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A certificate in Amazon's AWS cloud technology can boost your salary by 26%

Business Insider | Sep 9, 2017, 07.00PM IST

Andy Jassy, Amazon

Amazon

AWS CEO Andy Jassy

The latest research confirms that Amazon continues to dominate cloud computing.

Amazon Web Services has been a big boon to the company. But the e-commerce giant isn't the only one who has benefitted from its cloud leadership. So too have IT professionals who specialize in AWS's technology.

"The high adoption rate of AWS cloud services by organizations around the globe has translated into some of the top salaries for those IT professionals choosing to pursue these certifications in particular," Global Knowledge said in a blog post from earlier this year.

What it pays

Global Knowledge polled IT workers in North America and around the world last fall to get a sense of their average salaries and how specializing in particular skills affected their pay. The organization's report, released in April, gives a good sense of the premium employers are paying for AWS skills.

On average, among those who responded to the survey, IT workers in non-management positions in the US and Canada who have a certification of any kind earned $79,796 a year. But among those similarly situated survey respondents who have a certificate showing they know how to work with AWS, the average annual salary was $101,755 a year, a 27.5% increase.

Employers are paying a similar, if less dramatic, premium for managers with AWS skills. On average, the IT managers in the US and Canada who responded to the survey who had a certificate of any kind earned $112,525 a year. But those with an AWS certificate earned $127,942 a year on average, according to the survey, or 13.7% more.

Overall, if you combine the salaries of both managers and non-managers who participated in the Global Knowledge survey, certified IT professionals earned $90,512 a year on average. But among those who have an AWS certification, the average salary was $113,932 a year, a 25.9% premium.

Not all AWS certificates are equally valuable. The salaries employers pay depend a lot on the particular certificate an IT worker has. Among the US and Canadian IT workers who participated in the survey - managers and non-managers alike - here were the average salaries, broken down by certificate:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate: $119,233
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional: $116,838
  • AWS Certified Developer - Associate: $116,456
  • AWS Certified Systems Operations (SysOps) Administrator - Associate: $111,966
  • AWS Certified Development Operations (DevOps) Engineer: $108,315

Interestingly, though the professional certification is more advanced than the associate certification, the average pay was lower among the certified solutions architects who responded to the survey. However, Global Knowledge said the difference was likely influenced by the sample sizes. Only 70 people who responded to the survey said they had the professional AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification, while 300 said they had the associate version.

Regardless, the survey offers a good glimpse at how much enterprises value AWS skills. And that's understandable given just how popular AWS has become. In the second quarter of this year, AWS accounted for 34% of the money spent in the large and growing market for public cloud services.

Behind the data

Global Knowledge emailed more than half a million people asking them to participate in its salary survey, which it distributed through its own channels as well as through technology providers including Cisco, AWS, and Microsoft.

About 14,300 people completed the survey, of which some 12,500 were IT workers. And among the tech workers, 625 had some sort of AWS certification.

Actual salaries varied depending on the level of the certification and whether someone has multiple certificates. But across the board, among those who participated in the survey, certificates gave a big boost to salaries. On average, among survey participants in the US and Canada, the difference between salaries of people in IT with any form of certification and those in IT with no form of certification was nearly $8,400, or 11.7%. For managers, the difference was $9,201, or 8.9%.

It's no wonder then that 82% of IT workers in the US and Canada who were polled have at least one certificate. And the average number of certifications among survey respondents was 2.9.

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