The Difference Between a Build and Release Engineer and a DevOps Engineer

As digital infrastructures become increasingly complex, the roles of engineers and developers have become increasingly specialized and less interchangeable within development teams. For example, a developer specializing in user experience (UX) may not have knowledge of security, and vice versa for a build and release engineer. So, what distinguishes a DevOps engineer from a build and release engineer? Let us first explore the fundamentals.

Many Years Ago

In the past, there was a clear division between user interface designers and IT operations staff when it came to developing software. A balance appeared to have been struck between the two, however, tensions between the two sides still remained.

The IT department often declined requests to upgrade applications, citing untested code as the reason for their refusal. This created difficulties for the development team, as accountability and responsibility were frequently shifted. It is worth noting that there was no one party to blame; the issue was that the work had not been divided properly.

In today’s digital world, engineering and programming professionals are readily available to fulfil any task requirements. However, it is important to have an experienced individual who is able to oversee the operation, ensuring that all team members are aligned, as well as designing and managing software functionality over time.

DevOps Engineers and Build and Release Engineers are the ideal professionals for the role you are looking to fill. This section will provide you with an overview of their responsibilities, whether you are looking to recruit or simply curious.

If you’re interviewing a prospective DevOps employee remotely, we’ve compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask.

DevOps vs. Build and Release Engineering: What’s the Deal?

DevOps is a strategy that assigns responsibility to developers for their code, from development to testing to production. This eliminates the need for assigning blame and opens up the opportunity for new organizational approaches. DevOps engineers are highly skilled in automation, extending beyond the scope of developer-operations collaboration.

Modern IT departments increasingly incorporate DevOps practices across all team structures and business ethos. Build and release engineers, while not necessarily part of DevOps, are responsible for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of both physical and digital systems. Specializing in the creation of software suites applicable to a range of industries, they work in tandem with DevOps, production staff, software developers and quality assurance specialists to set up and deploy applications.

Release Engineers specialize in the build and release process and are an important part of the DevOps team. To use an analogy, if Quality Assurance teams, business groups and developers are the spokes of a wheel, then Release Engineering is the hub. DevOps Engineering acts as the hub, connecting the spokes and helping to maximize productivity.

Let’s take a closer look at what they’re supposed to be doing.

The Function and Duties of DevOps Engineers

DevOps Engineers are highly skilled in automating processes in order to facilitate efficient coordination and testing of code between developers. This is an integral part of their role, enabling cross-functional collaboration and providing an efficient mechanism for the completion of tasks, similar to the function of the cogs and gears of a clock.

Functions and Duties

  • DevOps engineering promotes a developer-focused approach to connecting the different stages of software development and establishing team-wide coding standards. This necessitates the setup of the necessary infrastructure.
  • DevOps integrates configuration management at every stage of the company, while release engineers focus only on software products.
  • Using CI/CD, DevOps hopes to hasten the pace at which routine IT processes are automated.
  • DevOps are responsible for both monitoring and testing, collecting data to enable ongoing product optimisations, and ensuring the successful deployment of such optimisations across multiple departments.
  • By keeping an eye on the final result, DevOps checks to see whether the product’s quality is up to par.
  • Software health and safety monitoring is what we mean by “security.”

DevOps Abilities & Equipment

  • Ability to work as a team and communicate effectively
  • Effective problem-solving abilities
  • Focus on Specifics
  • Abilities in planning and scheduling
  • Multitasking
  • Combining the tenets of Agile with the rigors of DevOps.
  • Different Types of Programming languages:
    • Distributed Version Control System Git and Host Service GitHub Computer program administration (Version Control System)
    • Jenkins: Server-side automation (plug-ins for continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines).
    • Selenium: Software testing automation
    • Docker: System for Managing Containerized Software
    • Kubernetes: Software for managing and coordinating containers.
    • Puppet: Management and Application of Configurations.
    • Chef: System Administration and Rollout of Changes.
    • Ansible: Deployment and Management of Configurations.
    • Nagios: Ongoing Scrutiny.

The Function and Duties of a Build and Release Engineer

Release engineering is focused on deploying software in a reliable and repeatable way, in order to enhance productivity. They place a greater emphasis on the implementation of software architecture and collaborate with other teams to identify potential issues.

Functions and Duties

  • By utilising version control repositories such as Git, Subversion and Perforce, build and release engineers are able to ensure that code is kept up-to-date and closely monitored.
  • Building and releasing software more quickly and reliably via the use of automated technologies.
  • Software Lifecycle Management is ensured through Configuration Management, which monitors the code throughout its development stages (testing, staging and production).
  • To understand where a particular change in the code came from, it is important to keep track of the details throughout production and rollout.

Acquire Knowledge, Create Resources, Share

  • Knowledge of databases, networking, and computer operating systems; ability to program; experience utilizing Linux or Unix in the development process
  • Taking a look at the software’s build architecture’s source code
  • Developing add-ons that enhance automation
  • Troubleshooting automation problems
  • Determining and fixing bugs in freshly released software requires extensive testing.
  • Analysis-based thinking
  • Having the ability to work together and communicate effectively
  • Ability to Communicate
  • Managing one’s time
  • Management of Change

Who Should You Hire for Your Project? A Build and Release Engineer or a DevOps Engineer?

It is essential to clearly define the roles and responsibilities when forming a team. Firstly, an agreement should be made on the necessary duties and skills required to fulfil the positions. After this has been established, the next step is to identify the most suitable individual to take on the role.

A Build and Release Engineer can assist in improving software productivity at a consistent rate, as well as in establishing a software architecture incrementally. DevOps Engineers can provide support in synchronizing IT departments and creating an automated system for the testing and development of code.

It is imperative to assess the character and experience of a developer from the outset of the recruitment process, regardless of whether it is virtual or in-person. Consider the candidate’s potential for fitting in with the existing team members in the long-term. Although finding the perfect individual to join your team may be difficult, the effort is worth it as it will bring the desired results.

Our experienced team has been in the remote recruitment business for more than a decade and we are confident that we can help you to find the perfect Build and Release or DevOps engineer within two weeks, no matter your requirements. We would be delighted to share our knowledge and expertise with you, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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