DevOps Engineer

Why a DevOps Engineer Firebrand Apprenticeship?

Employers need DevOps Engineer apprenticeships because...

  • Apprenticeships deliver the digital skills you need across your organisation. Whether it's hiring more skilled employees or improving the quality of existing staff's technical know-how, Firebrand’s apprenticeships bring new skills into the workplace quickly
  • Your people will engage with your business. Apprenticeships accelerate the speed and quality of key business projects by increasing the number of staff with skills to deliver them. Apprentices see they're making a difference, making them want to stay at their company for longer
  • Apprentices want to learn more. Your digital workforce need to be ready to keep up with the pace of technology change. A recent Government survey found 73% of digital apprentices plan to undertake further study within three years

Apprentices need DevOps Engineer apprenticeships because...

  • You'll be ready for anything. IT apprenticeships teach and test the core skills that enable you to work effectively across a range of products. Once you've mastered the main concepts, you’ll extend your skills in current and future technologies used at work.
  • It makes you better at your job. Firebrand's programme helps you develop new knowledge about your job, gain new skills and embed new behaviours to help you make a greater contribution to your employer.
  • It's valued by your industry. More and more employers are recognising the value apprentices bring to their organisation. An apprenticeship badges you as a forward-thinking, highly skilled individual who is willing to keep learning - all key traits employers want to see in their digital staff

Firebrand's DevOps Engineer apprenticeship delivers...

  • Industry-recognised quality. Our apprenticeships combine the core digital skills businesses need with the product knowledge learners want, giving apprentices a strong technical grounding and making them instantly productive
  • The skills you want. Customise programmes by adding product training and certification for apprentices to support business needs. Firebrand's programmes teach apprentices as much about successful application of systems as they do about mastering functionality
  • Great results. Firebrand's training delivers some of the best results in the sector - over 90% retention for the past two years, above-average pass rates across all standards and one-third of apprentices achieving Distinction (national average 21%).

Find out more about IT apprenticeships here

What is a DevOps Engineer Firebrand Apprenticeship?

How will apprentices learn?

Firebrand's apprenticeship training is delivered through a combination of market-leading residential training, online learning and targeted support from our in-house subject experts:

Residential Training

A suite of Firebrand's proprietary training courses, delivered at our state-of-the-art facility in Wyboston Lakes, Bedfordshire. Courses cover all requirements of the knowledge modules for the standard, ensuring a strong grounding in the core skills of the role.

Once all knowledge exams are complete, apprentices will have the opportunity to undertake a course of their choice, providing additional depth of knowledge.

Personal Development, Behaviour and Attitudes

We support the personal development, behaviour and welfare of all apprentices through accredited online programme Impact. This video-led modular course will help apprentices develop their awareness and understanding of challenges they may encounter in the workplace and wider society. Learning content is linked to current events to provide real-world context. On completion of Impact, apprentices receive certification that contributes to their summative portfolio of evidence, showing how they have fulfilled key behavioural development criteria of the standard.


When not undertaking formal training, apprentices will be learning at work, applying their skills to business-specific projects and gaining a deeper appreciation of their role and business through off-the-job activity.

What's the process?

  • Onboarding activity – supported by our Enrolment and Administration Teams, apprentices and employers will undergo all necessary checks to ensure the apprentice can succeed on programme
  • First Day of Learning webinar – this online session, led by a Learning Mentor, outlines the apprentice's journey from initial meeting to End Point Assessment and the expectations of all parties involved
  • Learning Journey – the apprentice undertakes formal and informal learning over 13 months, covering, applying and recording all the competencies required to pass their apprenticeship. Residential training, online learning and Subject Matter Expert sessions will be spaced regularly, giving apprentices time to apply one skillset effectively before learning another. Progress is reviewed during formal sessions approximately every 10 weeks.
  • End Point Assessment – the final review, conducted by an independent body, of whether the apprentice has met all the competencies required to pass the standard. This includes a reference from the employer, portfolio of evidence, knowledge tests and final interview with an assessor. End Point Assessment activities are completed over approximately 12 weeks.

Who's on hand to help?

