DevOps Engineer: Job Description, Key Skills, and Salary in 2022


A DevOps engineer is defined as a technical professional skilled in software development and IT operations and has the communication and collaboration skills needed to execute the end-to-end DevOps pipeline seamlessly, spanning development, build, test, release, deploy, etc. and monitor stages. This article discusses a DevOps engineer’s roles, responsibilities, and skills. It also breaks down the salary candidates can expect in DevOps in 2022. 

What Is DevOps Engineer?

A DevOps engineer is a technical professional skilled in software development and IT operations and has the communication and collaboration skills to execute the end-to-end DevOps pipeline seamlessly, spanning development, build, test, release, deploy, and monitor stages. 

DevOps engineers play an essential role in organizational success as they enable: 

  • Speedy delivery: Increases the frequency of software releases to accelerate product launches and improvements.
  • Increased reliability: Incorporates testing at every stage of the SDLC to deliver error-free and optimized software. 
  • Low-risk scalability: Drives consistency and standardization in the SDLC to incorporate a greater number of features and new products. 
  • Reduced bottlenecks: Detects and resolves issues faster, owing to close collaboration with the operations team. 
  • Greater efficiency: Reduces release time and efforts through automated tools for testing and security. 

This role replaces the traditional software development model, where developers, testers, and quality assurance used to work independently on the product code and pass the finished product onto operations. The operations team deployed the code using IT infrastructure, and if there were any bugs, they would send the code back to development for iterations. The two teams worked in silos, which prolonged SDLC timelines, caused avoidable bugs in the code, and impacted product quality. 

DevOps engineers reimagine this process end-to-end. They allow organizations to adopt the DevOps methodology for software development lifecycle (SDLC) management. They help developer and operations teams to work side by side to enable a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) workflow instead of working in silos. 

As a result, DevOps engineers are among the most in-demand technical roles in the market today. CodinGame’s 4th Annual Report (2021) found that DevOps engineer is the no.1 developer job right now, based on a survey of 15,000+ professionals. 43% of HR professionals said they are struggling to meet the demand for this role, mainly due to the surge in DevOps skills to manage cloud infrastructure and cloud-based application development. DevOps engineers will play a vital role in migrating their application landscapes to the cloud and driving cloud-native innovation as organizations pursue digital transformation. 

Types of DevOps engineers

There can be several types of DevOps engineers depending on the organization and project need. Some of the key types include: 

  • Code release manager: This type of DevOps engineer acts as a natural bridge between programmers and the rest of the DevOps team. They orchestrate how the code is packaged and moved into the testing, improvement, and deployment pipeline. They envision the DevOps roadmap for the project and plan the schedule for code release. 
  • DevOps automation architect: As mentioned, automated tools are one of the driving factors for DevOps efficiency, and organizations need someone with automation expertise to implement the right tools. The automation architect selects the tools and may even write scripts to automate testing, development, and operational tasks. 
  • DevOps evangelists: The DevOps evangelist takes ownership of the cultural change initiated by DevOps. They will craft new workflows for collaboration, check-in on team member wellbeing, and promote the benefits of DevOps to both employees and team leaders. Evangelists play an essential role in organizations adopting DevOps for the first time. 
  • DevOps experience assurance: While traditional testing and quality assurance teams will fix technical bugs in the code, DevOps workflows often reveal user experience issues. This DevOps engineer is responsible for streamlining the end-user experience and making the product as “sticky” and easy to use as possible. 
  • DevOps infrastructure manager: An infrastructure manager is more an IT operations role, in charge of receiving code releases and deploying them on properly managed IT infrastructure. This type of DevOps engineer must have strong local and cloud systems management skills. 
  • DevOps generalist: Some companies hire IT generalists as DevOps engineers, who bring a combination of software engineering, testing, deployment, and infrastructure maintenance skills. DevOps generalists typically wear many hats and can be employed by small teams and young companies that are yet to reach DevOps maturity. 

