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Site Reliability Engineer

Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) are responsible for keeping all user-facing services and other GitLab production systems running smoothly. SREs are a blend of pragmatic operators and software craftspeople that apply sound engineering principles, operational discipline, and mature automation to our environments and the GitLab codebase. We specialize in systems, whether it be networking, the Linux kernel, or some more specific interest in scaling, algorithms, or distributed systems. is a unique site and it brings unique challenges–it’s the biggest GitLab instance in existence. In fact, it’s one of the largest single-tenancy open-source SaaS sites on the internet. The experience of our team feeds back into other engineering groups within the company, as well as to GitLab customers running self-managed installations.

As an SRE you will:

  • Be on a PagerDuty rotation to respond to availability incidents and provide support for service engineers with customer incidents.
  • Use your on-call shift to prevent incidents from ever happening.
  • Run our infrastructure with Chef, Terraform and Kubernetes.
  • Make monitoring and alerting alert on symptoms and not on outages.
  • Document every action so your findings turn into repeatable actions–and then into automation.
  • Use the GitLab product to run as a first resort and improve the product as much as possible
  • Improve the deployment process to make it as boring as possible.
  • Design, build and maintain core infrastructure pieces that allow GitLab scaling to support hundred of thousands of concurrent users.
  • Debug production issues across services and levels of the stack.
  • Plan the growth of GitLab's infrastructure.

You may be a fit to this role if you have some of these inclinations:

  • Think about systems - edge cases, failure modes, behaviors, specific implementations.
  • Know your way around Linux and the Unix Shell.
  • Know what is the use of config management systems like Chef (the one we use)
  • Have strong programming skills - Ruby and/or Go
  • Have an urge to collaborate and communicate asynchronously.
  • Have an urge to document all the things so you don't need to learn the same thing twice.
  • Have an enthusiastic, go-for-it attitude. When you see something broken, you can't help but fix it.
  • Have an urge for delivering quickly and iterating fast.
  • Share our values, and work in accordance with those values.
  • Have experience with Nginx, HAProxy, Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, or similar technologies
  • Ability to use GitLab

Projects you could work on:

  • Coding infrastructure automation with Chef and Terraform
  • Improving our Prometheus Monitoring or building new Metrics
  • Helping release managers deploy and fix new versions of GitLab-EE.
  • Plan, prepare for, and execute the migration of from virtual machines running on Google Cloud to cloud-native container-based deployments with Kubernetes using Google Kubernetes Engine.
  • Develop a relationship with a product group, define their SLAs, share data on those SLAs and improve their reliability

Leveling of Site Reliability Engineering at GitLab

Areas of expertise/contribution for Leveling


  • Use Chef and Ansible to efficiently manage our infrastructure
  • Implement "Infrastructure as Code" using Terraform and GitLab CI/CD for automation
  • Load balancing the application including Proxies and CDN
  • Kubernetes and containerizing our system
  • Administer a high-availability PostgreSQL cluster.
  • Monitoring and Metrics in Prometheus, Grafana and integrations with Slack/PagerDuty
  • Logging infrastructure
  • Backend storage management and scaling
  • Disaster Recovery and High Availability strategy
  • Contributing to code in GitLab


  • Team organization and planning
  • Issue, Epic, OKR leadership and completion

Collaboration and Communication:

  • Creating blog posts
  • Completing Root Cause Analysis (RCA) investigations
  • Contributions to handbook, runbooks, general documentation
  • Leading and contributing to designs for issues, epics, okrs
  • Improving team practices in handoffs of work and incidents

Influence and Maturity

  • Involvement in hiring process - reviewing questionnaires, involved in interviews, qualifying candidates
  • Knowledge sharing, mentoring
  • Accountability, Self awareness, handling conflict in the team and receiving feedback
  • Maintaining good relationships with other engineering teams in GitLab that help improve the product

Levels for Site Reliability Engineer

Site Reliability Engineer

Job Grade

The Site Reliability Engineer is a grade 6.


