Spotlight on DevOps


Like Brangelina or Kimye technology departments are increasingly relying on their own super-coupling: DevOps.

DevOps is a methodology that joins development and operations teams working side-by-side to shrink development time, save costs, and eliminate conflicts between developed projects and operational integration. No longer is it a relay race, with handoffs, but a competitive sprint with both teams expected to hold their own with open communication.

On any given day, you’ll find about 200 job postings on Dice looking for professionals that are working in a DevOps environment. To put that into perspective, there are more than 1,400 job postings recruiting for system administrators.

“The system administrator role is one employers are still trying to fill,” said Alice Hill, Managing Director of Dice.com. “I don’t see this position going away in the foreseeable future. Changing, yes. Eliminated? No.”

According to Alissa Nial, lead recruiter for online self-publishing site Blurb, who is currently on the hunt for a mid-to-senior level system administrator in San Francisco, “These senior system administrators with DevOps and an engineering background are in the right area of their careers.” In markets like Silicon Valley, recruiting DevOps talent can be a headache. It’s not unusual for multiple offers, counteroffers and rising salaries for DevOps experience.

“That’s the rub,” added Nial. While some are calling for the systems administrator role to go away, most hiring managers and recruiters say not so fast. It’s a role that’s simply evolving due to servers migrating to the cloud and a transition from task-based roles to strategic contributors.

In the second quarter, the unemployment rate for Network and Computer Systems Administrators* was 4.7 percent. That’s above the unemployment rate for tech professionals at 3.6 percent, but well below the national average of 8.2 percent under the same time frame. (In August, tech unemployment rate was 3.4% and national average was 8.1%).

In the same category, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 100,000 jobs to be created between 2010 and 2020 in their long-term forecast.

Murshed Chowdhury, CEO of New York-based staffing company Infusive Solutions, continues to have clients looking for system administrators and believes it’s a position that’s relevant for the foreseeable future. “Once this transition is solidified (cloud migration), it is likely that the number of open positions for systems admins will decrease. Any of these professionals that can successfully adapt to cloud technologies and virtualization will be the best positioned to thrive in future IT markets,” said Mr. Chowdhury.

Ms. Nial concurs, “I don’t think sys admins will ever totally go away.” But, adding DevOps experience for systems administrators appears to be a superstar pairing.

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*Bureau of Labor Statistics.