DevOps Career Path

Are you interested in becoming a DevOps engineer? This guide will show you how to transform that desire into reality by discussing roles and responsibilities, the DevOps career path, including education and certifications, how much money you can make, and more.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a software engineering methodology whose name comes from combining software development (dev) with operations (ops). By combining the work of development and operations teams, DevOps creates an environment of collaboration and shared responsibility that can help build higher-quality and more secure software faster.

While it may sound similar, it is worth noting that DevSecOps is not the same as DevOps. DevSecOps focuses on securing the software development process. It does this by integrating security from the beginning to the end of the software development life cycle. True to its name, DevSecOps combines the efforts of development (dev), security (sec), and operations (ops) teams.

You can learn more about DevOps by reading our guide: What is DevOps? A Cheat Sheet.

DevOps engineer roles and responsibilities

A DevOps engineer is a managerial position that typically entails several roles and responsibilities, which may include:

  • Maintaining an environment that promotes the development of high-quality software.
  • Completing tasks that cover multiple areas of IT support and software development.
  • Determining software condition by getting feedback from developers.
  • Troubleshooting and finding solutions to software issues so projects stay on track.
  • Creating scripts to test, deploy, and debug software.
  • Building reusable code for use within the organization and creating managerial tools for use in software development projects via multiple scripting and programming languages like Python, JavaScript, C++, etc.
  • Employing Agile principles to adapt to changes in projects quickly.
  • Working with system engineers, developers, and other professionals in the IT field to complete software projects.
  • Ensuring networks and computer systems are running smoothly.
  • Assessing project requirements via software developer needs.
  • Motivating team members to meet project goals.

DevOps engineer salary: How much do DevOps engineers make?

According to, the average base salary for a DevOps engineer is $124,181. DevOps engineers tend to make around $81,000 on the low end and $189,000 on the high end, with an average cash bonus of $9,000 per year. A DevOps engineer’s salary is typically higher than IT professionals and software developers since they often handle responsibilities tied to both.

Besides education, experience, and the size of the company, your DevOps salary can vary significantly based on location. The city with the highest DevOps salary is San Francisco, California, with an average payout of $151,000 annually. Austin, Texas, meanwhile, has an average DevOps salary of nearly $30,000 lower. found that 72 percent of DevOps engineers are satisfied with their salaries. For this reason alone, DevOps careers are highly sought-after. Beyond that lucrative DevOps salary, engineers in this field tend to receive several added benefits, including 401(k) matching, commuter assistance, health insurance, employee stock purchase plans, relocation assistance, tuition reimbursement, the ability to work from home, and other perks.

DevOps engineer career path

Achieving a DevOps career, specifically, as an engineer, involves several steps, such as getting an education and certifications, acquiring and sharpening skills, and more. The DevOps career path you end up taking may differ slightly from the following, but you can use these steps as a general outline to see how much work lies ahead:

  • Find out what companies are looking for
  • Get an appropriate degree that translates to DevOps
  • Learn DevOps skills and obtain DevOps certifications
  • Craft your DevOps engineer resume
  • Apply for DevOps engineer positions and network

Find out what companies are looking for

Instead of jumping straight into education and certifications that will likely require a significant time and financial investment, you should first see what companies are looking for from their ideal DevOps engineer candidates. Where can you find such information? By looking at online job postings for DevOps engineer positions.

From those postings, you should be able to see education requirements, plus the skills and experience needed to land a lucrative spot as a DevOps engineer. Be sure to research various job postings and make a list of all the qualifications you see, as they will likely vary from company to company.

Get a degree that translates to DevOps

Now that you know what is required from the ideal DevOps engineer candidate, it is time to take a huge step to having a DevOps career by getting your degree. Employers often look for DevOps engineers with bachelor’s degrees in information technology, software design, or something similar. If you want to get specific, you could aim to get your bachelor of science in one of the following:

  • Computer programming
  • Software development
  • Software engineering

Why get a degree in one of those fields versus IT administration? Because learning the ins and outs of building software can better prepare you for the challenges you will face as a DevOps engineer. Beyond knowing how to build software, it can also be incredibly helpful to have scripting knowledge, so keep that in mind when deciding what degree to get. And, when researching prospective schools, try to pick one with a renowned degree program, as that can help you surge past the competition when job hunting.

