How to Make Yourself More Marketable as a DevOps Engineer

Stephanie Beaumont

Written by Muhammad Ali , Senior Consultant at Zefa.

The DevOps career path is not only one of the most profitable, but also one of the most personally satisfying among the many career branches of IT today. According to a leading UK job board, median DevOps salaries for those with the right skills are hitting anywhere between £60,000 and £90,000, depending on the size of the team. Compare that to some median figures for traditional non-DevOps IT roles, and the earning differential is stark.

How to turn yourself into an indispensable DevOps Engineer

But how do you truly build out the skill sets and experience you need, not to mention get your personal brand out there to help land a quality DevOps engineering position? Hiring managers are eager to have the right talent on their teams to avoid all-to-common DevOps failures. We recently talked to hiring managers and some of our consultants who’ve had years of experience in sifting through CVs and connecting our clients to the best candidates.

Here are a few of the main things a DevOps professional can do to optimise their career potential:

Start Cross-Training now
Whether you’re a developer or an operations veteran, now is the time to start acquiring skills outside your current role’s comfort zone, especially if you’re still green to DevOps.

Developers by training tend to have a leg up on operations professionals when making the transition to DevOps engineering positions, not only due to demands for programming in-house tools and scripts, but also because they are more likely to understand the daily needs of developers. 

Muhammad Ali , Senior Consultant at Zefa highlights the importance of hard skills, and the best tech stack to make you stand out. He mentions that Terraform, (Infrastructure as Code); Ansible (Configuration Management); Azure, GCP, AWS (Public Cloud), Jenkins (CI/CD), and Python (Scripting) are valued hard skills. 

Go into detail about the extent of your experience with these tools. Sure, many people may have experience in AWS but if you describe the extent of your work with it, that will help you stand out from those who merely list hard skills on their CV without further context. Explain how you’ve used specific skills, and what you’ve been using them for. Don’t forget to describe what using said skills has helped you and the businesses you’ve worked with achieve.”

Build the Skills in the Job you have for the Job you Want
Many coveted DevOps engineering positions ask for people who have already lived and breathed the DevOps way of life. IT veterans without a DevOps title will find it much easier to land one of these positions by carving out DevOps-minded responsibilities and tasks from their existing, traditional role, whether they officially change their business card or not.

Ryan Page, Principal Consultant at Zefa says that strong experience in Kubernetes is highly valued. It is probably the most in-demand skill at the moment within DevOps. In fact, many companies are more likely to offer you more money if your CV highlights your extensive experience with Kubernetes.

He also suggests becoming an expert in one type of public cloud over being relatively familiar with most services. Or expanding your scope of professional fluency to two major cloud providers, keeping your options open but allowing you to focus on really investing your time in specialising in those cloud providers. You may be able to pick up multi-cloud skills during your career but to get a cloud engineering role you’re almost certainly going to need to show significant expertise on a specific cloud. If you are very proficient with one public cloud provider, go into detail on your CV about the cloud projects you have been doing, and the types of applications you have been working with within the public cloud.

Demonstrate Curiosity and Empathy
Interestingly, according to manage of our hiring managers, curiosity and empathy are perhaps two of the most valuable soft-skill traits a potential DevOps engineer can demonstrate.

“Demonstrating these two qualities is a very good sign that a potential employee will care deeply about DevOps, the company, and their role within both,” our client states.

Demonstrating the former may be easier than the latter, of course. Curiosity can be demonstrated by building a wide technical skill set and, more importantly, learning the art of asking the right questions when solving problems and initiating change for the better.

Automation: Prove you can get a lot done with a little
Establishing a mastery of automation tools and practices is perhaps the single most important thing budding DevOps engineers can do to improve their earning power and marketability.

Automation requires a deep understanding of what you’re automating, so all the time you spend working on automation, you’re really learning new insights into the technologies you’re supporting.

Muhammad Ali at Zefa suggests that a DevOps Engineer should be capable of automating the entire DevOps pipeline. Placing an emphasis on Continuous Development and Continuous Deployment pipeline (CI/CD). To demonstrate this skill on your CV, he recommends highlighting your experience with Jenkins (as it is the most popular tool). A DevOps automation skillet is closely linked with your knowledge of the DevOps toolset, coding, and scripting languages. he also clarifies that working on Linux-based infrastructure is highly regarded, particularly as it is very secure and efficient. Including coding and scripting is vital as part of your tech stack. Tools like Ruby, Python, Perl, and Java are the most recommended, so have a good understanding of these and highlight it on your CV where appropriate.

Develop your Personal Brand with Community Involvement
Career marketability is both about building intrinsic skills and finding a way to put them on display. Getting involved in the highly active and growing DevOps community provides a way to kill both birds with one stone. There’s no single way to do this, and it all depends on an individual’s skills and interests. It could mean speaking at industry events or, perhaps writing blogs and staying in touch with colleagues through online forums and the like. Jumping into an open-source project can also have a big impact.

Andrew Kyriacou, Director of Permanent at Zefa recommends getting involved with the DevOps community and demonstrating this on your CV. Show that you’ve done a talk or presentation at a networking event, this proves that you take an interest in engaging and educating others in DevOps, it also validates you as an evangelist and subject-matter expert. If you have attended events, it is worth mentioning as it shows your initiative in expanding your own knowledge in tech and wanting to meet other like-minded people. Not only will this look good on your CV, but help you make connections to assist you in your individual career.

Participation in the DevOps community shouldn’t just be approached as a way to further a career, but rather as a way to connect with other practitioners, get help, and gain exposure to new ideas.  unique support system.”

We co-organise Zefa DevOps Meetups which is a DevOps networking event and a great opportunity to gain some knowledge or give a talk and meet others in the industry. 

If you would like to speak to any of our consultants about seeking a new role or for more information, you can contact us here:

About zefa
We are true DevOps specialists, providing with the deep knowledge and market insight needed for our clients to build great technology teams and world-class innovations.

Need to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation & hire the best DevOps talent? Whether you are looking for permanent or contract DevOps specialists, we can help.

Contact learn us to learn more about how zefa can help:

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