Platform operations engineers typically work in a business's network operations center, overseeing the functioning of large networks consisting of thousands of servers. The engineers are responsible for making sure that service is not interrupted and that performance metrics are met. They may be responsible for installing tools and making configuration changes to network software.
Some engineers may perform similar services specifically for cloud and big data platforms rather than the general corporate network; other firms use the title to refer to engineers who support specific applications. In all cases, the job function requires maintaining uptime and capacity to handle business needs.
Education and Skills Required
An undergraduate degree in a technical field is typically necessary. The engineer should be very familiar with operating systems, networking, and communications protocols. While programming in high-level languages isn't necessary, platform operations engineers often need to write scripts to perform routine functions or extract information from log files. They should be familiar with shell and other common interpreted scripting languages such as Python.
Platform operations engineers supporting specific cloud, big data, or application platforms need to understand the functioning of the specific tool and environment. Vendor-provided training and certifications help engineers learn the necessary skills.
Platform operations engineers need good communications skills. They may need to interact with nontechnical managers to explain technical issues in an easily understandable way. They should be able to think creatively and remain calm under pressure when working to resolve critical production issues. Operations problems often occur at inconvenient hours, so engineers should expect to be on call around the clock.
Entry-level platform operations engineers will work under the guidance of more senior colleagues to understand the network topography or application, monitoring tools, and how to respond appropriately to systems alerts. With experience, senior platform operations engineers work more independently to analyze systems and help architect network and application changes. Management roles oversee the team's work and ensure that changes and service levels are aligned with corporate strategy.