DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers

All About DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers

Who are DevOps Engineers and what do they do?

A DevOps Engineer is a highly trained IT professional who specializes in a unique combination of coding, infrastructure management, and network operations. More than simply understanding these domains, a DevOps Engineer must also be adept at integrating them into a seamless system. They use their knowledge to automate and streamline the operations and processes of an organization. Their efforts significantly accelerate the software development cycle, reducing the time it takes to push code from development to production.

The DevOps Engineer's role intersects with that of the Site Reliability Engineer (SRE), another highly specialized IT professional. SREs are responsible for the reliability and stability of an organization's services and are often involved in incident management, system design, and software development. Essentially, they bring a software engineer’s mindset to system administration topics.

DevOps and SRE professionals form a small but critical segment of the IT industry, comprising about 3% of IT professionals who participate in salary surveys.

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How well are DevOps/SRE Professionals Weathering the Current IT Crisis?

The global and Ukrainian IT industries are experiencing a crisis, yet DevOps/SRE professionals appear more resilient in these turbulent times. According to spring job market research, 90% of them are employed, notably higher than the overall employment rate of 83% across all IT specializations. These professionals were also less likely to lose their jobs following the outbreak of a full-scale invasion, with only 11% laid off, compared to 16% for other IT professionals. Furthermore, they've been quick to find new employment, with 43% spending less than a month in the job search, compared to 35% among all IT professionals.

Where are DevOps/SRE Professionals Primarily Located?

Geographical distribution is a significant factor in the IT industry, and it's no different for DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers. Our survey data indicates a considerable concentration of these professionals in specific areas, primarily in Ukraine.

A significant portion, 37%, of DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers are located in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine. Kyiv, known for its rich history and dynamic growth, has become a vibrant tech hub with a growing startup scene. It's well-established IT infrastructure and exciting networking opportunities and career growth make it a preferred choice for these professionals.

Lviv, Ukraine's largest city in the western region, is another popular choice, hosting 17% of DevOps/SRE professionals. Lviv is renowned for its cultural heritage and educational institutions, which has led to a strong, skillful tech talent pool. The city has seen a surge in IT companies in recent years, presenting appealing prospects for IT professionals.

Interestingly, our survey also found that 12% of DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers are currently based abroad. These professionals contribute to the global IT sector while still maintaining strong ties to their Ukrainian roots. They've expressed intentions to return to Ukraine in the future, driven by the appealing IT ecosystem and a sense of belonging.

What is the Profile of a Typical DevOps/SRE Professional?

DevOps/SRE professionals have a slightly higher median age compared to other IT specialists, with the median being 29 years compared to the overall average of 28. This is mainly because these professionals often have extensive work experience in the IT industry, averaging just over seven years.

The majority have advanced education in computer science (72%) or technical sciences (23%), and the proficiency level in English matches the industry average. Despite being dominated by men (97%), there are signs that the number of women in the field is set to increase.

How do DevOps/SRE Professionals Navigate Their Career Pathways?

Around 59% of DevOps/SRE professionals started their careers in different IT specializations. The majority of these professionals, 56% to be exact, have been in the industry for more than five years, and 62% have experience working in three or more companies. They are most commonly found in large outsourcing and outstaffing companies.

For DevOps/SRE professionals, proficiency in the right programming languages is pivotal to their role, in facilitating the smooth development, testing, and deployment of applications.

Python stands out as a favorite, with 93% of DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers using it as part of their day-to-day tasks. This language's simplicity, readability, and a wide array of libraries and frameworks make it the preferred choice for 62% of these professionals as their primary programming language. Python's versatility allows DevOps/SRE professionals to automate tasks, develop web applications, and perform data analysis with relative ease.

While Python is the leading tool, it's not the only one. Go, developed by Google, is another critical language 24% of DevOps/SRE professionals use. Its efficient compilation and execution capabilities, along with its straightforward syntax, make it a go-to language for system-level programming. Go's strong support for concurrent programming is another reason for its popularity among DevOps/SRE professionals, as it enables efficient utilization of multi-core processors.

Groovy, another important language in the DevOps/SRE toolkit, is adopted by 25% of professionals. Groovy is a versatile language that complements Java and enhances its features, making it easier for developers to script or write code for applications. It integrates seamlessly with any Java program, and it's widely used for scripting, testing, and writing build scripts, which are typical tasks for DevOps/SRE professionals.

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How Much Do DevOps/SRE Professionals Earn?

The median salary for DevOps and SRE professionals has seen a rapid increase over the years, soaring from $2300 in December 2019 to $3500 by December 2021. The recent invasion has not affected their salary levels, maintaining a median compensation of $3500 in December 2022. Compared to developers, DevOps/SRE professionals command higher salaries at all levels, largely due to their increased work experience.

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What Extra Compensation Do DevOps/SRE Professionals Receive?

Besides their salaries, 22% of DevOps and SRE professionals receive monetary bonuses. These are often tied to performance or are given on a regular basis. Site Reliability Engineers receive bonuses more frequently than DevOps professionals, with 36% receiving them compared to 20%. Bonuses are most common in product companies and large companies with over 1000 employees. The median monthly size of regular cash bonuses among those DevOps/SRE professionals who receive them is $200. However, in product companies and companies with over 1000 employees, the median amount rises to $250 and $235, respectively.

DevOps Engineers and Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) are central figures in the IT industry, merging their advanced coding, infrastructure management, and networking operations skills to optimize organizational operations and expedite software development processes. Their roles align closely, with SREs chiefly focusing on ensuring the reliability and stability of an organization's services, applying a software engineer’s approach to system administration matters.

Amid the ongoing IT crisis impacting both global and Ukrainian industries, DevOps/SRE professionals have shown remarkable resilience. Data from recent job market research indicates that 90% of these professionals remain employed—a statistic significantly higher than the overall 83% employment rate in the IT industry. They're less likely to face layoffs and tend to secure new employment swiftly.

Geographically, a considerable proportion of these professionals reside in Ukraine, primarily in the bustling tech hub of Kyiv and the culturally rich city of Lviv. Additionally, 12% of DevOps/SRE professionals, currently based overseas, intend to return to Ukraine, drawn by its burgeoning IT sector.

DevOps/SRE professionals typically possess significant work experience and higher computer science or technical science education. Despite the field currently being male-dominated, the number of women in the profession is slowly rising.

As their careers progress, a large percentage of DevOps/SRE professionals transition from different IT specializations, accumulating experience across multiple companies. They predominantly work in large outsourcing and outstaffing companies and require proficiency in key programming languages like Python, Go, and Groovy.

Their essential role in the IT industry is reflected in their compensation. DevOps and SRE professionals' median salary has grown substantially over the years, reaching $3500 in December 2022. Additionally, a significant number receive monetary bonuses tied to their performance or regularly, with SREs more likely to receive these bonuses.

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