Salary Survey Extra: Big Data salaries by job hierarchy

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of both our annual Salary Survey and our smaller Salary Survey PLUS polls. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Do Big Data skills get big compensation?Summer is here, with all of the fireworks, hot dogs, high temperatures, and recreational travel that you’d expect. There’s also a new issue of Certification Magazine. If you don’t have a copy yet, why not grab one off the stack at the (digital) newsstand?

We’re still using Salary Survey Extra to report findings from our most recent annual Salary Survey, but we’ve also been mixing in results from the Linux-centered survey in our spring edition. Now it’s time to switch over and plug in some of the previously unreported findings from the Big Data survey in the July issue.

Salary is determined by a lot of factors, but one important element is where you stand in the chain of command. If you’re a mere employee, then you aren’t likely to be paid as much as your manager, who probably doesn’t earn the same salary as his (or her) manager, and so forth.

What’s often more foggy is how much greater your salary might be if you were to move up the ladder a rung or two. With that in mind, we looked at all of the U.S. Big Data professionals who responded to the survey, divided them up by organizational standing, and cross-referenced that with average annual salary. Here’s what we found:

Employment LevelPercentage of All Respondents at This LevelAverage Annual Salary
Employee8 percent$60,850
Specialist22 percent$83,140
Senior Specialist50 percent$110,970
Director12 percent$165,000

Average annual salary calculated from base salary in 2017.

It’s interesting to note that we didn’t hear from very many certified Big Data professionals who are mere employees. If you have a Big Data certification, then you most likely work in some sort of specialist or senior specialist role. And the average salaries at those levels are excellent.

While we didn’t get enough responses from managers, senior managers, or executives to create a reliable average for any of those folks, there is a notable group of Big Data professionals between the management and executive tiers, and they are well-compensated indeed.

Senior specialists certainly make good money, but the leap up the salary scale from Senior Specialist to Director is as impressive as the jump from rank-and-file employee to senior specialist. There’s not only room at (or near) the top for certified Big Data professionals, it would seem, but it’s worth the effort required to get there.

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CertMag Staff

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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