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    DevOps vs. Agile: Differences Developers Should Know

    By The Fullstack Academy Team

    A project manager reviews an agile framework board on a monitor.

    DevOps and agile are two approaches to solving problems and improving communication and collaboration in software development projects. Before selecting an approach, developers should know the differences between the two. An investigation of DevOps vs. agile enables developers to identify which approach best fits their organizational objectives.

    A historical review of DevOps vs. agile reveals that agile methodology came first, and was widely adopted in the 2000s by software development teams. However, agile mainly focused on development, leaving operations teams―responsible for deploying and managing software products―out of the loop. The DevOps approach was created to help ensure development and operations teams work together.

    While a comparison of DevOps vs. agile highlights differences, it also reveals similarities. For example, the primary aim of both agile and DevOps is to accelerate software development while ensuring quality is not compromised. Both approaches can coexist, or developers can use one method to complement the other to optimize the software development process. For example, the agile framework allows for rapid changes to evolving requirements, while DevOps enables frequent releases through automation and integration; a combination of the two may work best for a certain project.

    What Is DevOps?

    DevOps is a set of combined practices (within development and operations) that aims to shorten the time frame for and maximize the efficiency of software development projects by promoting collaboration and facilitating communication and feedback throughout the development life cycle.

    Organizations embrace DevOps to optimize activities —including the testing, deployment, and monitoring of software—through a constant collaborative cycle. A survey from Redgate Software shows that nearly 75% of organizations use DevOps in their software development, highlighting the growing importance of the approach to improving software delivery and operational performance.

    While fostering a collaborative environment across development and operations teams is the core principle of DevOps, the approach also aims to achieve the following:

    • Accountability. Both development and operations teams are accountable for the software application from beginning to end.

    • Continuous improvement. Automating all the necessary steps for making changes and streamlining processes to achieve high performance, lower costs, and accelerated delivery allows for continuous improvement.

    • Focus on the customer. Teams remain flexible to meet ever-changing consumer demands, and when necessary, pivot to a strategy that helps ensure customer satisfaction.

    What Is Agile?

    Agile is an iterative methodology for managing software development and other complex projects.

    The agile methodology became popular in the 2000s because it helped overcome the challenges of the most common development process of that era: the waterfall method, which focused first on documentation and strict procedures. Agile freed developers to focus more on collaboration and enabled them to better adjust to changing requirements and scenarios as is typical in software development.

    A key characteristic of agile is that it consists of small teams that can respond to changes quickly. Additional traits of agile include:

    • Agility. In agile development environments, teams are prepared to address needed changes at any time without slowing down progress.

    • Customer feedback. Regular communication and collaboration with the customer help to create a continuous feedback loop to ensure customer requirements are met by the final product.

    • Use of frameworks. Common frameworks used in agile include Scrum, a project management framework, and Kanban, a workflow management approach. With Scrum, teams set sprints and intervals that enable the quick integration of customer feedback into processes. Kanban allows development teams to visualize their work and identify opportunities to improve workflows.

    • Limited dependence on documentation. While documentation is still present, it isn’t of primary importance; spending too much time on it can limit an organization’s ability to deliver software, the primary purpose of agile software development.

    DevOps vs. Agile: Benefits of Each

    A comparison of DevOps vs. agile reveals differences. Agile focuses on ensuring the efficiency of the developers’ workflow and the development process. On the other hand, DevOps looks to include operations teams into the development process to ensure customer demands, in terms of requirements, delivery, and more, are met.

    However, DevOps and agile both rely on regularly communicating and collaborating with teammates and essential stakeholders to ensure the success of projects.

    Whether DevOps or agile approaches are used in tandem, they are used separately, or only one of them is used, organizations can achieve key benefits including:

    • Ensuring quality deliverables. With an emphasis on testing and automation, each approach can help ensure that the final product is high quality.

    • Better productivity. Collaborating on both of these approaches means that teams and individuals are connected throughout the process to share information, uncover issues, and solve problems, faster and easier.

    • Meeting end-user demand. In the end, both approaches aim to empower teams and create efficient processes to ensure customer demands are met.

    DevOps vs. Agile: Salary and Job Growth

    For individuals weighing DevOps vs. agile for their career, it’s worth considering the data about salaries and job growth.

    DevOps engineers earn a median annual salary of $109,909 as of 2022, and the number of jobs are projected to grow 25.5% between 2022 and 2032, according to Burning Glass.

    Payscale reports that agile project managers had a median annual salary of about $92,100 as of February 2022. Jobs for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers (which covers agile developers) are expected to increase 22% between 2020 and 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The Future Looks Bright for Both DevOps and Agile Developers

    With the rapid pace of technological advancements and the need to meet the evolving demands of knowledge customers, development teams are always looking to find innovative approaches to solving problems and achieving business objectives such as lower costs and faster customer deliveries.

    Are you looking to take the first step toward a thriving career in DevOps or agile software development? Fullstack Academy’s online bootcamps expose students to an immersive environment that enables students to learn the key skills necessary to enhance their careers and make an impact.

    Learn how Fullstack Academy's online bootcamps can prepare you to succeed in your tech career.

    Recommended Readings

    3 Common Barriers to a Successful Career Change—and How to Work Through Them

    A Day in the Life of a Remote Fullstack Cyber Student

    How to Create an Eye-Catching Fullstack Developer Resume


    Atlassian, “Agile vs. DevOps”

    BizTech, “DevOps vs. Agile Development: What Methodology Is Right for You?”

    CMSWire, “7 Key Principles for a Successful DevOps Culture”

    Guru99, “Agile vs. DevOps: What’s The Difference?”

    InfoWorld, “What Is Agile Methodology? Modern Software Development Explained”

    PayScale, Average Agile Project Manager Salary

    PayScale, Average Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer Salary

    PhoenixNAP, “DevOps vs Agile: Differences + Head to Head Comparison”

    Redgate Software, “The 2021 State of Database DevOps”

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers