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31 Honest DevOps Engineer Salaries
As you build your career, one of the big challenges you’ll face is knowing whether or not you’re being paid fairly. A “reasonable salary” changes from company to company and job to job. Plus, it’s just easier to figure out a fair salary for some jobs more than others. In the world of IT, DevOps engineers have a particularly hard time figuring out what they’re worth.
That’s because not many people know what DevOps is, much less what a DevOps engineer is or how they’re different from their colleagues in development or operations. To help you make sense of that mess, we’ve collected DevOps engineer salaries from all over the country and analyzed them for you.
A lot can affect how much a good DevOps engineer salary pays: experience, training, company, and possession of a DevOps certification. Read on to learn what a DevOps engineer does, how much a DevOps engineer can expect to be paid, and what you can do to improve your salary prospects.
What is a DevOps Engineer?
A DevOps engineer is a senior-level IT professional who manages the technology, networks and tools for hybridizing product development (usually software) with the underlying operations (usually IT) of the infrastructure for the production and delivery itself. If that sounds vague, it’s because DevOps is actually a workflow strategy with fuzzy edges. That’s one reason that a DevOps engineer’s salary is hard to define: different companies define and implement DevOps differently. In the end, a company’s DevOps strategy depends on a DevOps engineer who works to make a product’s entire lifecycle more efficient — from production and delivery to updates and retirement.
Ideally, a DevOps engineer would have experience in both development and operations. Experience in software development gives a DevOps engineer insight into the methods for producing apps, creating updates, and writing software patches. Experience in operations means a DevOps engineer understands the tools for providing automation, optimizing networks and hardware, and troubleshooting a network’s components.
A DevOps engineer usually isn’t responsible for dreaming up and designing a company’s DevOps implementation. That’s usually left to a DevOps architect. Instead, DevOps engineers use the tools available to them to optimize the existing strategies for integrating the workflows of software developers with those of other IT professionals.
31 Real Salaries for DevOps Engineers
In our search, we discovered salary information for DevOps engineers from all over the country. We took those salaries from 31 job markets and presented it in a chart below. To find all that data, we found job postings, read job descriptions, and pulled data from salary-sharing professional networks. We analyzed the data by city and state, then organized it into three parts.
The three parts are average, low-end average, and high-end average. The overall average represents all the salary data from that region, while the low-end average covers entry-level and low-paying jobs, and high-end average tends to be more competitive jobs requiring greater experience. Although the data is most interesting on a city-by-city basis, the national data is valuable as a snapshot:
- The national average salary for a DevOps Engineer is $91,750.
- The average high for a DevOps Engineer is $99,500.
- The average low for a DevOps Engineer is $71,000.
Compare those national numbers to the following chart of 31 DevOps engineer salaries. From as low as $52,000 to as high as $131,000, opportunities for DevOps engineers are varied in nearly every state.
|City||State||Low-end Average||Average||High-end Average|
A few cities lead in all the averages. San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. are reliably near the top of the chart, no matter which salary average you’re looking at. In low-end averages, San Francisco, New York and Paterson, New Jersey are the top three. In national averages, it’s the same three. In high-end averages, they’re joined by Midland, Texas. But across the board, those same cities reliably have the highest DevOps engineer salaries.
This suggests that location might be very important for DevOps engineers seeking the highest salaries. While some of those jobs could be remote, a look at the chart suggests that for a DevOps engineer to earn the best salary, looking in the right market could be a successful strategy.
The spread between low-end averages is roughly the same as high-end averages. Among high-end average salaries, $81,000 in Akron, Ohio is the lowest. The difference to the highest DevOps engineer salary, $131,000 in San Francisco, is about $50,000. It’s also a $50,000 difference between the low-end averages: Bayamon, Puerto Rico offers $52,000 and San Francisco averaged $103,000.
This suggests that the market for DevOps engineers is competitive across the board, and no matter where you start your career, there’s a path forward for improving your salary. If you start your DevOps engineer career with limited experience, you can feel confident in improving your salary prospects through training and certification.
The difference between low-paid DevOps engineers and high-paid is greatest where they’re paid the least. The lowest of the low-end average salaries for DevOps engineers hovers around $59,000. In those cities, the difference to the highest of their high-end average counterparts is nearly $40,000. Compare that to cities where even low-paid DevOps engineers are paid north of $65,000, the spread between the lowest-paid and highest-paid is closer to $22,000.
