If you’re on the hunt for a DevOps job, don’t expect your search to last long. With the right set of skills, you have employers competing for your services these days.
Even IT pros just beginning a transition into a DevOps-oriented job from a more traditional role are set up for success in this market.
“The DevOps market is very strong,” says Ryan Sutton, district president at staffing and recruiting firm Robert Half Technology, adding that the demand is a logical outcome of increasing cloud adoption among companies. “[DevOps-related hiring] has been very active as companies try to keep up with the technical trend and improve efficiency and collaboration across teams.”
[ For more wisdom on breaking into DevOps, check out our related article, DevOps Jobs: 5 tips for making the transition. ]
Even if you’re in demand, though, it doesn’t hurt to have some good data to help your case at the negotiating table. So, we rounded up nine noteworthy numbers on DevOps salaries and other trends that should help. And if you’re hiring, these stats give you a sense of what you’re up against in the marketplace.
$133,378: The average salary in the U.S. for people with a DevOps Engineer title, according to the jobs site Glassdoor. Of course, such averages depend on the underlying data. In this case, the current average DevOps Engineer salary is based on compensation data submitted by 990 Glassdoor users with that title. Keep in mind that you’ll find differing – but still lofty – numbers out there. Such as...
$122,969: The average salary in the U.S. for people with a DevOps Engineer title, according to the jobs site Indeed. Here’s Indeed’s basis: “Salary estimates are based on 76,204 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Development Operations Engineer employees, users, and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 24 months.”
DevOps salary information tends to fluctuate for business and technology reasons, too.
“DevOps is a constantly changing area in terms of compensation due to the rapidly changing skills requirements for different platforms and open source projects,” says George McFerran, EVP of product and marketing at tech job site Dice. While DevOps jobs are a trending search on Dice, the site’s recently released 2018 salary report favors skill-specific compensation data, as well as other granular perspectives, such as regional differences.
The fundamental point: Arm yourself with current salary information, especially as it aligns with your specific skills. And make sure to localize it. Speaking of which...
$120,000 - $160,000: “The average base salary that we have seen in the Northeast is anywhere from $120,000 [to] $160,000, or sometimes higher,” says Sutton of Robert Half Technology. Location is most definitely a factor in compensation. But right now, it appears that a DevOps job is lucrative almost regardless of location.
$117,983: The average salary in the U.S. for people with a Site Reliability Engineer title, according to the jobs site Glassdoor. While that number might be a tick lower than the ones above, it’s a good point to remind ourselves that not all so-called DevOps jobs have “DevOps” in the title. In fact, there are those who don’t think job titles such as “DevOps engineer” should exist in the first place.
Regardless of your stance, it’s important to keep in mind that there are plenty of job titles – such as the increasingly popular SRE title – that might just as well be considered “DevOps jobs.” Moreover, the terms DevOps itself might get retired as the culture, practices, and technologies it represents become the norm in IT.
"Frankly, the term is becoming less and less used as the confluence of software development and operations becomes the standard,” says McFerran of Dice.
$92,172: For comparison, this is the average salary in 2017 for all technology professionals in the U.S. So, yeah, that DevOps job hunt might pay off.
63 percent: Among the IT pros included Dice’s 2018 salary survey who said they were planning on changing jobs this year, 63 percent listed increased compensation as the reason why, making it the top factor. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average salary of job-changers who listed compensation as the reason was just under $80,000, well below the national average.) “Better work conditions” (45 percent), which are sometimes correlated with DevOps, was the #2 reason.
74,834: For both jobseekers and hiring managers alike, here’s another eye-opener: A recent worldwide jobs search for “DevOps Engineer” on LinkedIn produced 74,834 open positions. That’s actually more than the number of jobs that appear when simply searching “DevOps” (see below), because it includes engineering titles with a lot of DevOps-oriented responsibilities or skills that don’t include the word “DevOps” in the title.
51,640: The number of open positions returned from a worldwide jobs search for “DevOps” on LinkedIn
33,844: The number of job listings produced by a recent U.S. jobs search for the term “DevOps” on Glassdoor.
DevOps jobs: Bonus advice for job hunters
Throwing out salary figures isn’t what you’re supposed to do to land the job; it’s part of the process after you receive an offer. So, in the interest of getting that offer (or, better still, multiple offers), make sure you’re focused on the right skills. And don’t think they’re just technical.
“For professionals to succeed in DevOps [environments], they need strong communication and collaboration skills, as well as critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, to keep projects running smoothly,” says Sutton of Robert Half Technology.
[ Read our related article, How to cultivate soft skills in your IT team. ]
On the technology front, Sutton sees particular demand for the following skills and experience among employers looking for DevOps-oriented talent:
- Linux and other open source projects
- Scripting (including languages such as Bash, Perl, and Python)
- Configuration management and continuous integration
- Containers and orchestration
“To best position yourself in the employment market, expand your open source knowledge, specifically Linux,” Sutton advises. “From there, introduce yourself to other technologies and skills related to cloud, continuous integration and containerization.”
Sutton shares good news for both IT pros looking to make a career transition and those worried that the pursuit of these skills might box in their future opportunities.
“The technology hiring sector has traditionally been very particular about making sure new hires have very specific experience, but now we are seeing that professionals aren’t as pigeonholed as they used to be,” Sutton explains. “If you can demonstrate strong DevOps experience, you can use it in a variety of environments.”
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