Survey: Balancing Technical and Team-Building Skills Are Key Attributes for an Effective Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

Catchpoint Survey of 400+ SREs Highlights Evolving Role, Need for Strong Collaboration, plus Laser Focus on Availability and Automation

Catchpoint is a Silver Sponsor of SREcon18 Americas, Santa Clara, CA, March 27-29

NEW YORK--()--Catchpoint™, the digital experience monitoring (DEM) expert, today released findings of a global survey of site reliability engineers (SRE) which found this relatively new IT position is best served by those with a mix of technical and non-technical skills, particularly team building centered on problem solving.

“We find ourselves working more and more with SREs because that role so clearly aligns with Catchpoint’s customer-centric mission: to help organizations deliver exceptional digital experiences and to optimize IT performance. The SRE role will keep expanding with AIOPs and Observability requirements in the very near future.”

LinkedIn currently features over 1,000 job listings for SREs, but there is often confusion regarding exactly what this position entails. The survey of 416 professionals with the title or responsibility of an SRE was conducted by Catchpoint in January and February of 2018 with the goal of creating a current, real-world profile of an SRE: What is their role? What skills are required? How is their time spent? Core survey findings include:

  • Problem-solving, teamwork, composure under pressure, and strong written or verbal skills regarding incident resolution, are needed to be an effective SRE;
  • 65 percent of SREs are deploying code at least once a day, and almost half (47 percent) report deploying new code multiple times per day;
  • Automation was flagged as the most important technical skill for an SRE;
  • Availability is the most important service indicator, with alerting and notification solutions topping the list of must-have tools;
  • SREs both write code and support existing systems, yet most SREs report to software engineering as opposed to IT operations; this is surprising since a larger proportion of SREs have an IT operations background.

The full survey report is available here: http://pages.catchpoint.com/2018-SRE-Report.html

“The SRE role is still evolving. We found that some SREs are very happy with their position, but others are struggling to explain their role within the organization,” comments Dawn Parzych, director of product and solutions marketing at Catchpoint. “We also found that SREs are present in companies of all sizes and hail from a variety of backgrounds, and the ideal SRE doesn’t need to be a generalist.”

More Room for Automation: While 92 percent of respondents listed automation as the top technical skill required of an SRE, only 18 percent said their teams have automated every aspect of their operation, indicating that additional machine-automated practices in monitoring, testing or other disciplines are needed. The 90 percent who said they cannot live without alerting and notification tools is consistent with the finding that availability is the most important service indicator.

Google established the formal position of SRE in an attempt to bring stability to its fast-moving production needs. Site reliability engineering comprises aspects of software development and IT operations, with responsibility for protecting and progressing both. The SRE is often the single point of responsibility and arbiter between the Dev and Ops teams, with the end-goal of ensuring reliable, low latency applications even in a continuous delivery environment.

While an organization’s need for SREs was evident throughout the survey’s findings, the cultural shifts were noted as a concern. One SRE commented, “Moving from traditional ops to SRE can be a challenging cultural change - both for the engineers’ changing role, and the wider teams and departments they sit in. We are still working through that transition and have found measurable attributes the best for evidencing why SRE is a more efficient and effective methodology than traditional IT ops.”

“Site reliability engineering was inevitable in an era of complex infrastructures where always-available and speed is paramount. SREs will continue playing a huge role in any organization’s success,” comments Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder of Catchpoint. “We find ourselves working more and more with SREs because that role so clearly aligns with Catchpoint’s customer-centric mission: to help organizations deliver exceptional digital experiences and to optimize IT performance. The SRE role will keep expanding with AIOPs and Observability requirements in the very near future.”

About Catchpoint

Catchpoint is revolutionizing end-user experience monitoring to help companies deliver amazing digital experiences. Our platform provides complete visibility into your users’ experiences from anywhere – and real-time intelligence into your applications and services to detect and fix issues faster. We are proud to partner with digital innovators like Google, L'Oréal, Verizon, Oracle, LinkedIn, Honeywell, Priceline, and Qualtrics, who trust Catchpoint to improve their brand experience and drive their business success. See how Catchpoint can reduce your Mean Time to Detect at www.catchpoint.com/freetrial.

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Kristina LeBlanc, 508-930-5636
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