Key findings on AWS professionals and salaries from new salary survey

AWS Certification

After several years of dramatic expansion, we finally have a survey that gets under the skin of our industry. The Jefferson Frank Salary Survey is the biggest independent annual study of AWS technology professionals. It provides insight on how big a part AWS plays in the skill set of tech professionals. With 59% of participants based in the US, its answers are also a good reflection of the situation locally.

Of those who responded, 65% have worked in IT for over 10 years. This means that there is a voice of experience in the results that can spot trends as easily as it can fads. AWS shows no sign of being the latter—of the professionals who work directly with it, 80% experienced a marked increase for work involving AWS in the last 12 months. Similarly, 79% predicted that this would increase again in the next year.

What does this mean to me as an employee?

Over half of survey respondents weren’t certified in AWS before starting in their current role. However, with 22% reporting a direct increase in salary after certification, its value is obvious. Skills in cutting-edge technologies, such as DevOps, big data and AI, will be essential to you going forward too, but certs are essential. The third-party tools where there is expected to be the biggest demand are Jenkins (15%), Terraform (11%) and Git (7%), with Jenkins and Terraform the two most currently used tools at the moment.

What does it mean to me as an employer?

Your employees are more valuable to you with a broad skill set, but they’re also more valuable to other companies. A lack of exposure to the latest AWS products was cited by 44% of survey respondents as a reason they’d consider changing employers in the next 12 months. Certification vouchers are listed outside the top ten employee benefits, but they still rank highly enough (11) to be worth considering.

If you’re unsure whether AWS certs are the key to your earning potential, consider the following. It was ranked as the best way to increase your salary amongst survey participants. That’s a long way ahead of networking, speaking different languages, or even hands-on experience. Some 73% also reported a salary increase when they last changed jobs, but if you’re happy where you are, what certs should you be looking at? The top certifications according to the Salary Survey are:

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – this requires familiarity with AWS infrastructure and concepts. You will learn how AWS-based applications work and how to build them on the platform.

AWS Certified Developer – you will need to know how to write code that uses AWS software. The course will give you hands-on experience designing, developing and maintaining applications.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – this will teach you how to deploy applications to the AWS platform, as well as selecting the appropriate services to meet an organization’s needs. Passing the exam will need both technical expertise and conceptual knowledge of the operation of the platform.

You also need to make sure your certs are relevant to your role. Over two-thirds of the survey respondents held AWS certifications, but don’t rack them up for the sake of it. Ensure you have the right certifications and your earning potential will sharply increase.

By the same token, 73% of participants reported a salary increase when they last changed jobs. If your current employer isn’t willing to reward your newfound qualifications, it might be time to see if someone else will. As much as expanding your knowledge base and certifications were cited as a way to increase your earnings, so was switching where you work.

If you are thinking about a move, the Salary Survey provides a fascinating breakdown of salaries across the globe. Some 61% of respondents said they would consider relocating for work. There’s plenty of information on pay for the United Kingdom, France and Germany. As the survey gives you an idea of what different positions earn around the globe, you can also see if you’ll be more in demand in a different country.

The US seems to pay technology professionals more than in Europe, but then contract work is quite the opposite, with much higher rates in the UK. Food for thought if you are interested in travel.

Want a more detailed breakdown of salary information as well as trends within AWS for the last twelve months? There’s also predictions for the coming year, you can get them by downloading Jefferson Frank’s 2018/19 Salary Survey here.

Sam Samarasekera is a Business Manager at AWS specialist recruitment firm Jefferson Frank. Here, he discusses the key findings of the company’s independent salary survey, examining everything from salary benchmarks, diversity, certification, and beyond. 

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1 thought on “Key findings on AWS professionals and salaries from new salary survey

  1. I just completed your course this morning on CBTNuggets for AWS Cloud Practitioner. As an active subscriber to CBTNuggets I’m currently working on my CCNA with the courses there. I’m not in IT, have no background in IT. I’m in OT – Operations Technology. My work involves IACS – Industrial Automations Controls Systems, working for an OEM that supplies custom designed skid systems to our Energy Sector and Mineral Mining Customers. We service those systems over the long term life of the equipment as well often asked to Technology upgrade those equipment as a package as the automation controls get old. It’s mostly Rockwell Automations and sometimes Siemens Controls Systems that runs our equipment. These systems is capable of producing massive amount of data and data that analytics can be applied to upon sifting that data for metrics to be applied.

    Neither a Cisco CCNA or an AWS CSAA cert is required. If I asked my boss or anyone at my median size company, neither is required and I’d be asked why I’m even worried or care to learn either or both. A CCNA helps me to do and understand my job and more at the switching level than at a Router. As Cisco/Rockwell line of Switches are part of or Managed Switches Network Architecture for CPWE. But as tech evolves all comes into play as the Operations core of a company or Power Plant as many of our customers are gets connected to those same company MES Systems. For the most part they are separate, many like them to be separate as in staying offline off the internet. But their are business forces at work as to why eventually will connect these separate systems together whether we want it or not. As their is lots and lots of valuable data in those machines and control systems in the operations systems. Again I find value here in CCNA Networking knowledge from an OT approach. And that CCNA knowledge does comes valuable also in upgrading 10-40 years old Plant Controls Systems to current technology. It’s more valuable if we have to connect our OEM equipment to plant MES Systems and more so into the future as Industrial 4.0 integration happens.

    Where AWS and AWS Certs come into play and we’re seeing it happen at our level and along with IOT because we are in Industry is when some of our customers ask if we can possible access and apply some form of analytics to the data that is being forever compiled in our PLC Control Systems but remain inaccessible other than what is reported already via an HMI – Human Machine Interface. As not all data compiled in the PLC is reported via HMI or deemed a need to know other than what’s reported. But there is lots of valuable data there and historical data. AWS would allow us now and into the future to possibly remotely send that data into AWS for storage and data sifting from our customers globally. Then be able to apply some form of data analytics. Maybe allow our customers to access some that data as well. While we haven’t had a ton of requests for this. The possibilities are there and some our customers have inquired. However we didn’t exactly have a concrete answer at times when customers have inquired. We only had a concept idea at best. But I see this as a possible solution. The skills required wasn’t there when I started my job as a Process Control Engineer in Industrial Sector. But they are skills now required at technology rapidly evolves. For everyone of our customers the biggest concern is Security. Anything that connects to their systems that connects to the internet is a concern as well as exporting any form of data anywhere and into the cloud.

    At my company no one yet sees these skills as necessary whether a CCNA or an AWS CSAA cert as yet. But I’m the guy actually doing the work or helping doing it and I see these as necessary. We hear our customers asking about exporting data into the cloud for storage etc. for us it’s not really an IT thing as IT is not usually involved with Industrial Controls Systems. But it’s related as they are also Automation Networks. So for me, I’m working on learning these skills and greatly see the value in earning an Amazon AWS CSAA after my Cisco CCNA.

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