Why site reliability engineers need programming knowledge

Why site reliability engineers need programming knowledge
Why site reliability engineers need programming knowledge

Engineering is more than just a mixture of science, practical analysis and design. Engineering plays a fundamental role in innovation and problem-solving. As a result, engineering has prompted developments in infrastructure and technological advancement. This has led to the growth of different sectors within engineering.

In this article, we will discuss site reliability engineers and the skills they need to complete their assignments. This guide will discuss the role of site reliability engineers and the constant changes they experience in their profession.

The role of a site reliability engineer

A site reliability engineer (SRE) works by observing and monitoring the reliability of software in a production environment. SREs tend to have knowledge in both software development and operations. They use robotics and automation tools to complete their assigned tasks, such as performance tuning, system analysis, and patch application. With constant technological advancement, site reliability engineers are required to formulate short-term and long-term solutions to all software and IT-related problems.

Currently, site reliability engineers are among the most sought-after professionals in the market. Most organizations and businesses are striving to keep up with technological advancements by automating most of their operations. These engineers are responsible for ensuring the reliability, scalability and availability of both simple and complex software systems in organizations.

Therefore, if you want to contribute to the rapidly changing technological professions, consider taking the online Master of Science in Computer Science – Software Engineering program at Baylor University. Here, you will be equipped with industry-related knowledge and skills that will set you up for success. The program covers key topics such as applied AI, software engineering and advanced algorithms. With these skills and knowledge, you can apply for a site reliability engineer job in any software development and production environment.

Why programming knowledge is essential for this role

There are several reasons why programming skills and knowledge are fundamental to the work of site reliability engineers.

Understanding infrastructure as code

Infrastructure as code (IaC) allows SREs to provide support to computing infrastructure using programming tools like SaltStack and Puppet. Normally, SREs require programming knowledge to use IaC tools effectively. These tools are critical in enhancing flexibility, scalability and consistency in various systems.

Therefore, with coding and programming skills, it is easy for SREs to test systems regularly and make code changes within the system. Programming skills also help SREs automate repetitive tasks, which frees up time for them to implement new and enhanced programs.

Effective troubleshooting and debugging

In programming, while troubleshooting is identifying issues within a system, debugging focuses on a particular bug within a code that is making the whole system faulty. Therefore, programming knowledge is essential, especially in a software development and production environment.

Using conditional debugging and systematic troubleshooting, reliability engineers can efficiently pinpoint the problem within the system and resolve the issue by writing a code. In most cases, after the problem has been solved, SREs do test runs to ensure the issue is fixed.

Custom tooling and monitoring solutions

Enhanced programming knowledge allows SREs to fully understand how a system operates. As a result, they can carefully select tools based on the design and functionality of the system in question. Custom tools are designed to handle a specific task within the system. Therefore, programming skills will allow SREs to develop or customize tools to meet a specific system requirement.

Furthermore, with these skills, SREs can create or use monitoring solutions to analyze the functionality of an application or system. This is an efficient way of identifying malfunctions and disruptions within the system.

Scalability and performance optimization

It is likely a business will expand over time. Therefore, with programming skills, SREs can tweak and make changes in the system to accommodate increasing organizational and client demands comfortably. Scalability means the ability of a system to adapt to several types of business changes, including increases and decreases in performance as well as revenue and production.

SREs can optimize the performance of a system by using efficient algorithms and data structures, as well as by identifying logjams and setting realistic objectives. Therefore, programming skills are essential when SREs want to create a properly functioning system.

Cloud computing integration

The benefits of cloud computing can be attained through methods such as application programming interfaces (APIs). To integrate cloud services, SREs have to be familiar with data-oriented programming languages such as R, Python and JavaScript, which are suitable for cloud-based applications and software.

Cloud computing entails building applications and systems required to enhance the functionality of businesses. The business landscape is quickly changing, and businesses are in dire need of accurate data to improve their decision-making processes. Therefore, with programming knowledge, SREs can design systems that can access and collect data from different sources.

Collaboration with development teams

Building reliable and efficient systems is always the main objective for most SREs, and collaborating with development teams will make the system design and development process easier. Collaboration brings different perspectives, ideas and skills when developing and maintaining a new system.

Having programming skills will allow SREs and the development team to develop a unique system that fully caters to all organizational needs. Additionally, with these skills, it will be easy for both the SRE and the development team to pinpoint system flaws and make the necessary adjustments.


Today’s society is becoming increasingly reliant on technology to navigate and complete daily tasks. Recently, site reliability engineers have started attracting attention from companies. Given that companies are heavily reliant on technology, SREs are needed to design, develop, implement and maintain systems and applications that allow companies to access, use, share and store information. SREs can learn different programming languages to handle the various challenges they face at work. Ultimately, programming knowledge is not an option but a requirement for site reliability engineers.

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