SFIA View: DevOps view

DevOps view

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 organizations 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 organizational capabilities for DevOps
  • SFIA's design has built-in levels of responsibility in all of its skill definitions. This provides direct support to organizational 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 organizational 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 organization 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 organizational 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 organizational 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 organization 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 organizational change required. You will need to recruit or develop people with non-technical skills (e.g. organization design, organizational capability development, Relationship management) or find them elsewhere in your organization 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 organizations 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 organizations 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.