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Devops salaries continued to rise during the pandemic

Devops salaries continued to rise during the pandemic

Global pandemic only highlighted importance of agile software teams, though not all countries saw increased wages and women earned less than men at the top levels

Credit: Dreamstime

Devops practitioners continued to see salaries rise - even through the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic - according to the 2,243 engineers who divulged their salary range for the 2020 Puppet Devops Salary Report.

As companies have increased their cloud spend and pushed forward with digital initiatives as a result of the pandemic, devops teams have been tasked with keeping core systems running and pumping out new features to users at faster and faster rates—and are being well compensated for doing so.

Devops professionals are earning more than ever

In the United States, 95 per cent of devops practitioners made more than US$75,000 a year in salary in 2020, up from 93 per cent in 2019. In Europe and the UK, where salaries are lower across the board, 71 per cent made more than US$50,000 a year in 2020, up from 67 per cent in 2019.

The increase was particularly pronounced for top earners. In Japan, the number of respondents earning more than US$75,000 (¥8 million) rose 25 per cent year-on-year, to 69 per cent in 2020. In the UK, those earning US$75,000 (£54,000) or more rose markedly to 74 per cent, up from 57 per cent in 2019. In the United States, 55 per cent of respondents in devops management positions earned between US$150,000 and US$250,000 in 2020, up from 53 per cent the year before.

Salaries did not rise everywhere, however. The number of respondents earning more than US$75,000 declining slightly in Singapore, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region and Japan also reported lower salaries on average in 2020, with the number of people earning less than US$75,000 at 65 per cent, up from 59 per cent the year before.

Financial services and tech no longer the best-paying devops industries

For engineers working at what Puppet defines as “highly evolved” devops shops like technology companies, 80 per cent earn US$75,000 per year or more, with only 57 per cent of those at “less evolved” firms earning that much on average.

However, this year saw employees at life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare companies overtake technology and financial services firms at the top of the earnings table.

“Financial services and technology normally lead the pack, but in 2020 the life science, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals category bumped financial services from the top spot by a noticeable margin,” the report noted. “We wonder if the rush to supply coronavirus vaccines, treatments, and personal protective equipment prompted a sudden industry-wide boost in salaries, bonuses, and hiring bonuses.”

There is a devops gender pay gap, too

As with the industry as a whole, there is a gender pay gap in devops, with more men earning top salaries than women. Up to the US$75,000-per-year mark, male and female devops engineers earn at similar levels, according to the survey. However, of those who earn more than US$125,000 a year, 28 per cent are male and 17 per cent female.

The rise of the platform engineer

This year also marked the rise of the platform engineer. As companies look to establish internal platforms to enable faster software delivery, the teams tasked with building and maintaining these platforms have seen their compensation rise steeply.

The report does note that it surveyed a low number of respondents who identified at platform engineers, but those who did reported the highest salaries of all respondents. Platform engineers are the most likely job title to earn more than US$150,000 a year and are more likely to earn more than US$100,000 than any other title surveyed.


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