Wednesday, May 08 2019

The Skills You Need to Become an SRE in Silicon Valley

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Site reliability engineers (SREs) have actually been around for longer than DevOps specialists. The concept was created by Google in 2003 and, when the initial project was successful, other organizations added the SRE role to their ranks.

For many, the idea of becoming an SRE is intriguing. The work comes with many engaging challenges, and the positions are typically very lucrative. In Silicon Valley, the average SRE annual salary comes in around $145,000. Those in the upper tiers can even cross the $200,000 mark, which shows just how much you can earn once you have a substantial amount of experience in the field.

SREs do need a strong skill set, and typically a very diverse one. If you are wondering what skills you need to bring to the table to become an SRE in Silicon Valley, here’s what you need to know.


An SRE needs to be well versed in a broad selection of systems, though precisely which ones may vary from one position to the next. In some cases, an understanding of networking and the Linux kernel or Unix shell could be a must. Many companies have embraced cloud solutions as well, so having experience with Google’s Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure Cloud, or another cloud solution can help you stand out. Similarly, you may need to be familiar with algorithms, scaling, or distributed systems.

The ability to design, build, and maintain critical infrastructure is commonly part of the role, so you will need a skill set that allows you to accomplish those tasks. Familiarity with a configuration management system, such as Chef, could also be a requirement.



Infrastructure automation often falls into the wheelhouse of SREs. It isn’t uncommon to be expected to create self-service tools for a wide range of user groups, and support activities like test environment provisioning, statistics visualizations, and event logging.

Additionally, the use of automated measuring and monitoring solutions can help SREs increase overall reliability, which is a core function of the role. Building new metrics may also be a fundamental part of your duties, so understanding the creation and implementation process is a must.


Soft Skills

While having the right technical capabilities is essential, an SRE also needs a selection of soft skills to help them thrive in their position. Problem-solving ability is one of the most critical, particularly since an SRE may need to solve unique issues with little guidance. Strong teamwork skills are also important, largely because few SREs work entirely on their own.

You also shouldn’t underestimate the value of both written and verbal communication skills. Being able to articulate complex concepts and share information with less tech-savvy individuals could allow you to excel in the job, so many hiring managers seek out candidates who have solid communication skills.


Find Your Next Job with the Help of The Armada Group!

Ultimately, all of the skills above are crucial if you want to become an SRE in Silicon Valley. If you’d like to learn more about becoming an SRE or want to hear about current job openings, the staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our recruiters today and see how our technical expertise can benefit you.