The competition for cloud practitioners is fierce. According to LinkedIn, expertise in cloud and distributed computing remains the most in-demand skill for employers in 2019, repeating its position in the top slot from a year ago.
As companies pursue digital transformation, IT leaders are overseeing an increase in cloud-based projects but are often challenged by a lack of technology workers with the right skill set to meet the demand. Three-quarters of global IT departments have implemented medium or large-scale adoption of cloud technologies but understaffing in critical areas remains a problem. Some 67% of surveyed CIOs and technology executives say they are “struggling to find the right talent” to carry out their cloud objectives, according to the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2019.
Jockeying for the best talent continues to heat up. In recent years, about half of technology leaders surveyed have said they’re willing to increase salaries and compensation packages to get the right people in roles touching cloud and other in-demand technologies like AI and UX design.
Landing cloud talent in today’s hiring market requires employers to move quickly and make strong offers. We’ve compiled a list of the most in-demand cloud computing roles, certifications, skills and what you can expect to pay for them in 2019.
Most In-Demand (and Highest Paid) Cloud Computing Roles of 2019
Enterprise IT Architect
About half of CIOs surveyed in this year’s Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey say their organizations are planning transformational changes which include new offerings and services, while more than a third are embarking on major changes involving foundational offerings. Those plans are tied at the hip to technologies that have grown increasingly complex in the past several years, so it’s no surprise that these organizations are reporting significant demand for enterprise architects who can deliver digital strategies and link business objectives and processes to their IT strategy.
What will those skills cost you? In 2019, Enterprise IT Architects with cloud computing expertise are earning an average annual salary of $138,186 in the United States, according to PayScale. Glassdoor has the average base pay slightly higher at $139,433.
Senior Enterprise Architects are paid even more, with a current median salary of about $146,000, per Glassdoor. In that same camp, Senior Systems Engineers with relevant cloud computing and networking certifications are commanding $108,739 a year on average, PayScale reports.
The dominance of cloud services built upon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud—along with developing technologies like Kubernetes and the serverless model—has CIOs clamoring for Development Operation (DevOps) specialists with cloud expertise and advanced certifications. Organizations need engineers who have mastered operating containerized workloads in complex ways and IT decision makers are willing to pay for their expertise.
DevOps Engineers are averaging $115,666 in annual base pay in the US, according to Glassdoor. PayScale reports relatively lower average salaries for the role, $92,202, but expect to pay in the neighborhood of $117,000 for engineers with 10+ years of experience in the specialty.
Because DevOps is so critical to cloud development projects and the delivery of new products and services, many organizations offer bonuses or salary increases to engineers who earn certifications and advance their cloud skills through continued education.
Cloud Security Engineer or Analyst
Security in the cloud is a top priority for organizations in 2019. While Cloud Security Providers (CSPs) monitor and maintain security of the public cloud on a macro level, their customers are still responsible for the security of their own data in the cloud. This requires a cloud security expert who is knowledgeable about the potential vulnerabilities of virtual machines and container deployment systems.
Cyber Security Engineers in the US are averaging $94,915 in annual salary while Cyber Security Analysts pull in $75,924, according to PayScale. Individuals in those roles with their Cloud Security Certification (CCSP) are typically earning more and are often recruited with promises of the potential for bonuses and other incentive pay.
Going forward, IT leaders also expect to increase investment in cloud-adjacent roles in fast-growing areas like AI and mobile app development. Those jobs might not require daily, hands-on interaction with complex cloud computing problems but performing them well will typically involve quite a bit of overlap with cloud specialties. Don’t be surprised to see the following in-demand cloud certifications become increasingly important across multiple IT disciplines.
Most Highly-Valued Cloud Certifications
According to Global Knowledge, the most in-demand cloud computing certifications today are:
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
- AWS Certified Developer – Associate
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Server Infrastructure*
*Microsoft recently replaced its MCSE:SI certification with four distinct certifications more tied to role and workload, including three cloud-focused Azure certifications:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
Here’s a longer list of highly valued cloud and cloud-related certifications from CIO.com:
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect
- Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge
- Certified OpenStack Administrator (COA)
- Certified System Administrator in Red Hat OpenStack
- Cisco CCNA-Cloud
- Cloud Certified Professional
- Cloud Credential Council
- Cloud Genius
- Cloud Institute Certifications
- CompTIA Cloud Essentials
- Exin Cloud Computing Foundation
- Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect
- IBM Certified Cloud Solution Architect v2
- Microsoft Cloud Certifications
- Red Hat Certified Architect: Cloud
- Salesforce Certifications
- VMware Certified Professional
Employers should expect to pay extra for these certifications. Close to 85 percent of IT professionals in the US and Canada hold an IT certification and they’re compensated about 11.7 higher than non-certified IT workers, according to Global Knowledge. The good news: A plurality of organizations surveyed by Global Knowledge say that certified employees work faster and more efficiently than non-certified workers.
Most In-Demand Cloud Skills for 2019
The multi-cloud approach has been gaining popularity for several years. Earlier this year, Sumo Logic reported that multi-cloud adoptions and deployments doubled amongst its 1,600 customers in 2018.
As this trend accelerates, IT teams will need to know how to use services for multiple CSPs, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Look for more cloud professionals to hold certifications in more than one platform and expect to pay them higher salaries for those skills.
Serverless architectures using AWS Lambda and Kubernetes orchestration solutions (managed and native) are also on the rise—about a third of Sumo Logic enterprise customers are using these technologies. Docker containers built on AWS are another rapidly expanding area for organizations leading in cloud adoption.
The demand for talent with experience delivering, troubleshooting, securing, and managing both established and cutting-edge cloud services has increased significantly year over year. IT professionals with cloud expertise and certifications are able to command higher pay, and top candidates typically field multiple offers. Because innovation and development happen so much faster in the cloud, it’s worth it to hire or train the talent you need to become a cloud fluent organization in 2019 and beyond.
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