DevOps Career Path for 2024

Sai Movva
25 Min Read

The tech world is constantly changing, and with 2024 approaching, there’s a growing need for skilled professionals in a field called DevOps. Global Market Insights reported that the DevOps Market size crossed $8 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at 20% CAGR from 2023 to 2032. Imagine combining the creativity of software development with the smooth-running operations that keep things working behind the scenes. That’s the essence of DevOps! It bridges the gap between these two areas. This article will delve into the exciting career path of DevOps and the opportunities it offers for those who want to succeed in the ever-evolving tech industry.

Overview of a DevOps Career

Imagine a career where you combine your tech skills with teamwork and problem-solving. A career in DevOps offers a unique blend of technical expertise and business acumen. DevOps professionals are like tech problem-solvers. They build plans to make software development faster and smoother. With a strong foundation in both technical and business domains, DevOps experts are well-equipped to tackle complex challenges and drive meaningful change within their organizations. 

DevOps Overview

Here’s what they do?

  • Bridge the Gap: They remove communication barriers between development and operations, making software development more efficient and faster.
  • Automate Tasks: Repetitive tasks can slow things down. DevOps professionals use special tools such as Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, and Ansible to automate these tasks and monitor performance, freeing up time for more important work.
  • Deliver Faster: By streamlining the process, companies can provide their customers with new features and updates more quickly.

The demand for these “tech team players” is growing as more and more businesses implement DevOps strategies. This translates to a bright future full of growth prospects for your career!

How Planning a DevOps Career Path Can Benefit You?

The world of software development is rapidly changing, and DevOps is at the forefront of this transformation. Planning a DevOps career path can lead to a future filled with exciting opportunities and professional growth. Here are just a few reasons why DevOps is an excellent career choice:

  • High Demand and Job Security: DevOps has become the most widely used software development methodology globally. This high adoption rate is fueled by a rapidly growing market; the global DevOps market size crossed $8 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at 20% CAGR from 2023 to 2032. This reflects a significant increase in demand for skilled DevOps professionals.
DevOps Market Size
  • Competitive Salaries and Growth Potential:  DevOps professionals are in high demand, and their skills are well-compensated. According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for DevOps Engineers in the US ranges between $94T to $1L per year, while in India it is between ₹7L and ₹20L per year. With many specializations and leadership options in DevOps, there is great room for career advancement and earning potential.
DevOps Market

The variety of roles within DevOps, from DevOps Engineer to Release Manager and DevOps Architect, offers diverse career paths to match your interests and skill set.

DevOps Career Path Stages

The world of DevOps offers a dynamic and rewarding career path. This section will provide a roadmap outlining the typical progression within the DevOps field, highlighting the responsibilities and skillsets associated with each stage: Entry-Level (DevOps Engineer I), Mid-Level (DevOps Engineer II), and Senior-Level/Leadership (DevOps Engineer III).

DevOps Engineer I (Entry-level Positions)

This is the starting point for aspiring DevOps professionals. DevOps Engineer I roles focus on gaining foundational knowledge and practical experience.

  • Responsibilities: These roles typically involve tasks like scripting automation, configuration management, assisting with deployments, and providing basic support for development and operations teams.
  • Skills: Solid understanding of core DevOps principles, familiarity with scripting languages (e.g., Bash, Python), basic knowledge of version control systems (GIT), and strong problem-solving abilities.

DevOps Engineer II (Mid-level Positions)

As you gain experience, you can progress to mid-level DevOps Engineer roles. These positions require a more comprehensive skillset and increased autonomy.

  • Responsibilities: Mid-level engineers take on more complex tasks like designing and implementing automated pipelines, managing infrastructure as code (IaC), troubleshooting issues, and collaborating with developers and operations teams to optimize workflows.
  • Skills: Proficiency in scripting languages, experience with CI/CD tools (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery), strong understanding of cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP), and excellent communication and collaboration skills.

DevOps Engineer III (Senior-level / Leadership Positions)

Senior-level DevOps Engineers, or DevOps Engineer III, are the leaders and architects of the DevOps environment. They possess in-depth knowledge and strategic vision.

