What Does An SRE Engineer Do?

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An SRE engineer, or Site Reliability Engineer, is responsible for the availability, performance, and efficiency of company websites and applications. They work closely with developers, QA engineers, system administrators, operations specialists, and others to ensure the system meets industry best practices and required standards. What does an SRE engineer do?

SRE Engineer – Their Job Profile

Site reliability engineering is a crucial expertise in today’s world. This area of ​​work is commonly known by the acronym SRE, which stands for Site Reliability Engineering.

The SRE follows a series of principles and best practices to ensure a balance between updating, improving and stabilising a company’s solutions. That is, to achieve the stability sought by operators and the functionality that developers want.

Role Overview - SRE Engineer
Role Overview – SRE Engineer

In this sense, the SRE engineer is a professional responsible for building solutions to monitor and manage the reliability of the company’s systems.

Google is the most visible precursor to the SRE. For this reason, the SRE principles and good practices published by the company have served as a guide for countless companies.

One of the most useful concepts to strategically manage the reliability of a site is the error budget. The error budget is the amount of error that a site can accumulate before its users are unhappy.

Responsibilities of an SRE Engineer

The primary responsibility of an SRE engineer is to ensure that the company’s website and applications are up and running within the stipulated error budget.

As the owner of the stability and scalability of the system, the site reliability engineer is responsible for guaranteeing the balance between the reliability and the improvements of the solutions in charge.

Responsibilities Of An SRE Engineer
Responsibilities Of An SRE Engineer

In addition, the SRE engineer is also responsible for automating reliability monitoring and management to reduce its impact on development and operations teams. They also diagnose and troubleshoot equipment as required.

Standardisation and automation are important foundations in site reliability engineering and, therefore, will be a fundamental part of the SRE’s work.

What are the tasks of an SRE engineer?

  • Ensure that website and apps are running within the stipulated error budget
  • Guarantee the balance between the reliability and the improvements of the solutions in charge
  • Negotiate with suppliers and vendors to ensure the best contracts
  • Automate reliability monitoring and management
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot equipment as required
  • Gather data and compile reports for stakeholders
  • Provide technical advice and solutions when needed

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Skills 

An SRE engineer works closely with the development and operations teams and as such are skilled at going beyond solution programming and working in a team with a strong customer orientation.

Due to their high impact on internal and external customer service, the best SRE experts have a good understanding of the business and how it works. In addition, they have the ability to develop a holistic view of the system and its components. 

Skills Of An SRE Engineer
Skills Of An SRE Engineer

An SRE engineer is expected to have a deep understanding of the systems they work with, as well as the ability to troubleshoot and make quick decisions. In addition, SRE experts must also be proactive in anticipating potential problems and devising solutions in advance.

From a technical standpoint, an SRE engineer needs a good understanding of the concepts of engineering, construction, and design.The understanding and management of Kubernetes (an open-source container system) and related platforms such as Docker, Swarm, OpenShift, AWS Fargate, etc. is also key for an SRE engineer.

What are the skills of an SRE engineer?

  • Ability to work closely with a development and operations team and go beyond solution programming
  • Good understanding of the business they work for
  • Ability to work in a team with a strong customer orientation
  • Strong understanding of the system and its components
  • Experience working with one or more high-level languages such as Python, Java, C/C++ and Ruby
  • Knowledge of distributed storage technologies like NFS, HDFS, Ceph and S3
  • Experience in AWS and deploying software in the cloud using CI/CD tools such as Spinnaker and Jenkins
  • Familiarity with cloud configuration and deployment templates such as Terraform, and Ansible
  • Experience in Linux, Unix & CLI Scripting
  • Strong troubleshooting skills
  • Ability to make quick decisions
  • Familiarity with container systems such as Kubernetes, Docker., Swarm, etc.


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Background

SRE professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, although some companies may prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Many SRE engineers also have certifications in the field, such as Certified Site Reliability Engineer (CSRE) from the DevOps Institute. Other relevant certifications are the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE), particularly if operating in an environment with Red Hat applications.

Although not required, experience working in a demanding environment, such as a startup or web host, is often considered beneficial.

The role of the SRE engineer is constantly evolving, so SRE professionals must be willing to adapt to new technologies and trends. For this reason, academic training and self-directed learning are fundamental axes of the professional profile of an SRE engineer.

Salary

The salary of an SRE engineer depends primarily on their position, experience and the type of company where they work. In general, the salary of a junior professional in the United States, with little experience in the field, is around $77,000 a year.

A mid-level SRE engineer with a few years of experience can earn around $119,000 annually whereas a senior site reliability engineer, with extensive experience in the field, can earn up to $158,000 a year.

In Germany, the salary range of an engineer is €51,000-€89,000 whereas in the UK, the range is £47,000-£110,000. 

What is the salary range of a site reliability engineer?

US $77,000 – $158,000
Germany €51,000-€89,000
UK £47,000-£110,000

How much do freelance SRE engineers earn?

According to our freelancermap rate index, freelance site reliability engineers earn an average of $102 per hour. Considering an 8-hour work day, engineers can earn around $816 per day.

Average Hourly Rate Of Freelance SRE Engineers
Average Hourly Rate Of Freelance SRE Engineers

Site Reliability Engineer Job Description

SRE has become crucial in today’s world as it helps bridge the gap between developers and IT operations. It also helps teams find the balance they need between releasing new features and making sure that they are suitable and reliable for users. If you’re in need of an expert SRE engineer, here’s a useful job description template that will help you find the perfect one:

We’re looking for an SRE engineer who is passionate about building software and applications that solves problems and provides us with solutions. Your primary job will be to ensure that the website and applications are running within the stipulated error budget.

Responsibilities: 
– Ensure that website and apps are running within the stipulated error budget
– Guarantee the balance between the reliability and the improvements of the solutions in charge
– Automate reliability monitoring and management
– Diagnose and troubleshoot equipment as required
– Gather data and compile reports for stakeholders

Skills:
– Ability to work in a team with a strong customer orientation
– Experience working with one or more high-level languages such as Python, Java, C/C++ and Ruby
– Knowledge of distributed storage technologies like NFS, HDFS, Ceph and S3
– Experience in AWS and deploying software in the cloud using CI/CD tools such as Spinnaker and Jenkins
– Familiarity with container systems such as Kubernetes, Docker., Swarm, etc

Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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