What all tech pros should know

Agile development practices may have been on the IT scene prior to 2001, but with the release of the Agile Manifesto that year, these strategies have become some of the most popular development techniques in enterprise IT – let alone the fact that businesses are paying employees great salaries for their knowledge of or experience using agile methods.

In today’s IT environment, agile development seems like an absolute necessity with the cloud and consumerization of IT trends setting close to impossible standards for availability and access. In fact, Gartner asserted that agile development is a fantastic way to support the evolution of digital business, and by adopting these techniques, organizations can deploy projects more quickly, deliver value faster and meet the modern need for constant innovation.

“Agile development is a better way to create software.”

The reason for agile development’s value is pretty clear: As the Agile Manifesto stated, it’s a better way to create software, famously favoring team members rather than relying solely on tools, prioritizing collaboration with end users over negotiating with them, providing functioning applications rather than keeping detailed documentation, and reacting to change instead of firmly sticking to game​ plans.

Of course, as with many development techniques, it’s all or nothing. This means – and Gartner supported this assertion – that teams must work in harmony in order to achieve success. A majority of agile methods rely on multiple groups and constant collaboration. Therefore, if tech pros demonstrate familiarity with and skills related to agile development techniques, they will inherently become valuable assets for any IT project.

Named after the collision of players in a rugby match, scrum is an agile development technique for managing and controlling projects and writing code quickly. As in rugby, it is a down-and-dirty approach in which two teams are given a specific job to complete in relation to another group of professionals and their task: One is in charge of optimizing product and the other develops it. And the scrum master leads it all.

The Scrum Alliance defined scrum as a “framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value,” and noted that there are three pillars: transparency, inspection and adaption. In other words, processes are broken down into components, and teams will use a single language and frequent meetings to communicate the status of the project.

A tech professional’s role in scrum processes varies greatly based on his or her skills and expertise, but across the board, Dice found that scrum-based jobs pay an average salary of around  $105,000, which represents a 2 percent rise year over year.

Agile development reinvents traditional programming processes.
Agile development reinvents traditional programming processes.

Extreme programming
While certainly not as cutting-edge as scrum or DevOps, eXtreme Programming – sometimes known simply as XP – has been gaining popularity since employees and consumers demand solutions as soon as possible nowadays.

Sarah Wood, co-founder and chief operations officer/chief marketing officer at Unruly, recently explained in a LinkedIn blog post how her company leveraged XP to help establish a culture of “innovation and agility” within the business. Wood described the agile method in brief.

“Developers code in pairs, follow a rapid two to three-week planning cycle and practice continuous delivery, releasing new features several times a day so we quickly learn what does and doesn’t work,” Wood wrote, later mentioning the critical nature of the paired development processes, since that’s what sets XP apart from other agile methods.

Much like other agile development techniques, tech professionals must work in close collaboration in order to achieve success. In fact, XP truly takes working together to the extreme, as Wood noted that “mobbing” is a practice in which members of the dev team take turns coding at the same screen, swapping out every hour, with hopes of improving the symmetry of information across offices.

“Developers definitely need to have skills in DevOps methodologies.”

Unless they have been actively avoiding the Internet, tech professionals should have at least heard of DevOps – an agile development technique that fuses dev and coding teams with quality assurance and operations. TechTarget asserted that developers definitely need to have skills in DevOps methodologies if their employer supports this agile method, and this type of expertise can even help programmers land a job. The source reported that some DevOps roles vary drastically, encompassing everything from coding to testing to system architecture.

In addition, DevOps and the cloud are commonly associated with one another, so it can’t hurt to brush up on cloud computing before tech professionals seek a job at a DevOps-enabled organization. Particularly, TechTarget highlighted the importance of Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud and Google Cloud Platform familiarity for all DevOps roles.

Agile development shouldn’t pose as challenge to tech professionals, but getting used to new development techniques might take some time. The good news is that there are a wealth of resources from which prospective IT employees can learn.

What all tech pros should know
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