  • Responsibilities: Leading DevOps initiatives, defining architecture and best practices, mentoring junior engineers, overseeing automation pipelines, and collaborating with stakeholders across the organization to ensure efficient software delivery.
  • Skills: Extensive DevOps experience, expertise in cloud platforms and infrastructure as code tools, strong leadership and communication skills, and the ability to think strategically and solve complex problems.

As a DevOps Engineer III, you’ll be a leader and innovator, shaping the future of the organization and driving success.

Top DevOps Career Opportunities in 2024

The DevOps landscape offers a diverse range of exciting career paths.  Whether you’re passionate about automation, security, or cloud technologies, there’s a DevOps role perfectly suited to your skills and interests.  Here’s a breakdown of some of the most in-demand DevOps opportunities in 2024:

Roles in DevOps Team

1. DevOps Engineer

Salary: $80,000 – $120,000 USD

Experience: Entry-level to Mid-level

The core role within DevOps, DevOps Engineers bridge the gap between development and operations. They automate repetitive tasks using scripting languages (e.g., Python, Bash) to streamline workflows. They also manage infrastructure deployments on cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP) and on-premises environments, ensuring smooth software delivery.  DevOps Engineers collaborate closely with both development and operations teams to troubleshoot issues, identify bottlenecks, and continuously improve the software development lifecycle.

Skills:

  • Proficiency in scripting languages like Python, Bash, or PowerShell.
  • Working knowledge of CI/CD tools (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) such as Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, or Azure DevOps Pipelines.
  • Familiarity with cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or GCP (at least one is preferred).
  • Experience with version control systems like GIT for code management.
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills to collaborate effectively and troubleshoot issues.

2. Release Manager 

Salary: $100,000 – $140,000 USD

Experience: Mid-level to Senior-level

Release Managers oversee the entire software release process, from planning and scheduling deployments to managing rollbacks and ensuring successful go-to-market strategies. They work closely with DevOps Engineers, developers, and other stakeholders to define release criteria, conduct risk assessments, and ensure a smooth delivery process. Release Managers also analyze deployment data and metrics to identify areas for improvement and optimize future releases.

Skills:

  • Solid understanding of DevOps principles and methodologies.
  • In-depth knowledge of CI/CD tools and release management best practices.
  • Strong project management skills to plan, schedule, and track deployments.
  • Excellent communication and collaboration abilities to liaise with various teams.
  • Analytical thinking to assess risks, analyze data, and identify areas for improvement.

3. DevOps Cloud Engineer

Salary: $110,000 – $150,000 USD

Experience: Mid-level to Senior-level

Cloud Engineers with DevOps expertise specialize in managing infrastructure as code (IaC) on cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or GCP. They leverage tools like Terraform or Ansible to automate infrastructure provisioning and configuration, ensuring scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness in cloud environments. DevOps Cloud Engineers collaborate with DevOps Engineers and architects to design and implement cloud infrastructure that supports efficient software delivery pipelines.

Skills:

  • Deep understanding of at least one major cloud platform (AWS, Azure, or GCP).
  • Expertise in IaC tools like Terraform or Ansible to automate infrastructure management.
  • Proficiency in scripting languages for automation purposes.
  • Working knowledge of DevOps methodologies and their application in cloud environments.
  • Strong understanding of cloud security best practices.

4. DevOps Security Engineer (DevSecOps)

Salary: $120,000 – $160,000 USD

Experience: Mid-level to Senior-level

DevSecOps Engineers, also known as Security Engineers in the DevOps world, integrate security best practices throughout the entire software development lifecycle (SDLC). They work alongside developers and DevOps engineers to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities from the very beginning of the development process. DevSecOps Engineers implement security tools and processes within the CI/CD pipeline to automate security testing and ensure secure code is deployed. They also stay up-to-date on the latest security threats and develop strategies to protect applications and infrastructure from cyberattacks.

