DevOps jobs are some of the highest-paying in tech, according to the latest edition of Dice’s annual Salary Survey (PDF).
Those DevOps experts who command the highest salaries also possess some extraordinary skills. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the latest enterprise automation technology, for example, but they also have the “soft skills” necessary to operate collaboratively across any given organization. They can finesse their way through every stage of the software-development lifecycle, all the way through implementation.
Most of all, DevOps experts are good at handling transitions. While most employees regard change as something to be feared, a DevOps staffer must embrace it wholeheartedly—because the alternative is failure and destruction. He or she examines the organization’s processes for dangerous gaps, and works with others to propose solutions.
In the following list, you’ll notice that the highest-paying DevOps skills generally revolve around automation and configuration management. This is no coincidence: platforms such as Ansible, by automating tasks like software provisioning, ensure that DevOps can do its collective job—no matter what the size of the organization. (And for more information on how your specific skills can influence your salary, check out the Dice Careers App.)
Year-over-year change: N/A
Named for a fictional hyperspace communication system in a number of famous sci-fi novels (including Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”), Ansible is an open-source engine that automates configuration management, application deployment, and other DevOps tasks. It is integrated into the Fedora distribution of Linux, and available through a variety of other Red Hat offerings.
Year-over-year change: 1.4 percent
A Unix shell developed more than thirty years ago, KornShell boasts some significant differences from the Bourne shell (a command-line interpreter for operating systems) that provided most of its source code, including dynamic extensibility of built-in commands, job control, and command history. Given its age, KornShell is obviously used as a part of legacy systems, and demands specialists to run it—hence the high salaries for those who know its inner workings.
Year-over-year change: 0.5 percent
An open-source automation server, Jenkins automates aspects of the software development process such as continuous integration. It supports a variety of tools such as Git and Mercurial, and can execute everything from shell scripts to Apache Ant.
Year-over-year change: -3.7 percent
Puppet, which rests on a mainly Ruby-driven development process, can define what newly provisioned servers should do. That makes the platform versatile for everything from configuring systems to deploying software—all without the DevOps expert actually needing to get involved. No wonder it’s popular among system administrators, cloud architects, and those within organizations tasked with virtualization.
Year-over-year change: -3.8 percent
Like Puppet, Chef can streamline the configuring and maintenance of servers. System administrators like it partially because of its integration with EC2, Azure, and other platforms. Chef is also capable of scaling, making it ideal for small and large companies alike.
Year-over-year change: 3.3 percent
A tool for building virtual development environments, Vagrant is notable for how it automates configuration management, sparing developers and system administrators a lot of time. It is written in Ruby.