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DevOps salary survey highlights link between server farm size and practitioner pay

The Puppet 2017 DevOps Salary Report suggests practitioners working at larger firms, with sizeable server farms and low-level manual configuration management, get paid more

DevOps practitioners working for organisations running 500 or more servers are more likely to be paid in excess of $100,000 a year for the work they do, research suggests.

That is according to previously unpublished salary data from Puppet’s 2017 State of DevOps report, which has been repackaged for the fourth year in a row into a standalone study on practitioner remuneration trends.

The report features responses from 3,200 DevOps practitioners and suggests salaries tend to rise in line with the number of servers their organisations run, and appear to plateau in organisations who run 500 or more.

For example, DevOps practitioners working in companies running fewer than 100 servers commonly report salaries in the $50,000 to $75,000 range, while companies operating between 100-to-500 servers tend to pay up to $100,000.

In organisations with 500 or more servers, practitioners commonly report salaries of between $100,000 and $125,000 a year.

“Past the 500-server market, however, the most common salary holds steady at $100,000 to $125,000,” said the report.

The report further suggests organisations who have gone to great lengths to automate the bulk of their configuration management procedures tend to pay their DevOps practitioners more than organisations who still rely on manual processes.

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As such, in organisations where less than 25% of their configuration management relies on manual processes, 61% of practitioners report earning $100,000, compared with 55% for individuals whose companies user a higher degree of manual processes in their configuration management.

“This should put to rest the unspoken but often present fear that automation will lead to worse job prospects for IT people. If you’re doing less manual work, and more of your work has been automated, you’re able to spend more time on innovation and work that’s seen as strategic, and that provides value to the business,” the report reads.

“Another possible factor in the higher pay of people working at jobs where more of the work is automated: people doing a lot of repetitive manual work are likely to seek a new job where they can do work that's more rewarding, both financially and professionally.”

Calculating server farm sizes

The size of a company’s server farm is often used as an indicator of the scale of its overall operations, and results also highlight the link between how many staff a company employs and how well they pay their DevOps teams.

In organisations with 10,000 or more employees, around half of practitioners (49%) said they were earning more than $100,000 a year, while just 21% of respondents reported achieving a similar level of pay while working for companies with between 1-19 members of staff.

According to Puppet’s director of product marketing, Alanna Brown, the overarching theme of the report is the number of organisations that appear to be ramping up their efforts to properly remunerate the staff who are leading their digital transformation efforts.

“As more enterprises fundamentally change the way they deliver IT services and software to users around the globe in support of digital transformation efforts, they are also challenged with finding the right talent to help increase deployment speed and innovation,” she said.

“This year’s salary report reveals organisations are investing more heavily in talent and positions that better support DevOps as they rush to transform their businesses and remain competitive.”

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