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Want Good DevOps Pros? It Will Cost You

Arthur Cole

The enterprise wants to do DevOps these days, and that means hiring and retaining the right people. But where are these people to be found and perhaps more importantly, how much will you have to pay them?

The skillsets for effective DevOps work are numerous, ranging from hard coding and project management experience to softer capabilities like communication and collaboration. But ultimately, the success of any DevOps project rests on the ability of enterprise management to attract the right people and put them in the right environment that allows creativity to flourish, but not at the expense of efficiency or positive outcomes.

At the moment, the high demand and scarcity of skills is having the predictable results: DevOps talent can only be had for a premium. According to The Enterprisers Project, jobs site Glassdoor pegs the average salary at more than $133,000 per year, which is pretty much in line with what other recruitment services like Indeed are reporting. Regional fluctuations can drive these salaries even higher, however, with experts in Silicon Valley and the northeastern U.S. commanding $160,000 or more.

And that’s just for starters. According to the 2018 Mondo Tech Salary Guide, a lead DevOps engineer can top out at $250,000, which puts him/her in the same league as the CIO, the CTO and the CSO. The report notes that tech salaries are on the rise pretty much across the board, with everybody from database architect to software developer comfortably in the mid-six-figures these days.


But salaries for individual team members do not tell the whole story on the cost of DevOps. Even with these top-earners on the team, it is quite possible that DevOps will lower the overall cost of IT. Jax Center’s Gabriela Motroc noted recently that automation is an integral component of the emerging development and operational model, which means the money going to tech personnel will support more productive, profitable pursuits rather than keeping infrastructure up and running. At the same time, new analytics tools, management platforms and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions will take a lot of the guesswork out of day-to-day IT operations, improving efficiency, reliability and performance.

And it’s not like the enterprise is on its own when it comes to finding and developing the proper skillsets. Recruitment platforms like HackerRank are starting to focus their attention on the DevOps space, offering a host of ways to bring job seekers and job providers together. The company has amassed a community of 3.4 million developers since its launch in 2012, and as digital services become the norm for industries across the board, demand is no longer limited to traditional software firms but now includes, banks, manufacturers, retailers and the like.

Of course, no one can tell the individual enterprise what exact skills they need to support their development projects, but it is fair to say that if you want to be on the cutting edge of this movement, you’ll have to pay up to get the right people.

And since the entire movement is still so new, it may take a while to craft a streamlined operation that contributes measurable results to the bottom line.

Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.


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