Cloud Computing Salaries: The Skills and How They Compare to Other Jobs

(Update) To get a definition of the roles needed to maximize your organization’s investment in cloud, explore the latest skills in demand by job role with Cloud Academy’s Cloud Roster™.

Like me, you probably read a lot of articles with titles similar to “Cloud Computing salaries are skyrocketing” or “The highest-paying tech jobs are in Cloud Computing” and stuff like that. There’s usually a predictable “method” of putting together a bunch of numbers extrapolated from research, market analysis, and online job lists. I’d like to put things into a different perspective with this article and try to explain how the cloud computing job market is somehow different and what skills define it: at the end of the day, it’s clear to everyone that knowing only AWS (Amazon Web Services) will not pay $40K more a year. It’s a mix of cloud knowledge that comes from very different skills and that’s actually the reason why those jobs are well paid in the industry.

Developers, System administrators and IT managers: how your cloud skills are changing your role today

In the last year, all the IT roles were always well defined: the ruby developer that put together your new application won’t be the same one designing your web infrastructure and the same one taking care of your database management. You had a system administrator for specific tasks and a network engineer for other tasks and responsibilities.

Cloud Computing changed everything. New figures, like Developers, are professionals that have skills across different fields and are able to mix all of them to come up with solutions that are: design, engineering, and coding. It’s not only related to cloud computing itself: the way we design software today it’s really different from the past, and you have very tight integration of system administration and coding. Long story short: if your application is not performing well with an unexpected load of users, it’s not a fault of your system administrator. It’s probably a fault of developers AND system administrators and your application must be coded by someone that has also a great knowledge of your cloud computing infrastructure.

Let’s be straight. What kind of skills do you need to have? I’m going to mention only some of them. And my experience is given by our experience building Cloud Academy (we use AWS, Google Cloud and Digital Ocean for our products).

  • Linux: this is the basic skill. Sooner or later you will need to type some commands in a Linux shell.
  • Architecture design and networking skills: take AWS Certifications. Networking knowledge and basic concepts about cloud architecture design are required. I’d say that is more or less what you learn in computer science or computing engineering degree.
  • Coding skills: Cloud Computing means also having good coding skills. You applications usually communicate through APIs with your cloud infrastructure. Of course: there are specific skills also for developers (AWS has a dedicated certification for developers), but if you work in DevOps, you are able to code.
  • Security: such an important component for someone that regularly deals with code and infrastructure to power public web applications and software. As you probably noticed this is something very important and even if you don’t have to be a security professional, you need to know the basics. Remember that you are still working in a shared environment like a public cloud. Security’s one of the most important voice.
  • Backup and Archive: you will need a backup strategy, a disaster recovery strategy too. Some basics are usually required.
  • Data mining, machine learning, and data science: it’s probably not the regular requirement for a DevOps position, but it’s pretty common to find a web app that handles millions of records and has interesting analytics and statistics. Hadoop, Spark and a bunch of other important technologies that require some basic knowledge of data mining and data science.

As you can see it’s no more a single voice or a single ability. As a developer or Cloud Architect / Engineer, you need to know something more and, more importantly, you need to mix all of them together. You usually have also a bunch of certifications about cloud computing technologies and more general fields. It’s normal to see people with different certifications from vendors (AWS, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc.) and then more general certifications.
Let’s take a look at the skills that are usually requested from a cloud computing professional. As you can see there are many features that I didn’t write but are somehow connected to others, like Software Development.

Salaries: how high are they for all these Cloud Computing skills?

They are high and probably among the most requested in the tech market at this moment. We are still talking about the US market that could be different from Europe and Asia, but you should consider that cloud computing it’s a global trend with a global request of candidates with good skills. According to Forbes, cloud computing salaries are positioned from 100K to 150K a year. In a more recent article, the average value is $90K a year for a cloud computing professional.

Find a cloud computing professional is not easy: usually, an open job position lasts for 45 days (source: Wanted Analytics). It is a great moment to start using a cloud computing platform and learn all the steps to become a DevOps expert. You should consider also a specific set of cloud computing certifications with specific and general types.

Cloud Academy is always a great help to test your skills with our Quizzes and Learning explanations.

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