Skills:

  • Strong understanding of DevOps principles and methodologies.
  • In-depth knowledge of security best practices, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and vulnerability scanning tools.
  • Experience with secure coding practices and secure coding standards (e.g., OWASP Top 10).
  • Proficiency in scripting languages for automation tasks related to security testing.
  • Understanding of cloud security practices specific to chosen cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP).

5. Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

Salary: $130,000 – $180,000 USD

Experience: Mid-level to Senior-level

SREs apply engineering principles to ensure the reliability, scalability, and performance of large-scale systems. They bridge the gap between development and operations by focusing on proactive maintenance and automation to prevent outages. SREs develop and implement monitoring tools and alerting systems to identify potential issues before they impact users. They also automate tasks related to system provisioning, configuration management, and performance optimization.

Skills:

  • Solid understanding of DevOps principles and methodologies.
  • Strong Linux administration skills with experience in managing and troubleshooting complex systems.
  • Proficiency in scripting languages like Python or Bash for automation purposes.
  • Experience with monitoring and alerting tools like Prometheus, Grafana, or Datadog.
  • A problem-solving mindset with the ability to identify root causes of issues and implement solutions to prevent recurrence.

6. DevOps Architect

Salary: $150,000+ USD

Experience: Senior-level

DevOps Architects are the strategic leaders who design and implement the overall DevOps strategy for an organization. They work closely with stakeholders across development, operations, and security teams to define best practices, select the most appropriate tools and technologies, and guide the team toward achieving efficient and secure software delivery. DevOps Architects are responsible for staying current on the latest DevOps trends and ensuring the chosen tools and methodologies align with the organization’s specific needs and goals.

Skills:

  • Extensive experience in DevOps principles and methodologies.
  • Leadership skills and the ability to mentor and guide DevOps teams.
  • Deep understanding of cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP) and infrastructure as code (IaC) tools.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to assess challenges and design effective solutions.
  • Strategic thinking capabilities to define long-term goals and roadmaps for DevOps initiatives.

7. DevOps Automation Expert

Salary: $120,000 – $160,000 USD

Experience: Mid-level to Senior-level

Automation Experts specialize in designing and implementing automated solutions to streamline DevOps workflows and improve efficiency. They work closely with DevOps Engineers and other team members to identify repetitive tasks and bottlenecks that can be automated. Automation Experts have a strong understanding of scripting languages and CI/CD tools and leverage them to create automated pipelines for tasks like testing, deployment, and infrastructure provisioning.

Skills:

  • Proficiency in scripting languages like Python, Bash, or PowerShell for automation scripting.
  • In-depth knowledge of CI/CD tools and expertise in configuring them for automated workflows.
  • Experience with automation frameworks like Jenkins, Ansible, or Chef.
  • Strong problem-solving skills to identify areas for automation and design effective solutions.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with developers and operations teams to understand their needs and implement appropriate automation solutions.

8. DevOps Testing Engineer

Salary: $90,000 – $130,000 USD

Experience: Entry-level to Mid-level

DevOps Testing Engineers integrate automated testing practices into the software development lifecycle. They work alongside developers and DevOps Engineers to design, develop, and maintain automated test scripts to ensure software quality throughout the development process. DevOps Testing Engineers utilize various testing tools and frameworks to automate functional, performance, and security testing.

Skills:

  • Proficiency in scripting languages like Python or Java for test script development.
  • Experience with testing frameworks like Selenium, JUnit, or Cypress for automating web application testing.
  • Understanding of API testing tools and methodologies.
  • Knowledge of performance testing tools like LoadRunner or JMeter.
  • Familiarity with security testing concepts and tools for basic security testing of applications.
  • Strong analytical skills to analyze test results and identify potential defects.
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills.

Building Your DevOps Skillset & Experience

To excel in a DevOps career, professionals need to continually enhance their skill set and gain relevant experience. This can be achieved through various avenues, including formal education, certifications, open-source contributions, personal projects, and networking.

Formal Education & Certifications

A strong educational foundation in computer science, software engineering, or a related field provides a solid understanding of the core concepts. This knowledge forms the basis for a successful DevOps career. Additionally, acquiring certifications such as AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, Azure DevOps Engineer Expert, or Google Cloud DevOps Engineer can validate one’s expertise and enhance career prospects. These certifications demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning and staying up-to-date with the latest industry practices.