This trend is a bit more complicated to figure out, but it seems to suggest that low-paying markets aren’t as discerning as high-paying markets. What it means to be a “DevOps engineer” could be more lax and less demanding in those markets, where they also pay lower salaries. That suggests that a brand-new DevOps engineer could start their career in those low average markets with relatively less training than in a more competitive market, but still look forward to upward mobility with increased experience and certifications.
4 Salary Considerations for DevOps Engineer
It doesn’t matter if you’re already working as a DevOps engineer, or you’re looking to land your first gig as one, there are always ways to improve your salary. Believe it or not, DevOps is still a young and poorly defined career field. There are many opportunities to clarify it for your company and justify raises and promotions. There are four things you can do to improve your salary prospects: learn DevOps tools, earn DevOps certifications, develop the right skills, and choose the right industry.
Experience Requirements for DevOps Engineer
The exact work experience that defines a DevOps engineer can be hard to nail down. They tend to command strong salaries because they have great soft skills on top of a foundation of deep technical knowledge. Because the skills and knowledge it takes to understand a company’s production lifecycle and then introduce the right tools and methodologies are rare and hard to define.
In many companies, a DevOps engineer is an agent of change. But often, they’re not authorized to make sweeping changes on their own, so they must also convince every stakeholder along the way. In that regard, experience navigating the politics within a company is an incredibly important experience requirement for a DevOps engineer.
Development teams and IT operations teams tend to have different skills and different goals, so a DevOps engineer often finds themselves playing a balancing act. That’s why robust experience in both backgrounds is so helpful for a DevOps engineer. It’s good to be friendly and a good communicator, but a DevOps engineer also has to draw on a deep well of knowledge of both development and operations to convince subject matter experts in those fields.
5 DevOps Tools You'll Need to Know
The heart of DevOps is simple: develop products faster and better, with fewer errors, as efficiently as possible, by marrying development with operations. A DevOps engineer who can shorten the life cycle of a product while providing continuous delivery and high quality can look forward to a salary in the triple digits. Getting there takes knowing many, many tools.
We won’t cover each tool, but we are going to cover five of the categories of tools a DevOps engineer has to know. The DevOps workflow loops back on itself, constantly improving all parts of the process. DevOps engineers who know tools for configuration management, deployment, logging and monitoring, build and development, and source code management are the best qualified, and the most likely to earn the best salary.
Configuration management DevOps tools
Configuration management tools make it possible for teams to spin up and spin down servers at a moment’s notice. Being able to provision networks and compute resources like that means teams can test their builds in environments they know are representative of their final build, but also it means they can scale their live environments according to actual use and save time and resources. Some of the most popular configuration management tools are Puppet, Ansible and Chef. A DevOps engineer who doesn’t know how to use configuration management and orchestration tools simply can’t perform the essential parts of their job.
Salary impact of knowing configuration management tools: Huge. One of the central pillars of a DevOps engineer’s job is knowing configuration management. Early in your career, you might only learn one, but eventually you’ll need to recognize how Puppet, Ansible, Chef and the many other configuration management tools differ, and when you might use one over another.
Deployment tools in DevOps
Spinnaker, Octopus Deploy, and Argo CD are three prime examples of deployment tools a DevOps engineer should be familiar with to justify the best salary. When teams have developed and tested a new release, these are the tools that commit changes to your servers, clusters or VMs. Different tools interact with different ecosystems. For example, some are great for Kubernetes, AWS and Google Cloud, while others work best inside their own proprietary ecosystem — part of your job is knowing which one applies to your set-up.
Salary impact of DevOps build tools: Huge. The realm of deployment is where the good DevOps engineers are separated from the great ones. Many DevOps deployment tools are relatively simple to use once you know how. But it’s when you can create a system, encourage habits and develop processes that make every deployment effortless when a DevOps engineer is qualified for the best salary.