Acquire DevOps skills and certifications

Getting an education is just one part of the DevOps career path, as you will also need the skills to match, plus certifications, to become a DevOps engineer. When viewing DevOps engineer job postings, you will likely come across the following that are often required by employers:

  • Technical knowledge: As mentioned, scripting knowledge is often required in addition to a DevOps-related degree. To get this knowledge, learn languages like JavaScript, Ruby, and Python, learn to work in a Linux environment or a shell, use automation frameworks, and use DevOps tools like Chef, Puppet, or other configuration management tools.
  • Cross-training: You can make yourself a more attractive DevOps engineer candidate by cross-training. For example, if you work as a software developer, you can build tools to help manage the development process using your programming skills. Or you could work on operations-based tasks with your company’s development team to prep for a DevOps position.
  • DevOps Certifications: You can give your DevOps engineer resume a significant boost via certifications. Examples of DevOps engineer certifications include the Udacity Cloud DevOps Engineer Nanodegree Program, Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA), Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS), AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional, and Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate.
  • Soft skills: Since DevOps engineers take on managerial roles, it is also essential to strengthen your soft skills, such as leadership, time management, and collaboration. Volunteering for team leadership roles at your current position and creating training material for system engineers and software developers are two ways to achieve this goal.

SEE: Jenkins vs GitLab: DevOps Software Comparison

Craft your DevOps engineer resume

DevOps engineer is a high-paying position with plenty of competition. As such, you must ensure that your resume is well-written and in the proper format to catch your prospective employer’s attention.

Since you have probably never written a DevOps engineer resume before, look for examples online that you can model. Pay specific attention to the resume formats and wording and mimic them when crafting your resume.

The work experience section of your resume will be particularly crucial to getting a job since that is where you can showcase the hard and soft skills employers seek in DevOps engineers.
If you have experience in software development or operations, list any responsibilities you had that could relate to the DevOps workflow.

Since no two jobs are the same, you should tweak your resume according to the available positions. You want your resume to match the requirements listed in the DevOps engineer job posting to make the employer’s decision an easy one. For example, if there are specific responsibilities or experience required that you held in a past job, list those using similar wording from the job posting. And, if specific training or certifications are required, list those as well.

Do not forget to proofread your resume for any errors, as something as simple as spelling mistakes could keep you from getting the job.

Apply for DevOps engineer positions

Your education, experience, skills, and certifications will all play a part in getting hired as a DevOps engineer. With your resume proofread and ready to go, it is now time to apply for DevOps engineer positions via online job postings, personal networks, and more. Once hired, do not stop sharpening your skills and acquiring new certifications, as they can help you advance further down the DevOps career path.

Final thoughts on how to become a DevOps engineer

In this programming tutorial, we looked at the different roles and responsibilities DevOps engineers undertake, which includes maintaining development environments and infrastructure, getting feedback from programmers regarding software conditions, troubleshooting software issues, creating scripts that test, deploy, and debug software, and helping to assess project requirements through collaboration with developers and IT support staff.

We also learned about the difference between DevOps and DevSecOps, which was that DevOps focuses on development and operations, while DevSecOps aims its sites on development and operations as well, but also incorporates security as well.

DevOps salary was another topic we covered in this tutorial, and we learned that, on average, DevOps engineers make $124,181 annually. Beginning salaries for DevOps engineers begin at $81,000 and the higher-end range lands at $189,000. Bonuses also play a role in a DevOps engineer’s compensation, with an average yearly bonus of $9,000.

Finally, we discussed some steps you can take to become a DevOps engineer, which included:

  • Find out what companies are looking for
  • Get an appropriate degree that translates to DevOps
  • Learn DevOps skills and obtain DevOps certifications
  • Craft your DevOps engineer resume
  • Apply for DevOps engineer positions and network

Looking to learn more about DevOps tools and software? Check out our product round-up of the Best DevOps Tools and Solutions.

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