See More: What Is DevOps? Definition, Goals, Methodology, and Best Practices

DevOps Engineer Job Description: Roles and Responsibilities

Various companies employ DevOps engineers, from product companies and managed service providers to any organization that operates a high-traffic website. Organizations with a robust digital presence like those in retail, healthcare, telecom, financial services, and the public sector also hire DevOps engineers to upgrade and maintain their application footprint on the cloud. 

The details of the description will differ from one organization to another. However, regardless of the detailed job description, DevOps roles typically involve the following responsibilities: 

Roles and Responsibilities of DevOps Engineer

1. The ability to develop software and use open source codebases

DevOps engineers may be expected to participate in core development processes in some scenarios. Particularly in small teams and startups, DevOps works closely with software engineers on one end and the production team on the other, supporting both in their tasks. They need to use open source technologies and innovations to augment the codebase and accelerate product or feature release for the organization. 

2. Knowledge of security and compliance 

DevOps engineers ensure that security and compliance are not compromised in a bid to release products at an accelerated timeline. They should identify the correct point in the SDLC to conduct application security and compliance testing. They should be able to “shift left” and incorporate testing as early as possible into the development and delivery lifecycle. DevOps engineers must advocate for security and compliance across developers and operations teams. 

3. Hands-on knowledge of testing automation 

Testing automation is central to DevOps success, as it reduces a lot of the manual efforts involved in quality assurance, thereby speeding up the release cycle. DevOps engineers may be expected to act as automation strategists, responsible for identifying the ideal point for automation intervention on the SDLC. They may have to develop and maintain automation scripts in collaboration with a dedicated automation architect employed by a large organization. 

4. Familiarity with agile project planning and management 

Senior DevOps engineers are often hired for project planning and management roles, responsible for envisioning and orchestrating the entire blueprint of development and delivery processes across the organization. Some organizations even hire Chief DevOps Officers at the same lateral level as Chief Technology Officers in digital organizations. DevOps engineers must use agile project planning to execute DevOps processes efficiently for job roles like these. 

5. Expert competencies in systems analysis 

Systems analysis is a DevOps responsibility typically owned by the operations end of the team. The DevOps engineer works with the IT operations manager to analyze infrastructure systems, optimize them to run code releases, fix issues, and plan for improvement. DevOps engineers must bring some cloud expertise to analyze cloud-based systems and infrastructure in most organizations. That’s why companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google offer their own DevOps training and certifications to demonstrate expertise in this area. 

6. Experience with documentation creation and updates 

Documentation for a DevOps-led SDLC can be an incredibly complex and time-consuming task. With frequent releases, iterations, improvements, and fixes, someone must ensure that the technical and customer-facing documentation is appropriately updated. A DevOps engineer has to work on SDLC documentation independently or with a specialized documentation team. This aids in future audits, compliance, code reusability, and technical debt reduction. 

7. Knowledge of infrastructure maintenance and troubleshooting 

In addition to systems analysis to identify areas of improvement, DevOps engineers must perform routine maintenance and troubleshooting tasks to keep the IT infrastructure ready for builds. As the software and its codebase evolve with every iteration, the production environment must also keep up. DevOps engineers assess the infrastructure regularly and realign the configurations to minimize errors. They may also use automated tools for troubleshooting. 

8. Capability to conduct root cause analysis 

Root causes analysis traces an issue back to its underlying cause, which could be a misconfigured production environment, a bug in the code package, an error that crept while using open source, or a mistake in the documentation. DevOps engineers need to undertake root cause analysis for moderate to significant issues to prevent the same bug from cropping up again. While minor problems can be quickly fixed by the software engineer or the operations team, more severe issues have to be analyzed by a DevOps engineer before initiating a fix. 

9. Proficiency in running unit tests and quality assurance 

The DevOps engineer must oversee testing and quality assurance to ensure product excellence for every release cycle. Companies typically use automated workbenches for regression testing, but the engineering team handles unit testing. They could also be a separate quality assurance team for experience testing, user acceptance testing, non-functional testing, and so on. The DevOps engineer orchestrates these processes to align with the release timeline. 

