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Salary snapshot: It's a very good time to be a DevOps pro

In 2017, the number of job postings for DevOps jumped 15% over the previous year, and salaries increased, too. Do you have today's most in-demand skills?

Apparently, it pays to work in a DevOps shop. Job posting website Glassdoor's ranking of the top jobs in America for 2018 had "DevOps engineer" in second place (behind data scientist and ahead of marketing manager).

And it gets better. The average salary for a DevOps pro is $128,000, roughly 20% more than a traditional software developer gets paid, said Will Markow, a client strategy and analytics manager at Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analysis firm. DevOps jobs, though, not only pay more -- they're also plentiful and growing: Last year, 32,966 DevOps jobs were posted, which is a 15% increase year over year.

Demand outstrips supply

It's safe to say there is no sign the software developer shortage is easing, and when it comes to DevOps in particular, demand is completely outstripping supply.

"DevOps has all of the factors that signify the potential for a serious workforce shortage," Markow explained.

Employers are pulling different types of software development skills together along with operations skills, and it's creating significant gaps in the marketplace.
Will Markowclient strategy and analytics manager, Burning Glass Technologies

DevOps jobs take longer to fill than a typical software developer job and, at least to a degree, employer expectations are to blame.

"This really aligns with the broader hybridization of tech jobs," Markow said. "Firms are more digitally literate now and are requiring different functions and to combine new skills in ways workers traditionally didn't have to. These hybrid roles don't align neatly with traditional training programs, and that is what leads to a talent shortage."

Some of the most requested skills last year are expected -- Java, Linux, Unix and "software development" -- but the overall list does skew in favor of skills developers would have.

"As part of the hybridization, there is definitely a heavier emphasis on the dev side of DevOps," Markow said. "Employers are pulling different types of software development skills together along with operations skills, and it's creating significant gaps in the marketplace."

DevOps demand
According to Burning Glass, demand for DevOps -- across the country -- is rising.

Who's looking for a DevOps pro?

If you are looking to hire a DevOps pro, start in San Jose, Calif., where the concentration of DevOps workers is 830% higher than the national average. That is almost double the rate of nearby San Francisco and nearly triple the percentage in Washington, D.C. If you're looking for a DevOps job, on the other hand, San Francisco had the largest number of openings last year, with 3,125, Markow noted. But even Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago, not necessarily known as high tech hubs, all had more than 1,000 jobs posted last year.

What kinds of companies are looking for DevOps pros? Not surprisingly, professional services firms represent about half of the demand, while finance and insurance posted 14% of the help wanted ads. Information and IT accounted for 11%. And even industries like manufacturing are thinking about DevOps -- 9% of last year's ads were placed by manufacturers, and 5% came from retailers.

This year, the hiring market is expected to be even tighter, a fact that concerns Markow.

"It's important for employers to realize there isn't a talent pipeline that exists to turn out a DevOps pro," he said. "So, you're going to have to be creative when it comes to hiring DevOps positions."

His best advice: Look internally to candidates who might have 90% of what the job requires, and put time and energy into training to grow your own DevOps pro.

This was last published in February 2018

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