DevOps engineers (or DevOps developers) are in the middle of a Venn diagram where two separate fields, software development and IT operations, overlap. (DevOps is a portmanteau of “development” and “operations.”) These professionals aim to streamline a product or service’s lifecycle using the DevOps methodology, whose core principles include:

  • improving the culture of communication between different departments
  • automating repetitive processes
  • minimizing delivery times for new product updates
  • continuous integration and continuous delivery

By adhering to these principles, DevOps engineers help teams quickly move an application from conception to release. Though they may wear many hats, DevOps engineers should have a broad understanding of IT processes and software development and strong communication skills.

A DevOps engineer’s responsibilities are many and varied, as the definition of the role is quite broad. However, all DevOps engineers must have strong coding and scripting skills. Most are familiar with multiple languages, such as Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby and PHP. In addition, they need the interpersonal skills to understand the challenges of the development process, gather team input and coordinate between departments to meet project goals and milestones.

Specific tasks for the role might include:

  • communicating with stakeholders to understand their needs, preferences and any potential stress points
  • planning, creating and developing tools/software, then organizing and scheduling their release
  • designing/overhauling and managing infrastructure
  • writing, maintaining and updating code according to user feedback
  • testing products or services
  • developing quality assurance procedures
  • managing security
  • coordinating between departments to ensure the most efficient workflow
  • addressing recurring problems/inefficiencies by automation
  • troubleshooting systems

what are the key skills of a DevOps engineer?

Employers expect even entry-level DevOps engineers to have a broad and impressive skill set. Aim to emphasize some or all of the following on your resume:

  • proficiency in Python, Ruby, C++ and other coding languages
  • understanding of database languages like SQL
  • experience with cloud computing platforms like AWS and Azure
  • detail-oriented with strong organizational skills
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • willingness and ability to work in cross-functional teams

how much do DevOps engineers make?

Starting salaries for DevOps engineers vary according to seniority, responsibilities, experience and location. According to Randstad USA's 2022 salary guide, national salary ranges for DevOps engineers are as follows:

  • entry-level: $100,704 - $125,024
  • mid-level: $125,024 - $150,880
  • senior-level: $150,880 - $176,864

how do you become a DevOps engineer?

Because the term is so broad and indicates a method of working as much as a fixed set of responsibilities, there are several avenues to becoming a DevOps engineer. That said, almost all professionals in this field have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline, plus relevant industry experience, preferably with cloud technologies.

Additional certifications that can give DevOps engineer candidates an edge include:

Looking for the right opportunity to launch your career as a DevOps engineer or in some other technology role? Randstad USA has the inside scoop on today’s best IT jobs.