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As the Role of the SRE Evolves, so Too Do Required Skills


The position of modern SRE is relatively new. Training courses and certifications offer a way to attain the needed skills.

Things have changed significantly since Google introduced the world to the role of a site reliability engineer (SRE) about 20 years ago. And the definition of what exactly an SRE is seems to be changing by the day, depending on the specific job listing.

The one thing everyone can agree on is that SRE’s are in big demand. A casual glance at any of the major job listings sites tells the story. A search for “site reliability engineer” in LinkedIn’s job search produces nearly 200,000 hits. The Dice tech careers site offers up nearly 500 current open slots.

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A quick review of the numerous listings points out a major challenge for anyone exploring the field for an opening. Simply put, the SRE job category is incredibly broad, with duties and required skills varying greatly from company to company. However, a common theme throughout is the need for the SRE to make use of modern tools based on observability versus traditional monitoring and management solutions.

See also: Reliability is the Backbone of Digital Business

Acquiring SRE skills

The skills required to be a site reliability engineer frequently change, as is the case with any technical position that is evolving. Those who want to keep their skill levels up (or acquire them for the first time) have many options.

Many online IT training sites offer introductory courses for system administrators and software engineers that want to become site reliability engineers. For example, there is the SRE – The Big Picture course offered by Udemy.

Another way to build skill sets and differentiate oneself would be to get an SRE-related certification. Several professional organizations offer such certifications. Some of the more commonly recognized ones include:

  • Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ). According to the ASQ, a CRE is a professional who understands the principles of performance evaluation and can improve product/systems safety, reliability, and maintainability.
  • Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Foundation certification from the DevOps Institute. Those passing the SRE Foundation Exam have demonstrated a knowledge of what makes SRE such an important discipline when practiced correctly and how it can improve both the stability and performance of enterprise applications.

Meeting the demands of modern business

The position of modern SRE is relatively new. There’s no predetermined or typical career path. Many enter the field with backgrounds in software development, operations, or IT system administrator roles. Training and certifications offer a way to attain needed skills.

Such skills are increasingly in demand as SREs can help organizations embrace digital transformation and deliver innovative applications and services to today’s demanding user base.

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Salvatore Salamone

About Salvatore Salamone

Salvatore Salamone is a physicist by training who has been writing about science and information technology for more than 30 years. During that time, he has been a senior or executive editor at many industry-leading publications including High Technology, Network World, Byte Magazine, Data Communications, LAN Times, InternetWeek, Bio-IT World, and Lightwave, The Journal of Fiber Optics. He also is the author of three business technology books.

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