, execution and reporting of tests, using appropriate testing tools ... 1 2 3 4 5 6
Systems integration and build The planning, implementation and control of activities to integrate/build components, subsystems and ... 2 3 4 5 6
Release and deployment The management of the processes, systems and functions to package, build, test and deploy changes and ... 3 4 5 6
Database administration The installation, configuration, upgrade, administration, monitoring and maintenance of databases. Providing ... 2 3 4 5
IT infrastructure The operation and control of the IT infrastructure (comprising physical or virtual hardware, software, ... 1 2 3 4

Adapting and operating organisational processes
- to support DevOps culture & ways of working

Methods and tools The definition, tailoring, implementation, assessment, measurement, automation and improvement of methods ... 3 4 5 6
Product management The active management of products or services throughout their lifecycle (inception through to retirement) ... 3 4 5 6
Requirements definition and management The elicitation, analysis, specification and validation of requirements and constraints to a level that ... 2 3 4 5 6
Information security The selection, design, justification, implementation and operation of controls and management strategies ... 3 4 5 6 7
User experience evaluation Validation of systems, products or services, to assure that the stakeholder and organisational requirements ... 2 3 4 5 6
Change management The management of change to the service infrastructure including service assets, configuration items ... 2 3 4 5 6
Incident management The processing and coordination of appropriate and timely responses to incident reports, including channelling ... 2 3 4 5
Problem management The resolution (both reactive and proactive) of problems throughout the information system lifecycle, ... 3 4 5
Performance management The optimisation of performance of people, including determination of capabilities, integration into ... 4 5 6
Professional development The facilitation of the professional development of individuals, including initiation, monitoring, review ... 4 5 6
Knowledge management The systematic management of vital knowledge to create value for the organisation by capturing, sharing, ... 2 3 4 5 6 7