Firebrand provide wrap-round support to ensure apprentices' technical, learning and personal needs are met. Every apprentice is supported throughout their qualification by a Learning Mentor, a former industry professional who understands exactly what it's like to work in the sector and can advise on how to evidence the required knowledge, skills and behaviours through the work apprentices do every day. Our Course Instructors deliver residential training, while in-depth information on subject-specific topics and industry insight is provided by Subject Matter Experts.

What happens at the end?

An apprenticeship is a recognised benchmark of skills and knowledge that allows an apprentice to:

  • Acquire professional accreditation (e.g. BCS Register of IT Technicians (RITTech))
  • Continue their apprenticeship studies at a higher level
  • Undertake further professional training to develop additional product knowledge and skills. Visit Firebrand's commercial training pages for details of how our accelerated training could support life after an apprenticeship.

Become an IT apprentice employer now

Reviews of Firebrand Apprenticeships

Feedback shows our approach is delivering the tangible benefits outlined above for both employers and apprentices. We are proud to work with and receive great recognition from our customers. Today we're actively helping employers and apprentices acquire better skills, be more engaged and make clear contributions to their business outcomes.

Apprenticeships deliver new skills…

The best thing about my apprenticeship? Seeing the progression from how you were when you started. Working on the job, you’re gaining skills constantly – you look at how far you’ve come and what you can do now. Level 4 Software Developer apprentice

A real-world approach delivers results…

My first cohort delivered a presentation on their live project to a local MP who came in, and he was blown away by the work these apprentices were doing, given that some of them hadn't coded up until that point. This was quite early on in their apprenticeship, month 4 or 5. They had more confidence than more experienced employees and they had a much more natural pattern than other people who have been here years. That was a bit of a light bulb moment, seeing what they could achieveLine Manager, Transport for London

Hiring apprentices promotes retention…

With graduates, they come in sometimes and they just want to keep moving on to the next thing, gaining promotion after promotion. coming in at a younger age and gaining the skills within the team means he’s settled with us and hopefully we’ll get to keep him a lot longer. Team Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

Firebrand’s people know the industry inside out…

The instructors on the courses are all excellent and brilliant. They have so much experience behind them. Not only are you learning on the job, you’re listening to them and their personal experiences which are always so interesting. Level 3 Infrastructure Technician apprentice

Training for the industry is better than training to the minimum requirement…

I saw some of the work that came out of [my apprentice’s] Java course, which was very good; exactly what we needed from him. He probably picked up a few things that he won’t be using day to day, but it gives him that extra depth of knowledge which makes him more confident when he comes to use the technology. Line Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

Apprenticeships train engaged people with the right skills…

Ultimately, one of the big reasons we're doing apprenticeships is to home-grow the exact kind of person we want, with the exact kind of skills. The more effort you put in…the more likely you are to get the kind of person you know will then be able to go anywhere within your organisation. Line Manager, Transport for London

Daniel is currently on his level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship with Firebrand, and is due to complete his programme in 2018:

DevOps Engineer Overview

This occupation is found in a wide and diverse range of public and private sector organisations, from tech start ups through government departments to multinationals. Essentially any organisation of any size that builds and/or operates modern IT services.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to enable organisations to get valuable working software out in front of active users, both external and internal, frequently and safely, reducing time to market, delivering increased value - both with respect to the end user and the business - and improving the quality of digital services. 

Apprentices take responsibility for all aspects of the development and operations process - the design, build, test, implement, release and continual iteration of products. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with other members of agile development teams, other areas within the organisation’s IT department and business areas, as well as 3rd-party suppliers.  This is an office based or remote working role, with co-location preferable.

Typical job titles include DevOps Engineer, Infrastructure Engineer, Platform Engineer, Reliability Engineer, Site Reliability Engineer, Build and Release Engineer, Automation Engineer, Full Stack Developer, Deployment Engineer.