  1. General knowledge of the 4 of the areas of technical expertise with deep knowledge in 1 area


  1. Provides emergency response either by being on-call or by reacting to symptoms according to monitoring and escalation when needed
  2. Proposes ideas and solutions within the infrastructure team to reduce the workload by automation.
  3. Plan, design and execute solutions within infrastructure team to reach specific goals agreed within the team.
  4. Plan and execute configuration change operations both at the application and the infrastructure level.
  5. Actively looks for opportunities to improve the availability and performance of the system by applying the learnings from monitoring and observation

Collaboration and Communication:

  1. Improves documentation all around, either in application documentation, or in runbooks, explaining the why, not stopping with the what.

Influence and Maturity

  1. Shares the learnings publicly, either by creating issues that provide context for anyone to understand it or by writing blog posts.
  2. Contributes to the hiring process in review questionnaires or being part of the interview team to qualify SRE candidates

Senior Site Reliability Engineer

Job Grade

The Senior Site Reliability Engineer is a grade 7.

Are experienced Site Reliability Engineers who meet the following criteria


  1. Deep knowledge in 2 areas of expertise and general knowledge of all areas of expertise. Capable of mentoring Interns and Intermediate SREs in all areas and other SRE in their area of deep knowledge.
  2. Contributes small improvements to the GitLab codebase to resolve issues


  1. Identifies significant projects that result in substantial cost savings or revenue
  2. Identifies changes for the product architecture from the reliability, performance and availability perspective with a data driven approach.
  3. Proactively work on the efficiency and capacity planning to set clear requirements and reduce the system resources usage to make GitLab cheaper to run for all our customers.
  4. Identify parts of the system that do not scale, provides immediate palliative measures and drives long term resolution of these incidents.
  5. Identify Service Level Indicators (SLIs) that will align the team to meet the availability and latency objectives.

Collaboration and Communication:

  1. Know a domain really well and radiate that knowledge through recorded demos, discussions in DNA meetings, or Incident Reviews
  2. Perform and run blameless RCAs on incidents and outages aggressively looking for answers that will prevent the incident from ever happening again.

Influence and Maturity:

  1. Set an example for team of SREs with positive and inclusive leadership and discussion on work.
  2. Show ownership of a major part of the infrastructure.
  3. Trusted to de-escalate conflicts inside the team

Staff Site Reliability Engineer

Job Grade

The Staff Site Reliability Engineer is a grade 8.

Are Senior Production SREs who meet the following criteria:


  1. Able to create innovative solutions that push GitLab's technical abilities ahead of the curve
  2. Deep knowledge of GitLab and 4 areas of expertise. Knowledge of each area of expertise enough to mentor and guide other team members in those areas.
  3. Contributes to GitLab codebase to resolve issues and add new functionality


  1. Strives for automation either by coding it or by leading and influencing developers to build systems that are easy to run in production.
  2. Measure the risk of introduced features to plan ahead and improve the infrastructure.
  3. Proposes and drives architectural changes that affect the whole company to solve scaling and performance problems
  4. Leads significant project work for OKR level goals for the team

Communication and Collaboration:

  1. Works with engineers across the whole company influencing design to create features that will work well with SaaS and self hosted platforms
  2. Runs RCAs and epic level planning meetings to get meaningful work scheduled into the plan

Influence and Maturity:

  1. Writes in-depth documentation that shares knowledge and radiates GitLab technical strengths
  2. Has a high level of self awareness
  3. Trusted to de-escalate conflicts inside and outside the team
  4. Routinely has an impact on the broader Engineering organization
  5. Helps to develop other team members in to senior levels and leaders in the team



SRE's with Delivery specialization focus primarily on improving the software delivery for, as well as self-managed users by improving the release management tooling and processes. They have a wide understanding of the system and application architecture, and have a strong observability background. They are expected to contribute to various GitLab projects with a software delivery focus and point of view.


Delivery SRE responsibilities are the same as for their Backend Engineer team colleagues, defined in the backend engineer role. While the backend engineers approach their responsibilities from a software developer point of view, the SRE's approach the same problems from the operational perspective and collaborate closely on finding an optimal solution that will safely and quickly deliver code to various supported environments.

Additional responsibility that Delivery SRE's are tasked with is ensuring shortening the software delivery times by introducing new technologies and migrating from existing established infrastructure, such as migrating from Virtual Machines to the Kubernetes platform and similar.


SRE's with Scalability specialization focus primarily on the application side of GitLab running on, through improving the architecture as continues growing. They have a strong development background (expected to continuously contribute to GitLab codebases), and have a good grasp on observability and systems operations.


