You can find plenty of high-level definitions out on the internet about what site reliability engineering means and what site reliability engineers do.
But if you want to understand what it’s actually like to work as a site reliability engineer, there is perhaps no better source than job descriptions. SRE job ads explain what real companies are looking for and what they expect on a day-to-day basis.
To provide insight on what SRE looks like in practice, we’ll look at some job ads from several leading companies. As we’ll see, each company has a slightly different take on what the site reliability engineer role entails, but it’s possible to identify some core themes that underline what businesses.
To understand the content of SRE job descriptions, let’s examine examples from four leading companies.
GitLab’s Job Ad
GitLab’s SRE job description Contains most of what you would expect from a typical site reliability engineer job ad. It highlights the importance of having a mix of technical skills and collaboration skills. It also emphasizes expertise in areas like Unix/Linux, infrastructure-as-code and Kubernetes.
What may be slightly surprising, however, is the emphasis that GitLab’s job description places on programming skills. GitLab expects SREs to know how to code in specific languages, like Ruby and Go. The takeaway is that SREs need to know more than just how to use code to solve IT operations problems. They must also be able to develop applications or contribute code to application platforms (the job description mentions “contributing to code in GitLab” as a required SRE technical skill).
Also interesting is the fact that GitLab expects site reliability engineers to be able to write blog posts. Blogging may not be one of the first skills that come to mind when you think of a site reliability engineer’s responsibilities, but at GitLab, at least, it’s part of the job.
LinkedIn’s Job Ad Template
LinkedIn provides an SRE job ad template that businesses can use when posting their own SRE jobs on the site.