Developer Productivity Engineering Blog

Build Engineers on the Rise

In Santa Clara County, CA there are currently 11,000 job openings for build engineers listed on ZipRecruiter. The median annual base salary is $129,000. Why are build engineers in high demand?

Well, many development leaders are realizing that build engineers are critical to unblocking developers and unlocking productivity gains. In fact, simple math demonstrates that an investment in a build engineer dedicated to introducing and overseeing Developer Productivity Engineering practices can be recovered in a matter of months. 

One such practice is implementing build and test acceleration technologies like Build Caching and Test Distribution which typically make build times 2X to 10X faster. Suppose you could shave 5 minutes off your average 10 minute local build time, and each developer ran 10 builds a day and waited an equal amount of time for CI builds to complete. In one year, the average wait time cost per engineer would be around $12,000 if each developer cost $1 minute and 50% of that wait time is unproductive. 

With a modest team of 20 developers, your breakeven point for a typical Silicon Valley build engineer would be less than six months, without even considering the value of other DPE benefits. These include dramatically reduced Mean-Time to Resolution (MTTR) for software incidents; better management of flaky tests and other avoidable failures; and more efficient CI resource consumption. Of course, your mileage may vary, but you can use our online calculator to easily estimate the value of productivity gains you could achieve in your own environment by investing in a DPE initiative.

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