Logging and monitoring tools for DevOps teams
The entire practice of DevOps is based on rapid releases of stable updates that ensure continuous deployment and efficient improvements. Tracking the stability and metrics of your deployments, apps, servers, VMs and more is crucial to knowing if your DevOps work is paying off. Tools like Grafana, New Relic, and Nagios are designed to monitor your entire ecosystem and provide feedback and metrics that you can use to optimize the system even further. A DevOps engineer earns a good salary when they can make sense out of all the data tools like those provide and turn that data into meaningful improvements.
Salary impact of DevOps build tools: Significant. It’s one thing to read system, network and infrastructure health data. A DevOps engineer has to be the one who understands that data and can make positive changes based on it. True mastery of tools like these can often be the difference between a modest salary and an excellent one.
DevOps build and development tools
A term that’s often used interchangeably with DevOps is having a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. The tools used to build code in a DevOps environment make it possible to work on a build in an iterative and progressive way. A DevOps engineer’s salary is practically dependent on their knowledge of tools like Jenkins, TeamCity, and Bamboo. A DevOps engineer might not be the person actually running the automated builds, tests and releases, but they have to know the tools their teams are using to do so.
Salary impact of DevOps build tools: Huge. One of the core responsibilities for a DevOps engineer is knowing the team’s development tools well enough to advise on how to improve their use, or introduce completely new tools to a development team. If your company uses a build tool like Jenkins and you don’t know your way around its plugin ecosystem or documentation, you’ll struggle to justify a high salary as a DevOps engineer.
Source code management DevOps tools
Source code management is a favorite component of nearly every DevOps implementation because it’s how a large, diverse and widespread development team can keep track of versions and ensure releases have only the working features. Tools like GitHub, BitBucket and GitLab are the top-dog contenders for most popular source code management tools in DevOps, and you’d be hard pressed to find a DevOps engineer who isn’t familiar with at least one of them.
Sometimes, DevOps strategies and approaches get used in industries that aren’t quite software development. Source code management tools are the tools that tend not to cross over perfectly in those translations. GitHub, BitBucket and GitLab are all great tools, but they’re not general-purpose and tend to apply best to managing a repository of development code.
Salary impact of DevOps build tools: Significant. It’s only because there are a tiny number of DevOps positions that don’t explicitly require source code management that this set of tools isn’t considered a “huge” impact on a DevOps engineer’s salary. In almost all cases, a DevOps engineer must be familiar with using, troubleshooting and managing source code management tools.
3 Best Certifications for DevOps Engineer
Having the right certifications leads to much better salaries for DevOps engineers. What’s less clear is what the right certifications are. That’s because it’s incredibly hard to make a short list of certifications a DevOps engineer should earn.
First of all, every DevOps engineer’s job is different from every other’s. Not only that, but the depth of knowledge a DevOps engineer has to have will also change — some have to be subject matter experts on one tool, others have to be generalists with several tools. Last, different companies use completely different vendors, which call for different certifications. The following certifications are among some of the most challenging certs around while also being some of the most broadly useful knowledge a DevOps engineer could have.
Docker Certified Associate (DCA)
Docker provides companies with the ability to package up entire applications inside containers that have everything they need to run. Separating your infrastructure from your applications is a basic application of DevOps principles, and for many companies, their DevOps journey started with Docker. The DCA validates a DevOps engineer’s familiarity with the enterprise edition of Docker, which should appeal to companies whose bottom line depends on shipping software reliably.
Salary impact of Docker Certified Associate: Significant. There are many certifications for Docker that are offered by companies other than Docker, but if you want the certification from the maker of the technology, the DCA is your best bet. After Docker was bought by Mirantis, the rated certification moved over to Mirantis’ control. DevOps engineers looking to boost their salary should be prepared for a challenging certification, which they can find at Mirantis’ training website.
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional
The AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional certification is recommended for IT professionals with at least two years of experience provisioning, operating and managing environments specifically within the AWS ecosystem. This means that the certification covers both the big-picture concepts of DevOps but focuses on how those concepts get executed using AWS. Even with a lot of experience in DevOps, without experience with AWS you’ll find this certification very challenging.
Salary impact of AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional: significant. AWS provides business solutions to companies in a variety of ways. For companies who are already invested in using AWS for their cloud storage, compute or network solutions, implementing continuous delivery is a short step. If you work for a company that already relies on AWS, mastering automation and CI/CD with AWS will make you eligible for much higher salaries.
Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert
Just like the AWS certification above, the Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert is a great cert for DevOps engineers at companies already using Azure for their business solutions. This certification tests your knowledge in designing and implementing collaboration, coding, infrastructure, source control, compliance, CI/CD, testing, and monitoring solutions. For companies already inside the Azure ecosystem, having this cert makes a DevOps engineer invaluable.
Salary impact of Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert: significant. Obviously, if your company doesn’t use Microsoft Azure, it might not be a good idea to earn this certification. But if your company does rely on Azure, earning this certification qualifies you for higher salaries as you master the technology the company depends on for all its development and operations processes.
3 Types of Companies That Need DevOps Engineers
DevOps is pretty fundamentally linked with the software industry. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that software development companies top the list of companies that need them. But in the age of Amazon, Netflix and Walmart, every company is starting to resemble a software company in certain ways. While many companies would be willing to pay a DevOps engineer’s steep salary, there are certain industries where it’s more likely.
If you’re considering the DevOps career route, think carefully about the industry your company is in. It could affect more than just salary — it could mean the difference in career stability, how interesting the challenges are, and how willing your seniors and colleagues will be to adopt your recommendations.
DevOps made its name in software development, and it’s still true that software developers rely on them more than any other. There are companies that have in-house software developers to help maintain their products, networks, internal applications and more, while others are dedicated solely to producing digital products that customers consume. Both kinds of software development teams need DevOps engineers to show them how to scale up and down rapidly and provide continuous delivery and integration.
Career impact for DevOps engineers in software development: Huge. While other companies explore incorporating DevOps approaches to a limited number of their processes, software developers are embracing it fully. A DevOps engineer in the software development industry may not start at the top of the salary bracket immediately, but it’s likely where the most competitive salaries lie.
Companies like Amazon, Netflix and ComCast have two big things in common: the need for high availability and scalability. DevOps engineers who can provide a service provider with those can safely expect a salary that rivals those you’d find anywhere else. DevOps engineers working with service providers will likely find themselves drawing on operations backgrounds more than development, but both are still perfectly useful in the long run.
Career impact for DevOps engineers working for service providers: Significant. Netflix’s engineers deploy code thousands of times per day. Amazon’s engineers reliably update the firmware for their servers and cloud VMs several times per minute. What companies of that sort are doing is the very definition of DevOps, and the best salaries are reliably paid to the DevOps engineers who can keep it all straight.
Companies like Target and Walmart dominate the world of retail sales, and they got there by constantly innovating. Their online and digital presence extends beyond making sales and delivering products. But those require expert DevOps to make possible. They each have tons of customer-facing and internal apps that optimize their stores, infrastructure and inventory. A DevOps engineer who can provide continuous delivery to companies like that can rely on a stable career with a good salary.
Career impact for DevOps engineers in corporate retail: Considerable. Giants like Walmart and Target provide stable opportunities for DevOps engineers. And the incredible thing is you could probably work an entire career as a DevOps engineer for such a company and never do the same thing twice, so varied and complicated are their requirements. The skills and experience would be quite different from traditional software development DevOps, but the salary would be more than competitive.
How to Increase Your Salary as a DevOps Engineer
If there’s any one thing a DevOps engineer can do to improve their salary, it’s keep learning. A life-long curiosity will do more for your take-home pay than expertise will. That’s because not only is the technology that makes DevOps possible constantly evolving, so is the nature of DevOps itself.
As a DevOps engineer, each time you find out about a new content delivery mechanism, or a source code manager, or a monitoring and reporting tool, try and get in the habit of finding out enough about it to understand what it would take to incorporate into your DevOps processes. It doesn’t have to be thorough research, but it should be substantial. This continual process of thoughtful experimentation could lead to enormous gains in efficiency and cost. And more than anything, that combination of creative approach to problem-solving and deep technical knowledge is what gets the best DevOps engineers the highest salaries.
Armed with all the knowledge we’ve provided about competitive DevOps engineer salaries, and the tools and knowledge you should equip yourself with, we hope you feel confident in beginning a career in DevOps engineering. Learn tools, earn certifications, stay curious, and constantly question your industry’s norms and standards.