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.