DevOps EngineerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

In recent years, companies have understood the need for greater cooperation and understanding between development and operations teams. Out of that, the concept of DevOps was born. A DevOps engineer works with IT developers and business operations professionals to improve communications between the people who create software and IT solutions and those who figure out how those solutions and software will be used in the business.

A DevOps engineer has to manage the creation, improvement and development of software and coordinate how those solutions are deployed to users. DevOps engineers help organizations release software updates quickly and incorporate the feedback their departments receive from users. In addition to technical skills, a DevOps engineer must also have a strong understanding of the need for cooperative information exchange in an organization.

Since DevOps involves a culture change for most organizations, soft skills are crucial for DevOps engineers. They must be evangelists for the spirit of cooperation, and have the communication skills to keep both development and operations teams on the same page throughout the lifecycle of a particular project.

Sample job description

Because of our commitment to client satisfaction, [Your Company Name] has become one of the best companies in the industry. The key to this success is our steadfast belief in providing the best customer experience. We’re searching for an experienced DevOps engineer to join our team. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience deploying product updates, identifying production issues, and integrating software functions that meet customers’ needs. You have a solid background in software engineering and good working knowledge of Ruby or Python. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Implement and manage continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) systems and methodologies
  • Design and maintain tools to automate operational processes
  • Assist with the creation of automation scripts and declarative templates for provisioning cloud resources, rolling out tools and new features
  • Help with monitoring systems and providing support
  • Work with all teams to achieve business objectives
  • Collaborate with engineering team members to detect, to resolve, and to enhance infrastructure problems
  • Perform ongoing routine DevOps maintenance tasks

Education and experience

A bachelor’s degree in information systems or computer science, or a related field, as well as experience working with automated server configuration and deployment tools, are required for this position.

Proficiency working in Unix/Linux environments and experience with tools like Jenkins, Puppet, Chef, Gitlab, and Azure DevOps are strongly preferred.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Expertise in infrastructure automation and testing via shell scripting and tools such as Chef, Puppet or Ansible
  • Understanding of agile and other development processes and methodologies
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills with management and peers
  • Development expertise in Python, C#, Java, Node.js or similar

Preferred qualifications

  • Master’s degree in computer science or software engineering
  • Experience with software engineering, customer experience, and civil engineering
  • Experience in team building and project organization
  • Experience developing engineering applications

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a DevOps engineer is $132,900 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$132,150$178,800
Los Angeles, California$149,100$201,750
Denver, Colorado$124,250$168,100
Washington, DC$151,350$204,800
Miami, Florida$123,700$167,350
Orlando, Florida$114,100$154,350
Tampa, Florida$115,200$155,900
Atlanta, Georgia$120,850$163,550
Chicago, Illinois$138,950$188,000
Boston, Massachusetts$150,250$203,250
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$119,750$162,000
New York City, New York$158,150$213,950
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$128,800$174,250
Dallas, Texas$125,400$169,650
Houston, Texas$124,250$168,100
Seattle, Washington$144,600$195,650
National Average$112,950$152,850

Typical work environment

DevOps engineers typically work in large corporations with other industry professionals to meet the needs of customers and clients. Most DevOps engineers work in office settings where they work at computers assisting with the coding and development process. They also meet with development teams to outline goals and new design features, assess software performance, and identify areas for improvement. DevOps engineers work in a variety of industries, including government, software development, education, and health care.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a DevOps engineer are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Additional work hours are sometimes required to troubleshoot specific issues.

Available certifications

DevOps engineers work in a variety of industries, and many institutions offer certifications. Here are some of the best certifications for DevOps engineers: 

  • DevOps Engineer Master Certification. Offered by Simplilearn, the DevOps Engineer Master Certification proves you have the knowledge and skills in DevOps principles, such as configuration management, continuous integration, and deployment, delivery, and monitoring using DevOps tools. The certification also demonstrates your competency in operations management. Candidates should have a technical background and a basic understanding of Linux, web development, and Java programming. They should also be familiar with cloud platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure. 
  • Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE). The RHCE is a senior-level certification and proves your advanced skills with Linux, allowing you to stand above your peers. To earn an RHCE, you must earn a Red Hat Certified System Administrator certification and pass an exam. The RHCE demonstrates the knowledge required to automate the deployment, management, and support of multi-system environments. 
  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer-Professional. This certification is administered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and shows your knowledge of the operations and methodologies related to AWS and validates your ability to automate the testing and deployment of AWS infrastructure and applications. To earn a DevOps Engineer-Professional certification, you must pass an exam that covers such topics as SDLC automation, incident and event response, policies and standards automation, monitoring and logging, content management, and infrastructure as code.

Career path

DevOps engineers come from a variety of backgrounds in the IT field, but many are software developers who have an interest in software deployment and network operations. Others are system administrators who have an interest in coding and move into the software development discipline to try to improve the process. Because DevOps is a collaborative philosophy, a DevOps engineer needs to have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience.

Most DevOps engineers should know at least one scripting language, like Linux, Python, Ruby or Pearl. It’s also essential for a DevOps engineer to develop soft skills like relationship building, communication, and negotiation. Many DevOps engineers will have to cultivate positive relationships between developers and their customers or stakeholders.

Certification in cloud platforms like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud is also considered attractive for candidates for DevOps Engineer positions. Experience in CI/CD pipelines is also desired in this field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1256

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20302,257,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

The DevOps philosophy is relatively new, and according to the industry publication The Enterprisers Project, many leaders in the IT field haven’t settled on the DevOps engineer title as the final one for this position. That means people pursuing DevOps engineer positions should pay more attention to the qualifications and requirements of a job posting, and less to the title itself.

DevOps engineers should also focus on cultivating a full breadth of skills. Many companies are looking for people with broad expertise to cap off their specialization in a particular IT discipline. DevOps, by definition, is meant to unite departments with different specialties. Companies are primarily looking for DevOps engineers with knowledge of IT operations, IT security, and application delivery.

Many organizations are critically concerned about security. That means they are especially looking for DevOps engineer candidates who build security into the development workflow from the start. This approach is often called DevSecOps or SecDevOps.

Sample interview questions

  • How is DevOps different from agile methodology? Which IT software are you proficient at using?
  • What are some of the most popular DevOps tools?
  • What are the different phases in DevOps?
  • Can you name some of the core benefits of DevOps?
  • What role does configuration management play in DevOps?
  • How would you approach a project that needs to implement DevOps?
  • What is the difference between continuous delivery and continuous deployment?
  • What is the role of AWS in DevOps?
  • Can you name three important DevOps KPIs?
  • What does the term “Infrastructure as Code” (IaC) mean as it pertains to configuration management?
  • How would you implement IaC using AWS?
  • What is the git command that downloads any repository from GitHub to your computer?
  • How do you revert a commit that has already been made public?
  • What is Jenkinsfile?
  • What is the command to run Jenkins from the command line?
  • What are the key aspects of the Jenkins pipeline?
  • Can you explain the two types of pipelines in Jenkins, along with their syntax?
  • How can you copy Jenkins from one server to another?
  • What are the different Selenium components?
  • How do you access the text of a web element?

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