Technical Skills

Upon completion of their DevOps Engineer apprenticeship, individuals will be able to:

  • Script and code in at least one general purpose language and at least one domain-specific language to orchestrate infrastructure, follow test driven development and ensure appropriate test coverage.
  • Initiate and facilitate knowledge sharing and technical collaboration with teams and individuals, with a focus on supporting development of team members.
  • Engage in productive pair/mob programming to underpin the practice of peer review.
  • Work as part of an agile team, and explore new ways of working, rapidly responding to changing user needs and with a relentless focus on the user experience. Understand the importance of continual improvement within a blameless culture.
  • Build and operate a Continuous Integration (CI) capability, employing version control of source code and related artefacts.
  • Implement and improve release automation & orchestration, often using Application Programming Interfaces (API), as part of a continuous delivery and continuous deployment pipeline, ensuring that team(s) are able to deploy new code rapidly and safely.
  • Provision cloud infrastructure using APIs, continually improve infrastructure-as-code, considering use of industry leading technologies as they become available (e.g. Serverless, Containers).
  • Evolve and define architecture, utilising the knowledge and experience of the team to design in an optimal user experience, scalability, security, high availability and optimal performance.
  • Apply leading security practices throughout the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).
  • Implement a good coverage of monitoring (metrics, logs), ensuring that alerts are visible, tuneable and actionable.
  • Keep up with cutting edge by committing to continual training and development - utilise web resources for self-learning; horizon scanning; active membership of professional bodies such as Meetup Groups; subscribe to relevant publications.
  • Look to automate any manual tasks that are repeated, often using APIs.
  • Accept ownership of changes; embody the DevOps culture of 'you build it, you run it', with a relentless focus on the user experience.

Technical Knowledge and Understanding

Upon completion of their DevOps Engineer apprenticeship, individuals will understand:

  • Continuous Integration - the benefits of frequent merging of code, the creation of build artefacts and ensuring all tests pass, with automation throughout - including common tooling.
  • The principles of distributed Source Control, including how to exploit the features of the tool, such as branching.
  • How to use data ethically and the implications for wider society, with respect to the use of data, automation and artificial intelligence within the context of relevant data protection policy and legislation.
  • The business value of DevOps in terms of Time, Cost, Quality, with an emphasis on building in internal Quality throughout the lifetime of the product.
  • A range of modern security tools and techniques - e.g. threat modelling, vulnerability scanning and dependency checking, with a general awareness of penetration testing - in order to deal with threats and attack vectors within code and across the cyber domain.
  • A range of problem solving techniques appropriate to the task at hand, such as affinity mapping, impact maps, plan-do-check-act/Deming.
  • General purpose programming and infrastructure-as-code.
  • Immutable infrastructure and how it enables continuous refreshing of software, namely the updating of the operating system, container and security patching.
  • Different organisational cultures, the development frameworks utilised and how they can both complement each other and introduce constraints on delivery.
  • How the user experience sits at the heart of modern development practices in terms of strategies to understand diverse user needs, accessibility and how to drive adoption.
  • Monitoring and alerting technologies and an awareness of the insights that can be derived from the infrastructure and applications - collecting logs and metrics, configuring alerting thresholds, firing alerts and visualising data.
  • The persistence/data layer, including which database/storage technologies are appropriate to each platform type and application when considering non-functional and functional needs; e.g. monolith, microservice, read heavy, write heavy, recovery plans.
  • Automation techniques, such as scripting and use of APIs.
  • Test Driven Development and the Test Pyramid.  How the practice is underpinned by unit testing, the importance of automation, appropriate use of test doubles and mocking strategies, reducing a reliance on end-to-end testing.
  • The principles and application of Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment, including the differences between them.
  • How best to secure data; e.g. encryption in transit, encryption at rest and access control lists (ACL).
  • What an API is, how to find them and interpret the accompanying documentation.
  • Roles within a multidisciplinary team and the interfaces with other areas of an organisation.
  • Different methods of communication and choosing the appropriate one - e.g. face-to-face (synchronous, high bandwidth), instant messaging, email (asynchronous, low bandwidth), visualisations vs. words.
  • Pair/mob programming techniques and when to use each technique.
  • Architecture principles, common patterns and common strategies for translating user needs into both cloud infrastructure and application code.
  • How their occupation fits into the wider digital landscape and any current or future regulatory requirements.
  • The importance of continual improvement within a blameless culture.
  • The difference between Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) v bespoke v enterprise tooling and how to make an informed choice that suits each use case.
  • Maintain an awareness of cloud certification requirements.

