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Research Shows Cloud Certifications Pay Off, with AWS Leading the Pack

"The big money is in cloud computing certifications, with AWS and Google Cloud delivering high salaries across all regions," says new research from Global Knowledge, which just published a new examination of IT compensation and in-demand certifications.

The 2019 IT Skills and Salary Report breaks down top-paying certifications into global regions, with the overall worldwide table showing "AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional" leading the compensation pack with an average salary of $120,136.

Top-Paying Worldwide Certifications
[Click on image for larger view.] Top-Paying Worldwide Certifications (source: Global Knowledge)

"Another cloud certification, GCP Cloud Architect ($118,756), is the second highest-paying certification, while CISSP ($116,573) is third," the report said. "Three other AWS certifications make the worldwide top 10, with AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate at No. 5, AWS Certified Developer – Associate at No. 8, and AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate at No. 9."

In North America, however, GCP Cloud Architect leads the pack, with an average salary of $152,129. In that region, AWS certifications take the No. 4, 5 and 6 spots.

Top-Paying North America Certifications
[Click on image for larger view.] Top-Paying North America Certifications (source: Global Knowledge)

In the AWS camp, the most commonly held certifications listed by the report include:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate - 72 percent
  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate - 33 percent
  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate - 24 percent
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Professional - 16 percent

"The same AWS certifications have similar percentages across all regions," the report said. "AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner is another popular credential that cracked the top five in most regions."

Global Knowledge, which has been publishing this study annually for more than a decade, said it found the average annual salary for global IT professionals to be $89,732, the highest ever. North American IT pros lead the pack with an average salary of $109,985, some 23 percent more than the worldwide average.

The company listed the primary findings of its 2019 study thusly:

  • Salaries are going up Global IT compensation is the highest it’s ever been. There are a number of factors at play, including responsibility level, job function, tenure, company size, industry and where you live. This report examines how the top-paying IT professionals fit into all of these categories.
  • Want a raise? Be better at your job. IT professionals on average earned $5,000 more this year compared to 2018. The main reason? Job performance. Training to add skills that immediately translate to the workplace is leading to pay increases. Professional development makes a difference if you’re looking to boost your earnings.
  • Certifications (still) matter Eighty-five percent of global IT professionals hold at least one certification, of which over half were earned in the past 12 months. Another 66 percent plan to attain a new certification this year. Tech professionals still see the value in certifications and are pursuing them in various categories and technologies.
  • Top-paying certifications vary by region Instead of just looking at the highest-paying certifications worldwide, this year we broke up our lists by region. That means the top-paying certification in North America may not match the top-paying credential in Latin America. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t!)

Global Knowledge, an IT and professional training specialist, conducted the survey online from September 2018 through November 2018, with multiple outreach techniques (email, newsletters) garnering 12,271 completed responses.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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