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Cloud salaries rising: Cloud architects at $150k likely underpaid

By Ryan Kroonenburg  |  January 14, 2020  |   Career   |  

It's a good time to be a cloud guru. Cloud jobs may be recession-proof, and demand for cloud workers continues to be frenzied, with employers’ needs outpacing the pool of talent. Nowhere is that wild demand-to-talent ratio more evident than with cloud architects. 

Those fortunate few with experience and specialized cloud skill sets are seeing salaries skyrocket – to the point where cloud architects making $150,000 a year are likely underpaid, InfoWorld reports. What’s that mean for current (and aspiring) cloud architects and the businesses seeking them?

For businesses: Seek and employ

Finding cloud architects is no easy task. (It's often smarter to reskill your existing people first.) But what if you need experienced cloud talent and you need it ASAP? Be ready to pay for it, and invest in retention.

The salary needed to lure in an outstanding catch today can come with sticker shock. But an extra $50,000 is small potatoes next to the big cash a skilled cloud architect can save a company in bad tech investments. When you find the right people, hire them (obviously), but then do everything in your power to retain them. Support them. Plug them in in a way that lets them reshape the organization, break old processes and push you toward innovation. 

Then invest in the continuing education needed to keep them at the top of their game. Worried you’ll foot the bill for training only to have them take their leveled-up skills elsewhere? Don’t be. According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees say they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.

For cloud gurus: Get on the gravy train(ing)

Today, cloud architects can easily bring in between $150,000 and $250,000 a year. If you've got cloud skills, this is all great news. Having a low-end salary range of $150k isn't too shabby, right? 

A certification may seem like your golden ticket to a monster salary – and it can be. But don't dive headfirst into your Scrooge McDuck vault of gold coins just yet. (And pro tip: When you do jump in, go feet first.) Certifications are the beginning, but snagging your CSAA won’t immediately mean you can expect a paycheck that rivals the boss’s. 

Specialization and experience are key for those looking to move up. If you're just starting out, get to the level you need to get a foot in the door – and get to work. Earn XP grinding through the challenges a real organization faces. As a bonus, all that experience can take the place of a college degree for many cloud architect positions. 

High on the list of common experience requirements for cloud architect gigs is a proven track record of completing multiple complex technical projects on time and budget. Learn to talk the talk around the business and financial implications of solutions. Your resume (and future paycheck) will also benefit from experience working in an Agile environment and an understanding of compliance and security, automation tools, scripting, and Linux.

Another way to boost your salary potential is experience with more than one cloud platform. This widens your job pool and boosts your desirability to prospective employers. 

And remember that your previous experiences outside of the cloud (even low-tech ones) can be a valuable differentiator. The best cloud architects still need old-school strategic and organizational skills, a reverence for deadlines, and communication chops. As InfoWorld puts it: “We need talent that has a mix of old and new skills, cloud-based and not. Most important, good cloud architects need to become ferociously self-taught in order to make key calls as to what technology will help and what technology will hinder.”

Keep learning and staying on top of the latest cloud trends to keep ahead. Not sure where to begin or what to do next? A Cloud Guru’s Learning Paths can help set you on the road to success. 

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