Have DevOps jobs to fill? Try these 3 strategies to hire and retain

Sep 23, 2021 · 3 min read · Leave a comment
Valerie Silverthorne GitLab profile

If every company is a software company, how do you stand out from the crowd when it comes to attracting developer talent and filling DevOps jobs?

There’s a well-known, and worldwide, shortage of software developers, especially those with expertise in DevOps. Worse still, demand for those roles is accelerating rapidly: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment opportunities for devs and testers will increase 22% between 2020 and 2030. That growth rate means nearly 190,000 net new developer/QA/test jobs will be opening each year, according to the BLS.

That’s all a long way of saying things are tough out there. Organizations looking to expand, or even just maintain, their DevOps jobs momentum have to find unique ways to stand out from the crowd because, as many surveys have shown, salary alone is often insufficient to both attract and retain developer talent.

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Here are 3 ways organizations can create an environment where DevOps can thrive, boosting developer retention, job satisfaction and even “cool place to work” street cred.

Make (a few) cool tools rule

Developers are known for their big love of tools. In our 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey, more than one-quarter of respondents said they used between 5 and ten tool chains, and more than half said each tool chain had an average of 5 tools on it. Do the math and it’s clear that’s a lot of tools, and according to research on software developer job satisfaction too much information (i.e., from too many tools) can lead to less productivity and unhappy developers.

The solution to this very common problem can be found by adopting a DevOps platform, a single application where every stage of DevOps is interconnected, visible and seamless. And make sure that platform can integrate with all the key, cutting edge, “must have” kinds of tools that developers like to put on their resumes, and everyone will benefit from this streamlined approach.

Pay attention to career education

Developers are always willing to DIY career education. The latest Stack Overflow Survey found about 60% of their survey takers taught themselves coding via an online source – but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t value (and take advantage of) training opportunities from employers. In our 2021 survey, a majority of developers said they’re most excited to learn about AI/ML, while ops pros were looking for education around advanced programming languages.

By asking DevOps team members about their interests and needs, organizations can keep a pulse on training opportunities they could offer that will actually matter to their teams and potentially make filling DevOps jobs easier.

Be flexible about everything

From working remotely to working part-time, it’s clear that developers want the option to mix it up if possible. The more options - like having the time to pursue a degree or a passion - given to DevOps team members, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their jobs.

Also, time to pursue some “off the books” projects is another smart company perk. Don’t forget the role open source projects played in the pandemic (here are a few examples), making an already important part of a developer’s role even more compelling. In fact, more than 69% of our survey respondents told us they were involved with at least one open source project in 2021, and that number was up 6% from 2020.

Don't forget DevOps

It’s a temperamental DevOps job market, certainly, but organizations with healthy DevOps practices do have one secret weapon: DevOps itself. When we asked our 4,300+ survey takers what the top benefits of DevOps was, “happier developers” was near the top of the list.

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