Join us for DevOps Live at ExCeL London  |  6-7 March 2024
Platform Engineering

Understanding the Role of a Platform Engineer

Introduction

In today's complex world of software development, the role of a platform engineer is becoming increasingly significant. Yet, the term "platform engineer" often leads to confusion. If you've found yourself typing "What is a platform engineer?" into your search engine, you've come to the right place. This blog post aims to simplify this emerging discipline and highlight its growing importance in the tech landscape.

The Basics: What Is a Platform Engineer?

At its core, platform engineering is an innovative discipline focused on enhancing the productivity of developers by easing the intricacies associated with modern software delivery. A platform engineer's role is to align development practices with business objectives, reducing the management burden of complex tools and infrastructure throughout an application's lifecycle.

Platform Engineering: The Pillars of Efficiency

Platform engineers strive to automate infrastructure management and provide developers with self-service tools and workflows from a centrally managed technology platform. The result? Reduced cognitive load on development teams, streamlined software delivery, and an accelerated pace of innovation. Here's how:

  1. Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs): Platform engineers build and maintain IDPs—a centralized suite of tools, services, and automated workflows. These platforms enable developers to self-serve resources they need for swift and efficient software development and deployment.
  2. Standardized Processes: By creating a unified system to manage, standardize, and scale typical DevOps workflows, platform engineering teams can provide 'paved roads' to simplify and speed up development processes.
  3. Service Level Agreements (SLAs): SLAs define the reliability and performance standards for the IDPs. Platform engineers ensure these agreements are met, ensuring the stability and security of the platform.
  4. Performance Metrics Monitoring: Platform engineers continuously track key performance metrics to optimise the platform based on the needs of developers.

Who Needs a Platform Engineer?

If your organisation has multiple teams working on complex, distributed projects or oversees application development, operations, and infrastructure, you might need a platform engineer. But, if you're a smaller organisation or dealing with a monolithic application, hiring a platform engineer may not be necessary.

The Role of CI/CD in Platform Engineering

One of the critical tools in a platform engineer’s arsenal is a robust Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. This system provides an automation engine to enforce and measure business priorities in the development process, forming the backbone of a platform engineering toolkit.

Conclusion: Why Platform Engineering Matters

Platform engineering serves as a powerful tool to scale up software delivery processes without compromising quality, security, or efficiency. By simplifying and automating resource provisioning and management, platform engineers enable developers to deliver more value to customers more quickly. With the rise of DevOps, the need for platform engineering is ever-growing, paving the way for more efficient and reliable software development.

Latest Articles