Specific DevOps Skills in Demand:

  • Scripting Languages (Python, Bash)
  • Cloud Platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP)
  • CI/CD Tools (Jenkins, GitLab)
  • Containerization Technologies (Docker, Kubernetes)

Open-Source Contributions

Contributing to open-source projects is an excellent way to gain practical experience and exposure to real-world scenarios. By collaborating with other developers and working on shared projects, DevOps professionals can learn from each other’s experiences and expand their skill sets. Engaging with the open-source community also allows individuals to showcase their skills, build a network, and stay updated with emerging trends. Online Resources for Open-Source Contribution:

Home Lab or Personal Projects

Setting up a home lab or working on personal projects is another effective way to enhance one’s DevOps skills and experience. This hands-on approach enables individuals to experiment with various tools, technologies, and automation practices. By tackling real-world challenges in a controlled environment, professionals can develop problem-solving skills, promote creativity, and showcase their ability to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios. Here are some project ideas to consider:

  • Build a CI/CD pipeline for a personal project
  • Deploy a containerized application (e.g., using Docker)
  • Automate a repetitive task (scripting languages/configuration management tools

Networking & Community Engagement

Active participation in industry events, workshops, and online communities is crucial for building a strong network and staying connected with the DevOps community. By engaging with like-minded professionals, individuals can foster continuous learning and gain valuable insights into the latest advancements and best practices in DevOps. Networking opportunities can lead to collaborations, mentorship, and potential job opportunities. Online Resources for Networking & Community Engagement:

By combining formal education, certifications, open-source contributions, personal projects, and networking, individuals can build a well-rounded skill set and gain valuable experience in the field of DevOps. Continuous learning and active engagement with the DevOps community are key to staying relevant and thriving in this rapidly evolving industry.

Expert Tips on Progressing in Your DevOps Career Path

Progressing in a DevOps career requires dedication, continuous learning, and adaptability. Here are some expert tips to help you thrive:

  1. Stay ahead of the curve: Continuously learn about emerging technologies and industry trends to keep pace with the ever-evolving DevOps landscape. This proactive approach can help you identify opportunities to improve your skillset and add value to your organization.
  2. Master communication and collaboration: DevOps emphasizes cross-functional teamwork. Cultivate effective communication and collaboration skills. DevOps emphasizes cross-functional teamwork, so the ability to articulate ideas and work collaboratively is crucial.
  3. Develop problem-solving and troubleshooting skills: Being able to identify root causes of issues, troubleshoot effectively, and implement solutions efficiently is highly valued in DevOps. Develop problem-solving and troubleshooting skills. Embrace a growth mindset: Embrace a culture of learning from failures and continuously improving. DevOps encourages experimentation and acknowledges that failures can lead to valuable insights and optimizations. Analyze incidents to identify areas for improvement and implement changes to prevent similar issues in the future.
  4. Stay adaptable and flexible: Stay adaptable and flexible in a rapidly changing industry. Being able to adapt to new technologies and methodologies is critical for long-term success.

Master Automation for Efficiency

Automation is a cornerstone of DevOps. Honing your automation skills allows you to:

  • Streamline processes: Automate repetitive tasks like configuration management, testing, and deployment to free up time for more strategic initiatives.
  • Increase efficiency: Reduce manual errors and ensure consistency across your DevOps pipeline.
  • Add value to your organization: By automating tasks effectively, you can significantly improve your team’s overall productivity and efficiency.

Popular automation tools to consider include Ansible, Puppet for configuration management, and Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD for continuous integration and delivery. Familiarize yourself with these tools and practices to enhance your skillset and become a valuable asset in any DevOps environment.

How Scaler Can Help You Start Your DevOps Career?

Scaler Academy, an initiative by InterviewBit, offers comprehensive and industry-relevant programs to help individuals kickstart a rewarding career in DevOps. 

