DevOps “Drought” – The Truth Behind the Scarcity of DevOps Professionals

April 27, 2021
DevOps “Drought” – The Truth Behind the Scarcity of DevOps Professionals

DevOps engineers are in high demand these days. In fact, software development and IT operations (DevOps) engineers are among the top-recruited roles in the technology sector. The growth of the cloud-based web and mobile apps has created a large market for professionals who are skilled in DevOps. Unfortunately, in many cities, the need far outweighs the number of candidates who can fill the niche. So many companies are looking to transition into utilizing DevOps to streamline their technology workflows these days that there appears to be a scarcity of qualified candidates. Is this really the case? 

What Are DevOps?

Let’s start by defining what DevOps actually is. DevOps practices are used to speed up the time it takes for systems development while providing continuous delivery with high software quality. For successful implementation, it requires a team of skilled engineers working hand-in-hand, with an eye on both IT and operations. It also requires a change to how a company’s culture approaches and utilizes the cloud.

Within the DevOps discipline, technologies and processes are constantly – and quickly – changing. This means that a company that wishes to implement DevOps must stay on top of tech trends. and must hire engineers who are able to keep up as the cloud-based industry evolves. Those engineers should possess both technical skills (expertise in specific frameworks, experience managing UI, automation, software development, software testing) and soft skills (collaboration, communication, problem-solving, customer experience). The biggest hurdle hiring managers face is finding a candidate who possesses not only the technical skills needed to effectively implement DevOps but also the ability to work as part of a team.

The efficiency afforded by a well-oiled DevOps team is unparalleled. This productivity is so coveted that the need for skilled DevOps professionals has skyrocketed over the past years. In fact, the number of open roles now outnumbers the number of available candidates in the field. Is there really a scarcity of DevOps engineers, though?

The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.”

DevOps Engineers and Where to Find Them

Truth be told, in any given city there are bound to be many DevOps engineers. In fact, if you’re looking to hire one, odds are you’ll find a candidate pretty quickly – with one significant caveat: they’re probably already employed. 

In fact, there is not actually a “drought” of skilled professionals in the cloud and DevOps space. There are lots of reputable engineers; they simply are not available for hire. Many are working jobs they love, with high-paying, six-plus-figure salaries. The chances of convincing one of them to jump ship for your organization are probably pretty low. To lure them away, you’ll need to make a lucrative offer – and convince them that they’re better off working with you. This is not always an easy feat. 

If you’re lucky enough to catch an experienced DevOps professional in between jobs, great! You may have found a unicorn! If not, don’t fret – there are other ways to implement DevOps within your organization. The solution is simple; it just takes a bit more time to set up properly.

Recruit or Retrain?

When it comes to implementing DevOps in your company, there are two options available. One is more obvious than the other: recruit, or retrain.

Recruitment is an effective way to bring new talent into your team, but as we’ve discussed – there’s a dearth of trained DevOps engineers who are available for full-time work. If you’re at a loss, consider finding an engineer to hire on as a contractor, rather than a full-time employee. Hiring a contractor has several benefits for the company. You’ll have a chance to “try out” a candidate without having to commit to fully onboarding them, giving you the opportunity to see the quality of their work.

Opting to hire a DevOps engineer on an hourly salary can save you money when compared to an annual salary, especially for contract work. Additionally, hiring as a contractor is a perk for the candidate – it gives them the flexibility to work on other projects, and a happy engineer is always a great thing!

The less obvious answer is to retrain your current team. This takes a bit more time, and money – but can pay off in dividends. Professional development is important. Employee morale is often tied to the ability to move forward within the organization, and in a career. Presenting the opportunity for your best employees to retrain and learn DevOps (a lucrative role in any organization) is a wonderful incentive. A certification in DevOps does not require a college education, which allows for a wider range of candidates to be considered for the role.

Perhaps the strongest argument for retraining: you won’t have to worry about not being able to find a full-time candidate to recruit. Instead, you’ll have a DevOps engineer (or a DevOps team) from current employees, who already know the company’s goals, culture, and structure. 

To Hire in the Tech Market, You Must Move Quickly

If you’re interested in learning more about DevOps training for your team, there are many online courses available. Companies like Cloud Academy and Intelipaat offer comprehensive courses that can be taken remotely. Invest in your team, and your company’s future! Don’t forget to invest in workflow tools and implementation assistance, either.

At the end of the day, hiring in the tech market moves quickly. If you want to catch a qualified contractor – especially in a specific field – you’ll need to move quickly, too! Check out the services provided by a specialized recruiter like Focus GTS. Having a dedicated team with expertise in finding niche candidates to help you fill an open role can save you both time and money. A generalist recruiter may not have the insight that a specialized recruiter does, so weigh your options carefully!