What does a platform engineer do?

Platform engineers are usually part of a Platform team to create an internal developer platform (IDP). Platform engineers develop, deploy, and maintain DevOps tooling and infrastructure to make the software delivery system run seamlessly. Individuals who pursue platform engineering most commonly work hands-on with software and cloud-native infrastructure, such as AWS, GCP, and Azure, and are experts in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and/or GitOps plus required tooling. Platform engineers typically work in teams that closely collaborate with technical services, developers, senior management, and more.

Platform engineering teams will build and maintain the infrastructure so the end-users can use them. Members of a platform engineering team may be asked to create infrastructure diagrams, define infrastructure as code, and deploy application pipelines.

Platform engineers search for big-picture solutions, and the job opens the door for innovation and creativity. Since platform engineering is a hands-on, fast-paced career, candidates must be able to jump into a team and begin working alongside the crew immediately.

Platform engineers are expected to learn new skills quickly and are often managing multiple tasks at once so they can keep up with their evolving IDP.

Required skills are usually:

  • Proficiency with technologies related to Kubernetes, containerization and infrastructure such as Docker, Helm, Kustomize, Terraform, Pulumi, etc.
  • Knowledge of programming languages such as Python, Java, JS, and Go
  • Familiarity with DevOps best practices and CI/CD tools
  • Experience with cloud providers and their cloud infrastructure technologies, such as AWS, Azure, and Google
  • Proficiency with observability, monitoring and security tools such as Xray, CloudWatch, Open Tracing, and Grafana

Additionally, platform engineers are generally expected to have a foundational knowledge of containerization, DevSecOps environments, script-writing, systems administration skills, distributed systems and architectures, and strong communication skills. 

Some companies look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, but experience goes a long way in platform engineering. Understanding infrastructure end-to-end is an essential part of being a platform engineer, so candidates must have a broad skillset.

Average salary ($, US-based): 130,000

Most platform engineers in the US earn between $105,000 and $147,500 per year, with the national average falling around $130,000. Engineers in the top 90th percentile earn an average of $167,000 per year.

‍Source: https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Platform-Engineer-Salary