DevOps Salaries Hit New High

DevOps is growing at a remarkable pace

But what are the typical salaries for those working in the burgeoning field? O’Reilly Media unveiled the 2018 version of its Annual IT/Ops Salary Survey, which launched in 2017, to find out how the field is progressing and to provide employees and their employers with a baseline for discussing salaries.

On average, DevOps employees around the world earned $90,000 annually. This number represents a dip from the 2017 survey, where those in DevOps earned an average of $100,000. However, this year’s survey covered a much broader set of employees, including many more in regions where salaries tend to be lower. Geographical location had a strong impact on salaries, but other factors mattered as well. Among respondents with more than 20 years of experience, the median salary rose to $123,000.

Company size had an effect on salary, with those working for companies with two to 100 employees earning slightly more than $78,000 per year compared to $114,000 annually at companies with more than 10,000 employees. Salaries varied by industry. Respondents in the healthcare field earned the highest median salary at $113,000, while those working in education earned only $73,000. The most popular field for DevOps employees, unsurprisingly, was software development, where approximately one-third of respondents worked. They earned a median salary of $95,000.

The survey revealed a stark gender gap in DevOps; women comprised only four percent of survey respondents. While this gap is common in tech-related fields, four percent is especially low. However, DevOps positions often require significant experience, and it’s possible that the higher number of women entering software development will fill more DevOps positions in the coming years. Of note, the survey found a negative correlation between the amount of code employees produced and their salaries; those who coded less earned more. On the other hand, time spent in meetings led to higher salaries. Among the 40 percent of respondents who spend four to eight hours per week in meetings, the median salary was $97,000, compared to $140,000 for those who spend more that 20 hours per week in meetings. This result, O’Reilly notes, is likely due to the fact that those who spend more time in meetings often have greater responsibilities that demand higher salaries.

Nicki McDonald, Content Director and Chair of Velocity Conference, believes DevOps practices “many opportunities for learning and advancement.”

Yet it’s also one that moves quickly, and choosing the right trends and technologies to focus on can be rewarded with larger paychecks. While the dominance of certain programming languages continues, we expect to see new ones emerge and others fall away as more companies move to the cloud and microservices-based architectures. Ops professionals seeking advancement would do well to keep learning and expanding their skills sets in these areas.

Scripting languages dominate the DevOps field. The Bash shell was used by 66 percent of respondents, followed closely by Python at 63 percent. JavaScript came in third at a strong 42 percent, while Ruby came in at 20 percent. Employees should note that Ruby’s popularity declined significant from the inaugural 2017 survey, where it was used by 35 percent of respondents. Although the 2018 study surveyed a much broader set of developers, Ruby has on the decline in other fields as well. Python pays well, with those who use the language earning more than $86,000. PHP paid even better, at $90,000, and Go was the highest-paid language at $102,000. However, PHP and Go are used by far fewer companies for DevOps, although Go has been on the rise in recent years.