At the speed the cloud tech space is developing, it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s happening within the AWS ecosystem. Advances in technology prompt smarter functionality and innovative new products, which in turn give rise to new job roles that have a ripple effect on the broader industry.
Whichever side of the job market you’re on, staying in the loop with trends in the cloud space is vital to staying competitive, hiring the best talent, or making sure your skills align with those in demand from today’s businesses.
That’s why we [at Jefferson Frank] conduct in-depth research every year to help customers and professionals alike keep pace with changes in the AWS ecosystem. Jefferson Frank recently released the latest AWS Salary Survey Report at re:Invent, collated from months of extensive research into the AWS marketplace, and self-reported insight from thousands of AWS professionals.
This investigation uncovered a wealth of fascinating results, from employee sentiments and diversity issues, to average salaries and certification levels.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 5 key findings from the Jefferson Frank Salary Report. When you’re ready to begin — or advance — your AWS skills, you’ll want to check out Cloud Academy. It offers AWS training on the new generation of cloud training, for both professionals and enterprises. Cloud Academy’s AWS Training Library is a hub of highly-rated resources including learning paths, courses, labs, quizzes, and exams to enable you to get the right training to put you on the right track for AWS success.
#1 AWS Salary Finding: 83% of AWS partner employees expect to see an increase in their workload in the coming year
The global public cloud industry is expected to reach a value of around $1,132 billion by 2023, giving the market a compound annual growth rate of 23% between 2017 and 2023. As the leader in the sector, AWS will inevitably be facilitating a good portion of that growth, as more and more businesses move workloads and processes to the cloud.
Unsurprisingly, given this mammoth rate of uptake, 81% of the AWS partners who took part in our survey said that they’d experienced an uptick in the number of projects they’d undertaken in the past 12 months. And they don’t expect that increased demand for their services to slow down anytime soon—83% anticipate that their workloads will increase in the coming year.
Partners highlighted three primary reasons behind the upsurge: firstly, and most obviously, there are more businesses migrating workloads to the cloud or adopting cloud services for the first time. Bolstered public trust, the need to remain competitive, and the increasingly accessible nature of cloud services are opening the door to increased adoption for businesses of all sizes.
Secondly, their clients who’re already using AWS are moving additional services to the cloud, taking a slow-and-steady approach to migration.
Thirdly, thanks to the rapid pace at which AWS products and services are evolving, customers are engaging with partners to implement and develop their cloud platforms to ensure they’re making the most of cutting-edge developments in AWS tech.
#2 AWS Salary Finding: 47% of those certified experienced a salary increase after earning a certification
Certifications are a big deal in tech circles. They can validate skills, open doors for holders, and, as our survey found, often help pull in a bigger check. Just over half of our survey respondents held at least one official AWS-issued certification, with a further 26% currently working toward earning one.
Nearly half (47%) stated that they’d received a salary increase after becoming certified, with the average post-certification pay rise sitting around 28%.
With skills gaps on the rise across many areas of the tech industry, demand for professionals with a particular set of aptitudes and expertise is on the up, with competition for hard-to-find talent driving up salaries in the process. We asked our survey respondents—who run the gamut from IT leaders and hiring managers to AWS professionals of all experience levels—to highlight the certifications they believed were the most likely to increase an AWS professional’s market value.
Topping the list was the AWS Solutions Architect (Professional) certification, followed by the AWS DevOps Engineer Operations (Professional) certification, and in third place, the AWS DevOps Engineer —Developer (Professional) certification.
#3 AWS Salary Finding: 63% of respondents don’t think a degree is essential to a career in AWS
Despite their ability to boost your salary, according to our respondents, certifications aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to laying the foundation for a rewarding career in AWS.
When it comes to boosting your earning potential as an AWS professional, 54% of survey participants rated certifications as more important than a university degree, with just 42% of respondents believing that a degree is a significant factor in building a lucrative cloud career.
This is perhaps surprising given that 88% of these respondents themselves held a university qualification, indicating that throughout their career path, they’ve experienced more benefit from other factors.
Our survey found that the factor most likely to have a positive impact on your market value as an AWS profession is experience in the IT industry, with a massive 85% of participants ranking it as the most significant influence on earning potential. This was closely followed by years of experience working with AWS specifically at 84%.
Though education and certifications are great ways to validate skills and create a foundation of knowledge, nothing beats experience in the jobs market, particularly in a skills-short sector like cloud.
If you’re looking to get AWS certified, you’ll want to find a program that provides the theory and hands-on experience. Cloud Academy Certification Prep Learning Paths include courses, practice exams, hands-on labs (to develop experience), and lab challenges (to validate experience).
#4 AWS Salary Finding: 54% had only been with their employer between 1-2 years
Just over half of AWS professionals who participated in our research had been with their current employer between 12 and 24 months. This relatively low average tenure is reflective of the high rates of turnover in tech today, with churn rates sitting at around 13%.
Just 46% of our respondents expected to be with their current employer in a year. Though the top reason cited by participants for wanting to leave their employers was a lack of salary increase (38%), lack of career and promotional prospects (37%), and the desire to take on new challenges (32%) followed close behind. This indicates that for many cloud pros, professional development and personal growth are just as crucial to job satisfaction as a good salary.
Employers should take heed, then, that throwing money at their employers might not be the best way to keep hold of the best talent.
#5 AWS Salary Finding: 74% of AWS professionals work from home at least one day a week
Almost three-quarters of survey respondents regularly work from home, with 35% spending at least one day a week working remotely, and 16% working away from the office full time.
These figures illustrate the rising trend for offering non-traditional working options, as both developments in technology and shifts in attitudes to work-life balance facilitate greater flexibility.
Taking a progressive approach to offering perks like flexible hours or home working can not only help businesses improve employee satisfaction; it can also put them ahead of their competition when it comes to attracting new talent.
Asked to rank which benefits would influence their acceptance of a job offer, survey respondents cited home working as the most persuasive perk. The option to work remotely was the top choice for both male and female professionals in the AWS channel, though interestingly, 40% of women earmarked it as the most desirable, compared to 30% of men.
The appeal of flexible working among female professionals, in particular, could point businesses in the right direction when it comes to developing diversity and inclusion-focused hiring initiatives.
With the widespread cloud skills shortage threatening to leave businesses without the talent they need to implement and fully apply cloud technology, practical steps must be taken to attract and retain professionals from under-utilized pools of talent. Given that just 6% of our survey respondents identified as female, it’s clear that there is enormous potential to be harnessed by working to bring more women into the tech space.
Offering less rigid working options, fostering transparency regarding salary, and eliminating barriers that prevent talented female tech professionals from taking part in the workforce are all vital actions that businesses must take if they want to be able to reap the benefits of cloud tech for years to come.
Want the full AWS salary report?
The Jefferson Frank Salary Survey — packed with over 60 pages of insights, stats, and commentary — is the ultimate guide for anyone working with Amazon Web Services products. If you’re an employer or hiring manager, use the report to benchmark your team’s salaries and set budgets for the next financial year. If you’re a professional working in the AWS environment, we’ll tell you how much you should be earning, what certifications and technical skills you need to succeed, and much more.