Sam Samarasekera, Business Manager at AWS recruitment firm Jefferson Frank, discusses the key findings of the company’s independent salary survey, exploring everything from diversity to salary benchmarks, certification and beyond.
Amazon Web Services’ incredible growth comes with continued benefits to technology industry professionals, but until now they have been difficult to measure accurately. The Jefferson Frank Salary Survey just landed and, as the largest independent study of the industry, it offers a fascinating insight into our working environment.
For the first time, you can get a detailed breakdown of how you can expect to be remunerated, as well as getting a more comprehensive idea of areas of growth. Not only is it valuable to make sure you are being rewarded in your present role, but it gives you a clear view of areas of development to improve your own self-worth.
It also provides a wealth of knowledge to anyone else involved in the industry, including customers and partners, to provide a detailed breakdown of the technology and what direction it is going in.
I’ve broken down some of the key findings from the 2018/19 survey:
How quickly is AWS growing?
Of the survey respondents, 65% of professionals had over 10 years’ experience working in the technology industry, with only 10% having less than three years in the industry. So this is a good indicator of the view of experienced IT professionals. Just 7% of those interviewed had more than seven years’ experience working with AWS, and 63% had only started working with it in the last three years, pointing to this being a huge period of expansion for AWS across the technology sector.
How are companies implementing it?
With cost being cited as the most important thing to consider when choosing a cloud provider, it’s no surprise that companies are making the switch to AWS internally. Only 14% of companies that migrated to a cloud provider used contractors, which means increasing your knowledge base will make you a vital team member going forward. Its ease of implementation makes it a big draw, so if your company hasn’t already made the switch, you can expect it to sometime soon. The average time taken to migrate to the cloud is 10 months, and with 66% of companies using internal resources to make the change, it seems unlikely you will escape it.
Core skill set
So what do you need to brush up on? The amount of core products available to work with is vast and one of AWS’ key strengths, with users praising its scope for “tweaking” things rather than having to implement wholesale changes. At least one in five AWS professionals reported that they work or have worked with 43 different products, so there’s plenty to get your teeth into. The most popular by far is EC2, with 89% having experience with it. That’s a huge lead on S3 (70%) and CloudWatch (69%).
Regarding AWS products, partners expect the biggest increase in demand in the next 12 months will be for Amazon EC2, AWS Lambda and Amazon EKS, which is a handy pointer if you wish to get a head start. Basically, if you haven’t already, you need to learn EC2!
What makes EC2 so popular?
The majority of respondents considered EC2 a part of their core skill set, with EC2 Auto Scaling a close second. EC2’s scalable capacity is undoubtedly its biggest feature and the reason behind its continued growth. Beyond the free tier, the speed and ease that can be added make it the go-to resource for capacity, with its pay as you go service also coming in for particular praise. Ease of use was another key reason behind its popularity and why it looks likely to continue to dominate. No wonder 76% of respondents listed EC2 as the most important area of product knowledge for cloud professionals.
A lot of the development community has already had exposure to Jenkins, which explains why it’s the most–used third–party tool by quite a distance. Some 21% of respondents use it, with Terraform (13%) and Ansible (10%) lagging some way behind. The fact that it’s open source makes up for its tricky user interface, with users giving it many more ticks in the pros column than the cons.
Jenkins and Terraform are expected to be amongst the most in–demand tools in DevOps and big data in the next 12 months, so familiarisation with these as well as Java will definitely give you an advantage.
The all-important certifications
Over half of the survey participants were not AWS certified before taking up their current role, so it isn’t essential if you’re considering a job change. However, two–thirds of respondents now hold certs, so be prepared to knuckle down as it’s highly likely that you’ll be expected to gain them once you’re in position. If you simply wish to increase your earning potential or become more employable, they appear to be a must-have.
The financial benefits of certifications
We’ll start with the bad news—less than half of responders’ employers paid for their certifications in full (49%), although a further 11% did contribute towards the cost. However, and this is the good news, 22% of professionals reported a direct increase in salary after passing their certs. Participants listed relevant certifications as their number one way to increase earning potential, so it’s a worthy investment even if you have to make it yourself.
Which certs do I need?
The top certifications are AWS Certified Solutions Architect, AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified SysOps Administrator. However, accreditations in programming languages such as Java and PHP will also be advantageous, although Python is expected to be the most in-demand language in the next 12 months.
If you’d like more detail, the Jefferson Frank Annual Salary Survey is an invaluable resource for any technology professionals. It’s available to download now and has a more comprehensive breakdown of salaries across the globe, as well as further information on products, certifications and tech trends in the past 12 months as well the coming year.