Blog Engineering GitLab’s guide to CI/CD for beginners
Published on: July 6, 2020
3 min read

GitLab’s guide to CI/CD for beginners

CI/CD is a key part of the DevOps journey. Here’s everything you need to understand about this game-changing process.


Continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (most often referred to as CI/CD) are the cornerstones of DevOps and any modern software development practice. Here’s everything you need to know about CI/CD for beginners.

What CI/CD means

If your software development process involves a lot of stopping, starting and handoffs, CI/CD may be just what you’re looking for. A CI/CD pipeline is a seamless way for developers to make changes to code that are then automatically tested and pushed out for delivery and deployment. The goal is to eliminate downtime. Get CI/CD right and you’re well on the road to successful DevOps and dramatically faster code release. In our 2020 Global DevSecOps Survey, nearly 83% of survey takers said they’re getting code out the door more quickly thanks to DevOps.

Understand CI/CD basics

If you’re not sure what a pipeline is, or how the entire process works, here’s a detailed explanation of how all the moving parts work together to make software development quicker and easier.

Four benefits of CI/CD

Yes, CI/CD helps speed up delivery of code but it also makes for happier software developers. At a time when there continues to be a worldwide shortage of software developers, it’s critical to retain technical talent. Developer job satisfaction is just one of four key benefits that come from implementing a CI/CD process.

How to pick the right CI/CD tool

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of CI/CD it’s time to choose a tool. There are a number of considerations, from budget to room for growth so it’s worth taking the time to think it through.

How to make the business case for CI/CD

To tie a CI/CD process to ROI isn’t difficult, but it’s an important step to take to get management buy-in. Here are three factors to consider – including the hidden cost of toolchain sprawl – as you make the case for CI/CD.

Take 20 minutes and build a CI/CD pipeline

Ok, enough talking about theoreticals... it’s time to do something. Using GitLab’s Auto DevOps functionality, you can move from code to production in just two simple steps and in only 20 minutes (no, really, just 20 minutes).

Next stop: Kubernetes!

Finally, you can tie your GitLab CI pipeline into Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and as a bonus it takes only 15 minutes. Our step-by-step tutorial is completely beginner-friendly.

Level up your CI/CD knowledge:

How CI can put the "Sec" in DevSecOps

Autoscale GitLab CI with AWS Fargate

Get started with parent-child pipelines

Cover image by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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