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What Is the DevOps Freelance Hourly Rate?

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DevOps engineers for hire can cost around $10,000 to $11,000 per month just for their salary. If you’re a bootstrapped start-up or small tech business, paying that much for a DevOps professional each month might be impossible for you.  

However, this doesn’t mean you have to do without a DevOps expert. Rather than bringing on a new employee, you can hire a freelance DevOps professional from Guru, instead!

In this post, we’ll share how much freelance entry-, mid-, and expert-level DevOps engineers charge. We’ll also share what determines their pricing. 

Average Hourly Rates of DevOps Freelancers

Several factors contribute to the hourly rates charged by DevOps engineers. The average rate charged by these freelance engineers is $62 per hour. Here is a quick glimpse of what you can expect to pay based on experience:

  • Entry level: $5 to $48 
  • Mid-level: $18.50 to $87 
  • Expert-level: $81 to $100

On average, a DevOps engineer works forty hours per week. If you’re paying $62 per hour, that equates to $2,480 per week or $9,920 per month. That’s still a lot less than the average monthly salary of an engineer who is a full-time employee. 

Plus, you don’t need to hire a DevOps freelancer for the entire month. A week here or there can help you get your work done without incurring too large of an expense. 

Three Factors Influencing DevOps Hourly Rates

Now that you know how much it costs to hire a DevOps engineer, let’s take a look at what determines an hourly rate:

  1. Experience and Expertise 

The primary factor influencing the hourly rate of a DevOps freelancer is their level of expertise and years of hands-on experience in the field. The more advanced their qualifications and skill set, the more they’ll charge. Let’s take a look at an overview of the skills that can help you distinguish entry-level and mid-level DevOps engineers from experts.

Entry-level and mid-level DevOps engineers have:

  • Linux administration experience
  • Knowledge of open-source database management systems like PHP, MySQL, Nginx, Apache, and PostgreSQL
  • Knowledge of network protocols like HTTPS, UDP, and TCP
  • Knowledge of Bash or Python scripting 
  • Knowledge and hands-on experience with Amazon Web Services (Amazon S3, VPC, and RDS)
  • Skills for deploying and launching a web application stack
  • Basic understanding of Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) tools
  • Basic cybersecurity knowledge 
  • Basic understanding of database management 
  • Server troubleshooting experience 
  • Familiarity with Amazon Cloudwatch or another monitoring tool

Expert DevOps Engineers have:

  • All entry/mid-level skills 
  • An ability to build scalable systems in cloud-native architecture environments 
  • The ability to apply the twelve-factor methodology 
  • Familiarity with Kubernetes clustering 
  • Understanding of multi-tenant architecture
  • Basic DevSecOps experience
  • Understanding of serverless CI/CD pipelines 
  • Familiarity with advanced cybersecurity and regulation compliance 
  • AWS, Terraform, Docker, or Kubernetes certifications

In addition to the technical skills above, a DevOps engineer should also possess certain soft skills. They should have strong leadership and communications skills, as well as be able to work on a team and be adaptable to new situations and challenges. Remember that soft skills are just as important as technical skills, especially if you plan on working remotely with a freelance DevOps engineer.

  1. Project Complexity and Scope 

Another factor that impacts DevOps freelance hourly rates is the amount of work required for the project. If your project requires specialized skills and will take several months to complete, you can expect to pay around $100 to $150 per hour for a mid-level DevOps engineer.

If your project is straightforward (e.g., setting up a basic CI/CD pipeline for a web app with limited traffic), you can expect to pay around $50 to $80 per hour.   

  1. Demand and Market Trends

If there’s a decline in the demand for DevOps talent, the hourly rates of freelancers will be lower. However, a drop in demand is unlikely to happen any time soon. Current data shows a consistent year-over-year increase since 2019, with projections suggesting industry growth over the next decade. 

Other market trends that can impact the hourly rates of DevOps freelancers are as follows:

  • An increased supply of DevOps professionals could lower rates for entry-level engineers.
  • A reduced supply of skilled DevOps professionals could lead to higher average rates.
  • Complex open-source tools can influence rates due to the expertise required to use them. 
  • Offshoring can lower labor costs. 

How to Save More on DevOps Freelancers

If you’re looking to onboard a DevOps professional, here’s a tip to help you save even more: Use a freelance platform with a transparent privacy policy and minimal platform fees.

Compare freelance platforms and choose a reputable one like Guru that charges the lowest fees in the industry. This will help you reduce your financial burden and develop long-term partnerships with talented freelance DevOps professionals.

Finally, if you’re wondering if hiring even a freelance DevOps engineer is worth the investment, check out our post on why you should hire a DevOps engineer!

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