Which kinds of developers make the most money?
According to some new data crunching by Stack Overflow, DevOps specialists top that particular list, easily making more than $100,000 per year. In the United States, they’re followed (in sequential order) by data scientists, backend developers, mobile developers, and game or graphics developers; DevOps specialists are also the top tech earners in India, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
(For those unfamiliar with DevOps as a concept, it blends together the development and operational sides of a company’s technology efforts. A DevOps specialist generally oversees everything from software integration and release to automating parts of the company’s internal IT stack. It’s a big, complicated job—hence the large paychecks.)
What’s notable is that DevOps remained at the top of the Stack Overflow list in both lower-income countries (i.e., India) and higher-income ones, despite Stack Overflow building two different models for those categories. It’s also worth mentioning that the top performers remained relatively consistent across countries—based on their high salaries, back-end developers and data scientists are clearly in demand from India to the U.K., for example.
The Stack Overflow results align with those of the Dice Salary Survey, which also found that DevOps roles pay very high salaries. The most skilled DevOps experts not only know the ins and outs of technology, but also possess the superior “soft skills” necessary to operate collaboratively across any given organization.
However much they’re paid, DevOps experts can also increase their salary and perks by specializing in certain skills and platforms. For example, Ansible, an open-source engine that automates configuration management and application deployment, is something critical to master; so are Puppet and Chef, which streamline the configuration and management of servers.
Those who want a career in this area should spend their time studying the software-development lifecycle, as well as how their company (or a desired employer) structures its development and operations teams. Those familiar with management, IT infrastructure, and programming will have an advantage in the job hunt.
“There are programmers out there who don’t know about web servers and networking and internet technologies and load balancing and routers, which are all needed for a successful website to run,” Will Bradley, lead web developer at SimpleWAN, told Dice about the difficulties of breaking into DevOps. “Likewise, there’s plenty of IT people who know all about routers and networking and internet technology but know nothing about whatever programming language the service is being written in.”
So if you want to succeed as a DevOps expert, think holistically. The rewards of the role are clearly vast.