Behaviours

  • Exhibits enthusiasm, openness and an aptitude for working as part of a collaborative community; e.g. sharing best practice, pairing with team members, learning from others and engaging in peer review practices.
  • Invests time and effort in their own development, recognising that technology evolves at a rapid rate.
  • Displays a commitment to the mantra 'You build it, you run it', taking ownership of deployed code and being accountable for its continual improvement, learning from experience and taking collective responsibility when things fail.
  • Is inclusive, professional and maintains a blameless culture.

Level

This is a level 4 apprenticeship

Duration

The duration of this Firebrand apprenticeship is 16 months. Because this period involves both training and the final End Point Assessment (some of which must be carried out in the workplace), employers need to ensure the apprentice’s contract covers the full programme duration.

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What are the benefits of a DevOps Engineer Apprenticeship?

Firebrand’s digital apprenticeships deliver new skills while supporting both the individual and their employer. Benefit from award-winning training supported by on-going guidance along the way with digital apprenticeships that create valuable, long-lasting employees.

Benefits to employers

Improved retention rate - 69% of companies say digital apprenticeships improve retention*. Apprentices are completely engaged by employers, knowing they’re highly valued employees. Employees find themselves in a marketplace where their hard-won digital skills are highly valuable and in demand.

Always learning - 73% of digital apprentices expect to undertake further study within two to three years*. With increasing digital transformation, apprentices continue to master new technologies and processes. Having digital workers that are focused on developing their skills will better position businesses around new technologies, like updated cloud platforms.

Tailor your training - Get business-specific skills alongside apprenticeship requirements. The flexibility of Firebrand’s delivery allows employers to select training options that align most closely with the existing technology stack to work on current projects. Where applicable, employers can embed specific vendor products, like Microsoft, into apprenticeships to deliver a greater depth of learning.

Happier employees - Apprentices feel valued with their new digital skills. 78% of digital apprentices reported improved job satisfaction, job security and career prospects*.This satisfaction increases productivity and happiness in the workplace, benefitting employers by increasing employee engagement.

Networking and peer learning - Firebrand’s residential training centre delivers award-winning public courses to industry professionals. Learning takes place alongside individuals from different organisations with varying levels of experience. Apprentices benefit from receiving a valuable insight into how their skills are applied in different contexts.

Watch the video below to see how Firebrand's digital apprenticeships help employers hire and train current and future staff:



Benefits to apprentices

Real world skills - Apprentices benefit from learning up-to-date digital skills in a time of rapid digitalisation. They develop technical knowledge and industry insight through practical learning and real life application. Become an expert in different technologies and a valuable asset to the team.

Investment in your career - Digital apprenticeships are a career investment – with Firebrand you’re committing to the highest quality IT training. This investment is the first step toward a rewarding future with an employer as they commit time and money in the learner's skills development. Digital apprentices feel so valued in their workplace that 89% of them said that they want to stay at the same employer for the next two to three years*.

Learn while at work - An apprenticeship combines a full-time job with formal learning. New and existing staff can benefit from the opportunity to learn while continuing to work, getting new skills without having to study on evenings or weekends.

Support a career change - Digital apprenticeships provide the skills to move into new IT roles, giving more control of the learner's digital career path. Move seamlessly between roles in an organisation without experience of a particular field, or using experience of other digital roles in a related field.

Never forget again - Digital apprenticeships reinforce learning. They’re built on the principle of learning and immediately using skills that will help apprentices do their job better. Quality programmes incorporate structured training and project activity to apply and demonstrate new skills. 90% of regular learning is forgotten within 3 to 6 days, unless it’s regularly reinforced. Firebrand’s training style helps gain skills more quickly, retaining and using them more effectively.

Watch the video below to find out how digital apprenticeships with Firebrand can kickstart careers:


*according to the 2017 Apprenticeships Evaluation for the Department for Education

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DevOps Engineer Curriculum

The information below outlines the training curriculum delivered for each Knowledge Module through Firebrand's residential classroom-based training and online learning modules.


Curriculum

We’ll be rolling out this programme in Spring 2020. Contact us for further details of the classroom-based, live and online learning included in the apprenticeship.

