Just a few short years ago, the title didn’t even exist. As such, the duties and responsibilities for this role may differ from one company to the next.
So how do you become a DevOps engineer, and what kind of salary can you expect? That’s what we’ll find out in this post.
What Is DevOps? What Do DevOps Engineers Do?
“DevOps engineer” is a job title with different meanings and definitions from one company to the next. However, generally speaking, a DevOps engineer possesses coding and engineering skills and works with IT and operations teams.
They facilitate the collaboration between software developers, system operators, and other IT teams to increase the company’s productivity in releasing, adopting, and using new software code and products.
How Do You Become a DevOps Engineer?
If you want to become a DevOps engineer, be prepared to invest years in acquiring the necessary skills and experience. Employers looking to hire a DevOps engineer typically look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree and additional qualifications in computer science, software engineering, or related engineering fields.
A DevOps engineer is typically a senior position that requires extensive industry experience as well as a holistic and solid understanding of the business’s technical and operational aspects.
It’s not a position that has a dedicated college program or learning path (yet). Instead, you advance into this position as you gain relevant experience within your field and use that experience along with your skills to conceptualize the big picture.
DevOps Engineer Responsibilities and Skills
As a DevOps engineer, you’ll have a breadth of responsibilities under your belt. They may include:
- Analyzing current tech stack used in a particular company and developing processes and steps for improving it
- Creating milestones and processes for other departments to facilitate collaboration
- Deploying new modules and upgrade fixes within the production environment while making modules ready for production
- Planning, managing, overseeing, and collaborating with other project managers to ensure that projects get executed in a timely fashion
- Mentoring and training other engineers within the company
- Collaborating with other IT engineers within the company to maintain the necessary hardware and software
As far as skills go, you’ll need a combination of the following soft and hard skills to work as a DevOps engineer:
- Knowledge of the Linux environment
- Relevant scripting languages like Python, Pearl, and Ruby
- Knowledge of various DevOps tools such as Ansible; continuous integration tools such as Travis CI; continuous testing tools such as Docker; and continuous monitoring tools such as Splunk
- An understanding of the Infrastructure As Code model and how it can be applied to solve deployment problems
- Good communication and project management skills
If you’re thinking about a career as a DevOps engineer, we have good news. According to the CodinGame Developer Survey from 2021, DevOps is one of the most sought-after positions. Moreover, 64% of the surveyed companies said they plan to hire 50 such developers this year. The survey was based on responses from 15,000 international developers and HR professionals.
Judging by the numbers above, the DevOps engineer position has a bright future ahead, so it’s worth pursuing.
The Average DevOps Engineer Salary
So now that we’ve covered what a DevOps engineer does, how you can become one, and you know what the demand is like for DevOps engineers, let’s discuss salary.
According to Glassdoor, the average DevOps engineer salary is $103,253 per year. This statistic is based on 5492 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by DevOps Engineer roles. The lowest salary is around $75K per year, and the highest salary is $141K per year.
PayScale reports the average DevOps engineer salary as $96,637 per year, with a low of $65K and a high of $140K. The number is based on 3,081 salary profiles submitted to PayScale.
ZipRecruiter lists the average DevOps engineer salary at $114,359 per year, with a low of $42K and a high of $163K.
Lastly, BuiltIn reports the average salary as $125,577, with an average additional cash compensation of $15,244. Interestingly, BuiltIn also reports the highest salary at $325K and the lowest at $45K.
Based on these figures, the average DevOps engineer salary comes out to $109,956 per year. Given the nature of the position and the fact that it encompasses not only coding and development skills but also operational and management skills, it’s not surprising that we see six figures here.
With that out of the way, let’s look at how a DevOps engineer salary stacks up against similar professions, and how location and experience impact the figures.
DevOps Engineer vs IT Generalist Salaries
DevOps engineers share some similarities with an IT Generalist. However, their responsibilities are broader. As such, we can assume that a DevOps salary would be higher than that of an IT generalist. But what do the numbers say? Let’s take a closer look.
According to Glassdoor, an IT generalist makes an average salary of $62,049 per year (lowest is $37K; highest is $103K).
PayScale reports the average IT generalist salary as $54,335 per year. The lowest reported salary is $38K, and the highest is $81K.
On the other hand, ZipRecruiter reports the average salary of an IT generalist at $57,105 per year (lowest is $23K; highest is $78K).
Zippia has similar numbers of around $72,000 per year, with a low of $46K and a high of $113K.
Crunching the numbers above gives us the average salary for an IT generalist of $43,390 per year. That’s almost half of a DevOps engineer’s salary, which backs up our previous assumption.
In all honesty, the numbers are not surprising, given the breadth of knowledge and skills that a DevOps engineer possesses and the sheer number of responsibilities they have on their plate.
DevOps Engineer vs Software Developer/Engineer Salaries
A software developer or engineer is another profession that DevOps engineers share some similarities with. So let’s take a look at how their salaries compare.
Glassdoor reports the average salary for a software developer at $96,075 per year. The lowest salary for a software developer is $67K, and the highest is $137K.
PayScale lists the average salary at $72,609 per year, with a low of $51k and a high of $106K.
Lastly, ZipRecruiter lists the average software developer salary at $86,523 per year, with a low of $33K and a high of $138K.
