As DevOps has blossomed in many IT shops, so has a particular IT talent war: With more companies adding new DevOps roles, hiring high-quality DevOps talent can be brutal. IT leaders don't just need to find warm bodies; they need to find people who know how to deliver on the promise of DevOps – constantly experimenting and iterating, at speed, while navigating tricky culture change. That means good things for IT pros on the job market with the right mix of skills and experience. And this is not a fleeting situation.
Staffing firm Robert Half, in its 2018 salary guide for technology professionals, says it expects DevOps engineers to be one of the most in-demand roles among North American employers next year.
“There is an increased drive to capitalize on the agility and productivity benefits brought on by DevOps, and leaders are seeking the talent to drive these initiatives and execute on delivering the strategy,” says John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology.
[ Want to get up to speed on DevOps advice and trends? See our recent article, 10 DevOps must-reads. ]
We examined some key numbers that help tell the story of the DevOps jobs boom, and offer corresponding advice for IT pros. Let’s start with one hard-to-ignore reason more IT pros want to gain the experience and skills necessary to land a choice DevOps position: Money.
$104,508: Average salary for a DevOps engineer in the U.S. That’s according to recent data from jobs site Glassdoor. (The national median salary for a DevOps engineer is $110,000.) Of course, salaries vary by location: If you’re plying your trade in the San Francisco area, for example, the salaries (and cost of living) jump higher; conversely, companies in smaller cities might be offering lower salaries. But suffice it to say that DevOps engineers tend to command top-notch IT pay across many locations.
60 percent of hiring managers are looking to fill DevOps engineer positions, according to the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, a study conducted by The Linux Foundation and tech jobs site Dice. That ranks second only to the broad category of “developers” (73 percent) as the most commonly sought-after roles in this year’s report. (Systems Administrators come in third, at 53 percent.)
It’s important to note that many companies hire “developers” for DevOps teams without ever calling them “DevOps engineers” – so these numbers may understate the DevOps hires. The term “DevOps engineer” is somewhat controversial: Some DevOps experts call it a mark of an immature DevOps shop, as we explored in our recent article, DevOps Jobs: How to spot a great DevOps shop.
No matter the position title, one key trait the companies seek is the same: Flexibility.
“The flexibility of the [DevOps engineer] role and ability to be nimble is very attractive as employers look for tech pros who can understand the many sides of the tech organization,” says Mike Durney, CEO of Dice. “As companies find ways to be more efficient and competitive, DevOps professionals will increasingly be in demand.”
42 percent of companies responding to the Open Source Jobs study want to add DevOps skills across their hiring portfolio, putting it in the top five sought-after skills, alongside open source cloud (47 percent), application development (44 percent), big data (43 percent), and security (42 percent) skills.
57 percent of companies seeking open source expertise are focused on DevOps skills, says the Open Source Jobs Report. That puts DevOps skills just behind application development (59 percent) and cloud/virtualization (60 percent) in the most-desired open source skills category.
DevOps engineer ranks #2 on Glassdoor’s 50 Best Jobs in America rankings – as in second overall. Bear in mind, this isn’t just a list of IT jobs. Glassdoor’s rankings are based on salary, available jobs, and job satisfaction as reported by its users.
156,209 DevOps engineer jobs open on a typical day in September, 2017: This is the result we got in recent national Glassdoor jobs searches for “DevOps engineer.” Our results include variants on the DevOps engineer title, such as “Systems Engineer / DevOps” and “Cloud Security DevOps Engineer.”
Tweak that DevOps resume
With that many companies hiring for the DevOps function, getting the job you want should be a cinch, right? No.
“DevOps is a relatively new role, therefore it’s challenging to demonstrate experience, given there aren’t years and years of working in the function,” says Durney, the Dice CEO.
"Professionals who are seeking roles in DevOps should be in the know with market demands and ensure that they have the skills to match open roles, " says Reed from Robert Half Technology. "They should be revamping and customizing their resumes to reflect how their background complements the job they are pursuing.”
Remember, you are trying to demonstrate problem-solving capability, ability to work at speed, collaboration and communication skills, and experience with culture change. Here's some potent advice that Robert Reeves, CTO at Datical recently shared with us: "DevOps is about identifying friction and resolving it."
Does your resume show you know how to experiment, spot trouble, and turn around failures?
For more on how to stand out among DevOps candidates, read our related article, DevOps Jobs: How to win that role.
Interesting ... having been involved in organisational change for coming up 30 years across Europe, working with companies from £1M to £300M T/O as well as a few larger corporates along the way, I marvel at the lack of progress being made in the world and the plethora of names created to mask a failure to make any fundamental head-way in terms of 'Changing change'.
I've seen QC evolve to become TQM to become WCM to Lean, then seen Theory of Constraints, Six Sigma and Operational Excellence spin off in an attempt to create a change solution out of narrow aspects of the over-all approach, the world at large (except some systems thinkers) failing to recognise the tools & techniques that constitute Lean / WCM were only ever one leg of a multi-faceted business model.
Our fast-paced reductionist world with CEO's too busy to think, driving their teams to adopt the next quick fix, has consistently failed to realise organisational change follows a transition in human brains, leading to a mind-set shift, which in turn manifests as behaviours. Fail to change belief in what good looks like and you fail to change policy, process and procedure with any great effect .. and if you do it takes longer and costs more than it otherwise might (but accounting practices can't measure what could've been done faster) ... and yet here we are promoting DevOps as the next name on the ever-growing list of approaches based on project management principles to tackle the complexity of culture change through human brains ... Sheesh!
We've had standard work, and standardisation of parts in respect to DFMA for decades ... more recently we've seen a trend (sales opportunity) for 'Standard Leader Work', which is annoyingly shallow ... yet we can't present a standard definition of Culture, by which we can assess 'Change'.
Now the recruitment drive behind the latest fad is seeing 'Change agents' re-brand themselves by tweaking their CV's and we expect this to lead to improved change in organisations.