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Who can enroll on a DevOps Engineer apprenticeship?

Is there an upper age limit for someone that wants to go on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol as long as they’re over 16 - there’s no upper age limit. With a desire to learn and a real interest in IT, Firebrand will teach individuals everything else they need to know to succeed.

What's the minimum educational criteria for entry onto Firebrand's apprenticeship programme?

We don't set specific educational criteria - all our programmes are designed to upskill individuals with no prior experience. We only require apprentices to pass the Functional Skills diagnostic prior to enrolling on the programme (see below).

It's up to an employer whether they wish to specify any particular qualifications or experience (such as GCSEs or a relevant lower-level apprenticeship) as part of their application process.

I have someone that I want to put on an apprenticeship but they have no GCSEs in English and Maths. Can they still enrol on an apprenticeship programme?

Individuals can enrol on an apprenticeship without GCSEs. However, they will be required to pass a Level 2 Functional Skills assessment in both English and Maths as part of their apprenticeship.

During enrolment, we'll ask apprentices to take an online test to determine whether they meet Level 2 standards in English and Maths, before they start the programme. As long as they reach this standard, they can begin the programme. Our Functional Skills tutor will work with them to ensure they pass the exams during the first months of their apprenticeship.

My potential apprentice has an IT based degree. Are they eligible?

Possibly. We look at every case individually to see whether an individual's previous learning makes them suitable for an apprenticeship. In most cases, as long as there is clear evidence that an individual requires the skills to do their job and has not received previous training in most of those specified, then they are eligible. Even where an individual has some of the skills required, we may be able to adjust the programme (and the price) so they can get the training they need.

However, as apprenticeships are intended for individuals who need to learn skills from scratch, Firebrand’s digital programmes may not be suitable if candidates have extensive qualifications or work experience that cover the skills to be taught in the programme.

My apprentice doesn't want to learn through residential training. Can we still use Firebrand as a provider?

Not really. Our residential training courses are absolutely fundamental to our apprenticeships - this is when apprentices get the knowledge and skills they need to pass exams that show they've met the requirements of the apprenticeship. The supporting training we offer helps to prepare for these courses, but doesn't deliver the full spectrum of learning.

Over 20 years of residential delivery, we've consistently seen the benefits of professionals being able to acquire an entire skillset - and take their exam - in one out-of-office period. The immersive, no-distractions approach really allows them to focus on their learning, rather than feeling they're being called away from the day job. They take exams with the knowledge still 'fresh' and return to work with all the skills they need to progress.

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How much does a DevOps Engineer apprenticeship cost?

This apprenticeship programme is waiting for formal approval by the Institute for Apprenticeships, when it will be allocated a funding band. We'll confirm costs for this programme once the funding band is assigned, so you can be sure we're working within it. Find more general information about how apprenticeships are paid for below.

What does this cost include?

The breadth and depth of our course content means we deliver knowledge beyond the standard for every apprentice.

Training costs include:

  • A suite of residential training programmes delivered by our skilled Course Instructors
  • First attempts at all examinations required as part of the apprenticeship (plus second attempts at BCS examinations)
  • Online learning from Pluralsight, offering over 3000 video-based courses led by industry experts
  • Continuous support, guidance and advice from your Learning Mentor to help apprentices progress effectively
  • Where applicable, additional classroom training from a menu of vendor courses to broaden apprentices' knowledge and skills even further

Don't see the course you want included in the apprenticeship programme?

We can use our portfolio of over 600 vendor courses to tailor training for larger cohorts of apprentices, including a substantial discount for additional courses. Contact us to find out how we can deliver more value through a bespoke apprenticeship training package.

Are employers or apprentices charged for the accommodation at Firebrand's residential training centre?

There's no additional charge for accommodation and food provided as part of our residential training delivery.

How is the apprenticeship paid for?

Employers with an annual paybill over £3million can finance this training through the Apprenticeship Levy. The diagram below shows how the Levy is calculated:

For employers with an annual paybill under £3million, the government pay 95% of the total training costs, with the employer paying 5% of the total apprenticeship fee.

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Call us to discuss your Firebrand Apprenticeship Now
0800 081 6022