Salary Survey Extra: Deep Focus on AWS Certified Solutions Architect

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Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

Here’s a funny nugget of perspective from earlier this summer on Twitter:

Yes, the Amazon that some of us still remember from back in the day, was quite a different animal from the all-things-to-all-people digital megalith that is fighting Netflix for the streaming video market on one front; fighting Microsoft, Google, and IBM for the cloud computing market on another front; and fighting every store on Earth for “selling stuff to people” market on still another front.

Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing tentacle of Amazon, is the biggest cloud services provider in the world.For now, at least, Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing tentacle of Amazon, is the biggest cloud services provider in the world, and it’s not even close. So if you’re looking to jump into that employment sector, then a certification from AWS is a key asset. One such hot potato, the AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) credential, ranked No. 14 on our most recent Salary Survey 75 list.

As sometimes happens with the Salary Survey, nearly all of our respondents who hold AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) certification are U.S. residents.  We heard from a smattering of certified individuals in other countries, but not enough of them to calculate a reliable average salary. Hence, among U.S. AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders, the average annual salary in 2016 was $134,320, with a median annual salary of $126,670.

Nearly 90 percent of the AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders who responded to the survey are men, but it’s always nice to hear from a double-digit percentage (even if just barely) of women. In general, AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders are middle-aged or older. About 25 percent of those surveyed are 34 or younger, with most of those (20.6 percent) falling between the ages of 25 and 34. Moving in the other direction, most of those we heard from are either between the ages of 45 and 54 (35.3 percent of respondents) or between the ages of 35 and 44 (26.5 percent).

The highest level of education attained by most AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders is either a bachelor’s degree (35 percent of those surveyed) or master’s degree (32 percent). There is opportunity on the low end of the educational spectrum, as 11.8 percent of respondents fell out of the educational loop after getting a high school diploma, while 17.6 percent completed some level of technical training, but never completed (and, in some cases, probably never even started) a college degree program.

A solid 95 percent of AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders we surveyed are employed full-time, versus just 4.8 percent who are currently out of work. Among those who have jobs, slightly more than one-third (36.5 percent) have a standard 40-hour work week. The rest mostly put in either between 41 and 50 hours per week (47 percent of those surveyed), or more than 50 hours per week (13.5 percent).

Most AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders are on the middle to lower rungs of the organizational ladder at their workplaces, with 47.6 percent of those surveyed at the senior specialist level, 13.5 percent at the specialist level, and 14.7 percent at the level of rank-and-file employees. We did hear from a notable segment of AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate)-certified managers (17.1 percent), as well as from a smattering of folks at the senior manager (5.9 percent) and director (1.2 percent) levels.

Most AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders are old hands when it comes to cloud services. More than half (52.9 percent of those surveyed) have worked in a role that directly utilizes one or more of their certified skills for more than a decade, and an additional 18 percent have been in the game either between 9 and 10 years (11.8 percent) or between 6 and 8 years (6.2 percent). The rest are relatively new to the field with either zero years (1 to 11 months) and 2 years of cloud experience (17.7 percent), or between 3 years and 5 years (12.4 percent).

Finally, here’s the view of AWS Certified Solutions Architect (Associate) holders on key questions from the survey about how certification impacts job performance:

At my current job I use skills learned or enhanced through certification: 
Several times a day: 54.2 percent
Several times a week: 35 percent
Several times a month: 6.5 percent
Occasionally: 4.3 percent
Rarely: [No responses]

Since becoming certified, I feel there is greater demand for my skills. 
Strongly agree: 38.2 percent
Agree: 50 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 11 percent
Disagree: [No responses]
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my problem-solving skills.
Strongly agree: 22.9 percent
Agree: 40 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 31.2 percent
Disagree: 5.9 percent
Strongly Disagree:  [No responses]

Becoming certified has increased my workplace productivity.
Strongly agree: 15.3 percent
Agree: 49.4 percent
Neither Agree nor Disagree: 25.5 percent
Disagree: 9.8 percent
Strongly Disagree: [No responses]

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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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