  1. Analyse existing, create and maintain new Service Level Objectives.
  2. Define, improve, and engage in adapting architectural application bottlenecks as observed on
  3. Troubleshoot, evaluate and resolve operational challenges contributing to defined SLO's.
  4. Work with other engineering stakeholders on resolving larger architectural bottlenecks and participate through point of view.
  5. Work in close collaboration with software development teams to shape the future roadmap and establish strong operational readiness across teams.
  6. Scale systems through automation, improving change velocity and reliability.
  7. Leverage technical skills to partner with team members and be comfortable diving into a problem as needed.

Environment Automation

SRE's with Environment Automation specialization primarily focus on provisioning of various GitLab environments, and automating every operational aspect of the application lifecycle. They have a strong operational background, but their strength is in converting regular manual actions into repeatable automated tasks.


  1. Automating every operational task is a core requirement for this role. For example, package updates, configuration changes across all environments, creating tools for automatic provisioning of user facing services, etc.
  2. Responding to platform emergencies, alerts, and escalations from Customer Support.
  3. Ensure systems exist to manage software life-cycles (e.g. Operating Systems) with a minimum of manual effort.
  4. Develop a fully automated multi-environment observability stack based on the existing SaaS system, and extend it to predict capacity needs based on the usage patterns.
  5. Plan for new service roll-outs, expansion and capacity management of existing services, and work with users to optimise their resource consumption.

Career Ladder

The next step for both individual contributors and managers of people is to move to the Engineering Management - Infrastructure job family.

Performance Indicators

Site Reliability Engineers have the following job-family performance indicators:

Hiring Process

All interviews are conducted using Zoom video conferencing software. To learn more about someone conducting your interview, find their job title on our team page.

Please keep in mind that you can be declined at any stage of the process. You should consider each of the following bullets as though the words, "If selected" precedes them.

  • You will receive a technical questionnaire to complete.
  • You will be invited to schedule a 30 minute screening call.
  • You will discuss your technical skills for 60 minutes with a member of the Reliability Engineering team.
  • You will have 2-3, 45 minute team interviews with at least one Site Reliability Engineer.
  • You will talk for 60 minutes with a Reliability Engineering hiring manager.

It's possible you may have additional 60 minute interviews with either the Director of Infrastructure Engineering, the VP of Engineering, or both.

If approved, you will subsequently be made an offer.

Additional details about our process can be found on our hiring page.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity, inclusion and belonging at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Compensation Calculator

To find out more about the compensation for this role, please apply to a role first. Once selected for a screening call, you'll be able to sign up here to view our compensation calculator. Be sure to use the same email address for both.

About GitLab

GitLab Inc. is a company based on the GitLab open-source project. GitLab is a community project to which over 2,200 people worldwide have contributed. We are an active participant in this community, trying to serve its needs and lead by example. We have one vision: everyone can contribute to all digital content, and our mission is to change all creative work from read-only to read-write so that everyone can contribute.

We value results, transparency, sharing, freedom, efficiency, self-learning, frugality, collaboration, directness, kindness, diversity, inclusion and belonging, boring solutions, and quirkiness. If these values match your personality, work ethic, and personal goals, we encourage you to visit our primer to learn more. Open source is our culture, our way of life, our story, and what makes us truly unique.

Top 10 Reasons to Work for GitLab:

  1. Mission: Everyone can contribute
  2. Results: Fast growth, ambitious vision
  3. Flexible Work Hours: Plan your day so you are there for other people & have time for personal interests
  4. Transparency: Over 2,000 webpages in GitLab handbook, GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel
  5. Iteration: Empower people to be effective & have an impact, Merge Request rate, We dogfood our own product, Directly responsible individuals
  6. Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging: A focus on gender parity, Team Member Resource Groups, other initiatives
  7. Collaboration: Kindness, saying thanks, intentionally organize informal communication, no ego
  8. Total Rewards: Competitive market rates for compensation, Equity compensation, global benefits (inclusive of office equipment)
  9. Work/Life Harmony: Flexible workday, Friends and Family days
  10. Remote Done Right: One of the world's largest all-remote companies, prolific inventor of remote best practices

See our culture page for more!

Work remotely from anywhere in the world. Curious to see what that looks like? Check out our remote manifesto and guides.

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