Friday, June 23, 2006

The role of a 'Release Engineer'

In this post, I have tried to define and explain the role of a Release Engineer - an interesting but a less known role! This role is more common in software product companies compared to services companies.

This is how monster defines the role 'Release Engineer':

  • Responsible for software builds and releases.
  • Responsible for the design and development of builds, scripts, installation procedures, and systems including source code control and issue tracking.
  • Works closely with a quality assurance team to ensure final version is up to organizational standards.
  • Requires a bachelor's degree in a related area.
  • Familiar with a variety of the field's concepts, practices, and procedures.
  • Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.
  • May lead and direct the work of others.


In addition to the above, the following is a general list of skills a Release engineer is expected to have,

  • Source control tools: Experience in atleast one source control tool like CVS, Perforce, Subversion, clearcase etc. Experience in adminstrating one of these tools is a plus.
  • Build scripting: Fluency in any of the build scripting languages like ANT, nANT, make.
  • General scripting: Good knowledge of a scripting language like Perl, Python, Unix/Windows scripting is preferred
  • Defect tracking: Working experience of one defect tracking system (Bugzilla, Jira etc)
  • General understanding of the platform in which you work (J2EE, .Net)
  • Decent understanding of other basic OS concepts and protocols

Moreover, one should have an eye for detail and a heart for doing some tedious work to become a competant release engineer. Well, you cannot rule out that part of a release engineer's responsibilities includes some repetetive and mundane tasks (especially if the company is big!). That's one factor that keeps many people away from this career path. But, if you are the one who likes doing tough things, then you will soon find yourself in a much uncrowded and rewarding space.


Cipson said...

This is nice info. Hope will see more and more interesting posts here.

Arul Jegadish said...

Thanks for stopping by!