Scaler Advantage:

  • Industry-designed curriculum: Master in-demand topics like CI/CD (Jenkins/GitLab), cloud platforms (AWS/Azure), infrastructure automation, and containerization (Docker).
  • Hands-on learning: Gain practical experience through real-world project simulations and case studies.
  • Expert mentorship: Benefit from guidance from experienced DevOps professionals.
  • Industry connections: Expand your network through industry networking events.
  • Placement support: Get help landing your dream DevOps role.
  • Real-world experience: Participate in internship opportunities with leading tech companies to work on live projects and gain exposure to cutting-edge tools and technologies.

Scaler Academy empowers you to build a strong foundation and develop the skills necessary to excel in your DevOps career. Visit the website today to learn more and kickstart your journey!

Conclusion

The DevOps career path presents an exciting opportunity for individuals passionate about technology and collaboration. With the increasing need for seamless software delivery and efficient operations, the demand for skilled DevOps professionals is on the rise. By continuously developing their skill set, gaining practical experience, and staying updated with emerging trends, individuals can carve a successful career in DevOps and contribute to the technological advancements of the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a career in DevOps?

There are several ways to kickstart your DevOps journey:

  • Learn the Fundamentals: Start by understanding DevOps principles, methodologies, and tools like Git, configuration management (e.g., Ansible, Chef), and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
  • Gain Practical Experience: Hands-on experience is invaluable. Contribute to open-source projects or build personal projects to showcase your skills.

Network and Connect: Connect with DevOps professionals online or attend meetups to learn from their experiences.

Does DevOps need coding?

Yes, coding skills are an essential part of a DevOps engineer’s toolkit. While the level of coding might vary depending on the specific role, you’ll likely need to be comfortable with scripting languages like Python, Bash, or PowerShell to automate tasks and interact with infrastructure.

Is a college degree necessary to become a DevOps engineer?

A college degree is not always mandatory.  Many companies value skills and experience over formal education. However, a degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field can provide a strong foundation. Regardless of your educational background, a passion for learning and staying updated with the latest DevOps tools and technologies is crucial.

Which cloud platform (AWS, Azure, GCP) should I focus on?

While familiarity with all major cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP) is a plus, it’s not mandatory to be an expert in all of them at the beginning. Research current industry trends and job descriptions to see which platform is most in demand in your target job market. Choose one platform to focus on initially and build your expertise before expanding to others.

How can I stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in DevOps?

The DevOps landscape is constantly evolving. Here’s how to stay ahead of the curve:

  • Follow DevOps blogs and publications.
  • Attend industry conferences and webinars.
  • Take online courses and tutorials on new tools and technologies.
  • Contribute to open-source DevOps projects.
  • Network with other DevOps professionals and participate in online communities.

What soft skills are important for success in a DevOps career?

In addition to technical skills, strong soft skills are essential for DevOps engineers. These include:

  • Communication: Collaborate effectively with developers, operations teams, and other stakeholders.
  • Problem-solving: Identify and troubleshoot issues efficiently.
  • Teamwork: Work effectively in a team environment.
  • Adaptability: Embrace change and continuously learn new skills.
  • Time management: Prioritize tasks and manage multiple projects effectively.

What is the difference between a DevOps engineer and a software developer?

While both roles are crucial in the software development lifecycle, their focus areas differ:

  • Software Developer: Primarily focuses on writing code, designing software applications, and ensuring their functionality.
  • DevOps Engineer: Collaborates with developers to bridge the gap between development and operations. They automate tasks, streamline workflows, and ensure the smooth deployment and maintenance of software applications.
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Sai Movva is a tech maestro and visionary, currently weaving magic as the Director of Engineering & Staff Software Engineer at Scaler & InterviewBit. Not one to rest on his laurels, Sai is the mastermind behind the Innovation Labs at Scaler School of Technology (SST), where the future of tech is being written. With a knack for solving complex puzzles, he has played a pivotal role in shaping the curriculum and products across Software Engineering, Data Science, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics courses at Scaler Academy and SST. Sai's journey is a testament to the power of innovation and dedication in the tech landscape.
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