10. Mastery of DevOps performance management 

The team needs to monitor and measure key performance metrics (KPIs) like deployment frequency, change failure rates, change volume, defect volumes, defect escape rates, and the like to boost DevOps performance. A senior DevOps engineer should manage the team’s overall performance, focusing on KPI measurement and performance optimization. 

DevOps engineer job description example

Here is a sample job description for DevOps engineer roles: 

Job Description 

We are a new and emerging technology startup, recently recognized as one of the top 10 unicorns in our country. We emerged from stealth in 2019. For the last few years, we have been developing a cloud-based platform that will revolutionize payment processes and bridge the digital divide in our region. We are currently looking for a mid-level DevOps engineer to join us on the next phase of our journey and help us deliver bug-free applications quickly. If you have experience in software engineering and familiarity with Ruby, we would like to hear from you. 

Core Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with Dev on updates and fixes 
  • Implement tools to automate testing during production 
  • Perform root cause analysis for errors 
  • Maintain the production environment and infrastructure 

Secondary Responsibilities 

  • Offer L3 support to customers if needed 
  • Collaborate with Dev on unit testing 
  • Understand the customer to anticipate UX issues 

Skills We’re Looking For 

  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science 
  • Knowledge of Git workflows and Ruby 
  • 2-3 years of experience in a software developer or equivalent role 
  • Working knowledge of databases (not mandatory) 
  • Interpersonal and communication skills (essential) 

Educational Qualifications Preferred 

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or related fields 
  • Project management certification 

See More: What Is DevOps Lifecycle? Definition, Key Components, and Management Best Practices

DevOps Engineer Key Skill Requirements in 2022

Candidates require the following essential skills to become a DevOps engineer in 2022: 

Skills Required to Succeed as a DevOps Engineer

1. Infrastructure automation 

The DevOps pipeline relies on infrastructure automation to smoothly get the code into production and on time. To achieve this, engineers must leverage infrastructure as code (IaC) to automate tasks like provisioning and configuration. Knowledge of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) tools is also preferred, as this helps candidates gain from ready-to-use infrastructure automation solutions. 

2. Scripting languages like Ruby or Python 

Ruby and Python are the top two scripting languages relevant for DevOps professionals. Popular DevOps tools like Ansible are built on Python, and candidates need to know the language well to execute commands, perform DevOps tasks, and resolve pipeline bottlenecks. Manikin, which is an open-source DevOps tool, is built on Ruby. Therefore, DevOps engineers should know at least one of these two languages and preferably Go, used in the containerization tool, Docker. 

3. Microservices and serverless infrastructure

Microservices is an architectural pattern that helps engineers build distributed applications from separately deployed services. It is well suited for DevOps, as the team can focus on different microservice elements across different CI/CD cycles. Microservices also improve team productivity and fit into cloud-based application architectures by increasing their availability. Serverless computing is another vital skill as it allows DevOps engineers to deploy code with minimal infrastructure dependencies or configuration hassles. 

4. Public cloud architecture (AWS, GCP, and Azure) 

Most DevOps teams are assembled to speed up application delivery on the cloud. As organizations migrate their IT landscape to the cloud to meet remote work requirements and achieve digital transformation, demand for DevOps engineers has increased. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure are the three most popular public clouds in use – and interestingly, all three provide their DevOps certifications. 

5. Source code management using tools like Git 

Managing source code is part of the daily workload of a DevOps engineer. They will receive code releases from the development team, pass them onto operations for production, maintain a history of changes to the codebase, and track version control. The process is repeated with every iteration and improvement cycle. Git, GitHub, and GitLab are the top tools for source code management, and experience with Bitbucket can also be helpful. 

6. The fundamentals of Linux 

Linux is an open-source operating system that provides engineers with far greater control over their infrastructure than other options like Windows. It is typically used to manage production environments, and Linux distributions like Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Fedora, and Debian are commonly used for cloud computing, microservices, and serverless operations. Linux knowledge is a must-have skill for DevOps engineers. 

