DevOps Specialists Can Earn More With a HS Diploma Than a Master's

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In a time when student loan debt is crippling so many young people before they even have the chance to begin their professional lives, some are questioning whether college is really worth it. Often, they’re told that without a degree, they’ll be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of their lives.

But that’s simply not true, especially in the technology world. Here, you’ll find that a lot of the time, skills mean a lot more than education.

Of course, qualification requirements differ from field to field and position to position. But in today’s market, DevOps is one sector that can offer high school grads particularly promising results.

What Is DevOps?

Basically, DevOps is a very specific style of software development. The name is a mashup of “development” and “operations,” and the work has a heavy emphasis on collaboration. DevOps specialists work together with other IT professionals to streamline production processes and create quality software quickly and efficiently.

DevOps specialists know how to communicate, organize, share information via web services, use specific development methodologies, keep data secure, and more.

How to Get a DevOps Job

Since it’s a relatively new field, those interested in DevOps won’t be facing too much competition, which is one of the reasons that you don’t need twenty diplomas to land a job. The real key is not how many years you’ve spent in school, but what kind of hands-on experience you have.

Spend some time working with software development tools, collaborating with other IT professionals, and managing real projects, and your resume will jump off the pile.

But Don’t Degrees Help?

Taking the time to get a bachelor’s or master’s couldn’t hurt, right? Actually, the numbers seem to say otherwise!

Cyber security company Imperva conducted a survey with DevOps.com to find out how education levels correlated with salary. The results:

  • High school grads with experience but no college were earning an average salary of nearly $107,000

  • Bachelor’s degree holders earned, on average, $105,500

  • Master’s degree holders earned an average of $105,000

Time spent in school is time not spent handling real projects and building your real-world experience—things that in the world of DevOps, can actually hurt your bottom line.

First Steps to Take

If you’re already in the tech space, you’ll have a much easier time expanding your set of experiences and skills. It’s easiest to move into a DevOps role if you have a background in software development. Holding administrative/leadership roles will also distinguish you from competitors, so if you spot opportunities to lead a team and hone your group-management abilities, take them.

Unlike certain other tech careers, DevOps is just as much about “soft skills” (working with people, keeping everyone happy, ensuring smooth communication between departments) as “hard skills” (working with the actual software and on-the-ground development process). So do your best to fine-tune both before gunning for a full-time career.

Conclusion

We need to stop treating college as something you have to do. For certain jobs, it’s not really necessary—and it’s a lot of money to spend on something that might actually hold you back.

Don’t let people tell you that you can't be successful with anything more than a high-school diploma. DevOps is just one field illustrating that you absolutely can.

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