In the Microsoft space, cloud and big data skills draw hefty premiums

Redmond's latest salary survey shows employers paying 25 percent more and up for Azure and big data work.

It seems it really does pay to go to cloud. IT professionals working with Microsoft Azure-based or big-data-type solutions are currently the most well compensated, a new salary survey shows.

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

These are some of the findings of Redmond magazine's latest readership salary survey, which explored a range of positions and responsibilities in the Microsoft systems space. Redmond's Jeffrey Schwartz reports that "IT professionals who have jumped on the Microsoft Azure and big data bandwagon have done well this year, while those with more traditional technology skills saw modest increases in their average salaries and in some cases slight declines, depending on their specialties."

Average salaries for Microsoft-related skills across the board grew by only about half a percent, the survey finds. In the previous two years, average Microsoft shop salaries were up by three percent a year.

While cloud and big data-related roles are new to the Redmond survey, it's notable that they came in with the highest numbers. The highest-paying functional category was Hadoop expertise, averaging $144,600 a year, the survey finds. Those with general big data and data warehousing job roles averaged $116,500 a year, as did those working with Azure, Microsoft's Platform/Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud offering. By contrast, those working within traditional Microsoft server or database environments took home salaries in the neighborhood of $90,000 a year.

David Foote, chief analyst and chief research officer of Foote Partners LLC, backed up Redmond's findings, noting that over the past quarter, the highest-paying Microsoft specialty was Azure. Other hot areas include App-V, the Microsoft application virtualization technology, and Microsoft Certified Solution Experts in private cloud, communications server, architects and Microsoft Certified Solutions Masters.

(Disclosure: I have done project work within the past year for Microsoft, mentioned in this post.)

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