7. Containerization (Kubernetes and Docker) 

Containerization refers to packing code, dependencies, configurations, and other production environment essentials into an independent package. This package can then be deployed in any infrastructure (including virtual ones) without impacting its surrounding components. DevOps engineers use containers to run microservice applications and test the code in a safe, sandboxed environment. Kubernetes is an open-source container management platform, and Docker enables virtualization to help deploy containerized code. 

8. Soft skills 

Finally, soft skills are vital to becoming a DevOps engineer, as the role cannot operate independently. Unlike a traditional software engineer or developer, DevOps must constantly collaborate with different teams, understand stakeholder requirements, and mediate conflicts when they arise. 

A DevOps engineer should have leadership skills to help cohesively push the team towards a shared goal. Soft skills are necessary primarily because the different DevOps team members come from various technical backgrounds with different kinds of expertise and must be managed effectively. 

See More: Top Factors Plaguing DevOps Evolution and Tips to Overcome the Challenges

DevOps Engineer Salary in 2022

DevOps engineers are among the most well-paid professionals in the developer segment with a higher salary than the average software engineer. As per PayScale data (last updated Jan 31, 2022) was $88,363. In comparison, DevOps engineers earned $92,648 per year. Compensation levels have also increased due to the focus on digital transformation during the pandemic. 

Puppet’s 2020 DevOps Salary Report found that DevOps salaries in Japan, the U.S., and the U.K., had all seen a significant rise after COVID-19. In 2022, engineers and aspiring DevOps professionals will see a similarly bullish job market.

  • Entry-level roles: Salaries for freshers with less than one year of experience in software development start at $65,000 per year in the U.S. On average, an entry-level DevOps engineer earns $74,737. 
  • Early-career DevOps engineer: A person with 1-5 years of DevOps experience in the U.S. earns $88,465 on average. 
  • Senior DevOps engineers: A mid-career professional with 5-9 years of experience will earn an average salary of $105,989 in the U.S. On average, someone with even more experience (10-19 years) will receive $123,503 annually.
  • DevOps leadership roles: DevOps engineers and leaders with more than 20 years of experience can earn up to $131,122.
  • AWS DevOps engineer: The average salary of an AWS-certified DevOps engineer is $124,000, excluding bonuses and earnings from profit-sharing models. PayScale’s data notes that AWS is among the top four skills for DevOps engineers, the other three being Linux, Jenkins, and automation scripting.
  • Cloud DevOps engineer: The median annual salary of a DevOps engineer with cloud computing skills is $101,646, which rises to $117,409 for senior DevOps engineers with 10+ years of experience. 

Keep in mind that salaries also depend on a candidate’s specific skills to the table. For instance, an early-career engineer with Linux certification can earn as much as $94,238. Knowledge of systems troubleshooting (33%), Hadoop (29%), and cybersecurity (21%) can also influence compensation. Freshers should note that knowledge of the Go (or Golang) programming language can increase entry-level salary levels by 32%. 

See More: Why Agile DevOps Is Now the Default Standard for Software Development

Key takeaways 

The demand for DevOps engineers will be high in 2022, and even fresh graduates from technical fields can apply for the role. Here are the key takeaways to remember when pursuing a career in DevOps: 

  • The DevOps engineer’s role is closely linked to business outcomes. This makes them highly valuable but also adds to the responsibilities and workloads. 
  • In addition to technical skills, DevOps engineers must have excellent people skills and be conversant with project management techniques. This will streamline career progression into roles with a management capacity. 
  • DevOps engineers can make anywhere between $65,000 and $131,122 per year. Cloud DevOps engineers and AWS DevOps engineers earn more on average. 
  • DevOps engineers may earn an additional salary component through profit-sharing in a startup. 

To prepare for a career in DevOps, one can sign up for DevOps courses and certifications provided by independent institutions and cloud companies. This will open up a plethora of promising career opportunities. 

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