Based on these numbers, the average software developer salary is $87,277 per year. This figure is lower than the average DevOps salary of $109,956 per year; however, it’s not as low as an IT generalist’s salary.
DevOps Engineer vs System Administrator (Sysadmin) Salaries
System administrators (or Sysadmins) are responsible for installing, upgrading, maintaining, and monitoring software and hardware. They also maintain operating systems, computers, servers, and networking components. Let’s take a look at how their salary stacks up to a DevOps engineer salary.
According to Glassdoor, an average system administrator salary is $75,070 per year, going as low as $53K and as high as $107K.
ZipRecruiter says the average system administrator salary is $73,263 per year, with a low of $37K and a high of $114K.
Lastly, Zippia lists the average salary for a system administrator at $68,000 per year.
That gives us an overall average of $70,553 per year — much lower than a DevOps engineer salary, but on par with similar jobs in the tech industry.
DevOps Engineer vs Full-Stack Developer Salaries
Full-stack developers, like DevOps engineers, have a lot of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities under their belt. Full-stack developer salaries are typically higher than backend developer salaries and frontend developer salaries. Here’s how their pay compares to that of a DevOps engineer.
Glassdoor reports the average full-stack developer salary at $97,748, going as low as $61K and as high as $156K.
Indeed lists the average salary for a full-stack developer at $106,208 per year, with an additional $4,100.
ZipRecruiter lists the average salary as $102,744 per year, with a low of $38K and a high of $159K.
PayScale has the average full-stack developer salary at $78,951 per year, with a low of $54K and a high of $115K.
After calculating the average based on the numbers above, the salary for a full-stack developer averages out at $96,412 per year. While not as high as the average salary of a DevOps engineer, it’s much closer than other professions we’ve compared in this guide.
DevOps Engineer Salary by Experience
Experience is one of the most significant contributing factors to how much money you can make. Usually, early on in your career, you’ll start with the lowest salary, and as you gain experience, your salary will increase to reflect that. Let’s look at the difference in DevOps salary for an entry-level position versus a senior position.
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According to Glassdoor, an entry-level DevOps engineer with <1 year of experience earns $88,512 per year (lowest is $68K; highest is $115K).
Now, let’s take a look at what you can expect in terms of your salary as a DevOps engineer as you advance in your career.
Glassdoor reports the average senior-level DevOps engineer with more than 15 years of experience at $140,605 per year, with a low of $105K and a high of $188K.
PayScale says an average salary for a senior-level DevOps engineer is $130K per year if you have more than 20 years of experience.
ZipRecruiter lists the average senior-level DevOps engineer salary at $134,079 per year, with a low of $75K and a high of $185K.
We can see that the average entry-level salary for a DevOps engineer is $83,094 per year. The average for a senior-level DevOps engineer is higher at $134,894 per year.
In other words, during your career as a DevOps engineer, you can expect to eventually make an additional $50,000 per year as you grow in experience and tenure.
DevOps Engineer Salary by Location
Lastly, let’s look at how different locations could influence your salary as a DevOps engineer.
According to PayScale, DevOps engineers located in San Francisco, California, earn an average of 33.2% more than the national average. You’ll also make more in New York, New York (16.9% more) and Seattle, Washington (16.4% more). The lowest salaries are in Chicago, Illinois (10.8% less).
Zippia similarly reports that the highest DevOps engineer salaries can be found in California, Washington, New York, Delaware, and Virginia.
If you’re looking for international data, Simplilearn has the following salaries for DevOps engineers in various countries:
- India: ₹700K+
- Germany: €60K+
- France: €45K+
- Canada: CA$85K+
- UK: £44K+
It’s also interesting to note that the salary for a DevOps engineer differs depending on which industry you’re working in. For example, Zippia reports that you can expect the highest salary as a DevOps engineer if you work in the retail sector, averaging $115,953 per year.
On the other side, the healthcare industry offers the lowest DevOps annual salary, averaging $96,453 per year.
Is DevOps Right for You?
A career as a DevOps engineer is a demanding one. Not only do you have to have coding and engineering knowledge, but you also need excellent communication skills, not to mention the ability to plan, manage, and oversee projects in all their stages.
The average annual salary of $109,956 certainly justifies the sheer amount of skills and responsibilities needed for this position. If money is a consideration, the salary alone makes a DevOps position a viable option.
Keep in mind that location and experience can influence your salary; if you’re looking to maximize this, it pays to consider moving to a different place while expanding your skillset.
Money aside, if you thrive on collaborating with others and love involvement in all parts of the project, not just the raw execution, a career in DevOps engineering could be the right choice for you.
However, remember that this is a position you grow and advance into, rather than following a straightforward education path that lands you in the job right after graduation.
There’s no set career path for becoming a DevOps engineer. You might start as a backend developer and become interested in product deployment and project management, leading you to a DevOps engineer position later. Or, you might start as a software developer and decide to break away from the traditional role, helping improve testing and deployment.
Either way, you’ll also need to be a good communicator and a team player, on top of having the ability to manage other teams and projects.
As such, a DevOps engineer is a demanding but rewarding position that comes with a six-figure salary averaging $109,956. It’s certainly enough to guarantee a decent living. Pair that with the fact that DevOps engineers are high in demand, and you can quickly see how this particular position has a bright future ahead.
What are your thoughts on these salary levels for a DevOps engineer? Let us know in the comments section!
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