As a SRE, I’ve experienced the advantages and disadvantages of being a site reliability engineer. While I enjoy good pay, continuous learning, job satisfaction, and more, there’s a flip side, too, with on-call duties, the tech changes, and the high pressure.
Let’s dig deeper to know whether this career is for you!
Site reliability engineers, or SREs, are the tech experts who ensure your websites and apps work smoothly with these key roles and responsibilities:
- Prevent websites and apps from crashing or slowing down with tools and tricks.
- Use automation tools to do tasks faster and with fewer mistakes.
- Work closely with developers to build programs that are reliable from the get-go.
- Watch computer systems 24/7.
- If something goes wrong, SREs lead investigations to figure out what happened.
To decide whether to pursue a career as an SRE, it is necessary to know its pros and cons. This job has five benefits and three drawbacks as follows:
Let’s start with the benefits of becoming an SRE, including opportunities for advancement, skill development, networking, salary, and more!
Did anyone tell you that being a SRE offers promising career growth? You can work up to senior SRE or principal SRE, handling more complex projects, or you can explore different areas, for example:
- Cloud computing
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Plus, the SREs’ demand keeps going up because companies are increasingly reliant on digital services and apps. So, as an SRE, I can look forward to a career that keeps getting better and more exciting.
This job is changing, so I’m always learning and growing; this makes this career so rewarding! As a SRE, I have lots of chances to build and improve my technical skills, such as:
- I keep getting better at coding to make things work smoother.
- I’m always learning about new tools and tech ideas, so I stay updated.
- When things go wrong, I can use my problem-solving skills to fix them.
Regarding improving soft skills, working with different teams also helps me communicate better. I understand how systems work together, which is like knowing the blueprint of a building.
In this role, when I work closely with different teams (developers, managers, etc.), I can build good work relationships better.
Also, I often attend conferences and meetups where I meet other SREs and tech experts. Sometimes, I have to work with outside companies; this expands my network even more.
As a remote SRE, I enjoy a lot of flexibility. I can work from different places because my job involves watching over systems using the internet and cloud tools.
Also, you can find SRE jobs in different industries (online shopping, healthcare, etc.). So, you can choose to work in your desired field.
Another worth mentioning benefit that this job brings me is the attractive income. The typical pay for SREs ranges from $114,000 to $180,000 per year.
My base salary is around $140,000/year. On top of that, I earn extra pay of up to $37,000 annually. Along with the salary, this role comes with attractive benefits, including:
- Healthcare coverage
- Retirement plans
- Stock options/equity
Besides the benefits, you also need to know the cons of this job to understand it well. Here are three factors you need to consider if you want to pursue this career:
One downside of being an SRE is the need to be on call; that means I have to be ready to work outside regular hours when there are problems with the systems we manage, even during evenings, weekends, and holidays.
While it’s crucial for keeping things running smoothly, it sometimes disrupts my work-life balance and can lead to stress and burnout.
Finding a balance between on-call duties and personal life is challenging and requires good time management and support from my team and employer.
Continuous learning is challenging because it takes a lot of time and effort. Staying up-to-date with new tools, coding languages, and system designs is sometimes overwhelming, especially for beginners.
Plus, the pressure to stay skilled in a rapidly changing field is stressful, too. Juggling daily tasks with ongoing learning is tough, and it means needing self-discipline and actively working on improving our skills.
In this role, I often deal with really complex systems and setups. While this offers chances for creative problem-solving, it is also a drawback, as managing intricate infrastructure, microservices, and systems spread out is challenging.
When issues occur, it can take a long time to figure out what’s wrong, especially when many parts are involved. The pressure to make sure everything runs smoothly and doesn’t break can be mentally demanding.
Plus, there’s the responsibility to prevent problems through automation and planning, which can be challenging.
Deciding whether to go for a career as an SRE boils down to your personal preferences and goals. Let’s break it down:
Yes, you should consider an SRE career if:
- You like problem-solving: If you enjoy tackling tricky tech problems and finding clever solutions, SRE work can be exciting.
- You enjoy learning: Tech changes fast. SREs need to keep learning new things. If you love learning and adapting, this gig offers plenty of chances to grow.
- You are interested in job security matters: SREs are in demand because companies need reliable systems. So, you will have job security.
- You want a good salary: Speaking of pay, SREs often make a nice income, making it financially rewarding.
No, you should think twice if:
- You worry about predictable hours: On-call duties can mess with your schedule. If you prefer a stable 9-to-5, this is not your desired career.
- Change isn’t your thing: Tech changes a lot; SREs must keep up. So, this may not be for you if you prefer a steady, unchanging job.
- Responsibility worries you: SREs have a big responsibility for system reliability.
My advice is to go for an SRE career if you love tech problem-solving, enjoy learning, and want good pay. Just remember that it also comes with challenges like unpredictable hours.
Above are the pros and cons of being a site reliability engineer you should consider. This career is like a tech adventure, with both exciting rewards and some challenging hurdles.
Whether it’s the right path depends on your love for tech, problem-solving skills, and willingness to adapt. With the right attitude and commitment, an SRE career can offer a fulfilling and satisfying journey in the tech world!