In the Azure cloud world, enterprise architects are the highest paid

Microsoft survey of 1,100 partners and customers tracks compensation in Azure environments; EAs and developers own the space.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

There are a range of jobs being spun up with Microsoft Azure instances, many with attractive salaries. The Azure-related position for which companies are paying the most is that of enterprise architect.

Photo: HubSpot

In the United States, companies report allocating $125,000 a year for their Azure architects, on average. Developers and sales and marketing specialists adept in Azure, Microsoft's cloud-based infrastructure offering, follow at $100,000 a piece. These are the results of a recent survey of cloud development practices, sponsored and released by Microsoft. (Thanks to my friend Scott Bekker at Redmond Channel Partner for surfacing this study.)

The survey covered 1,136 Azure enterprises, of which one-quarter were US-based. Nearly all enterprises offer Azure-based services, while about three quarters offer Office 365-based applications. About half are Microsoft partners, and therefore likely to be directly involved in selling Azure-based services to enterprises.

It should be noted that Microsoft couched these results as "costs" of positions to enterprises, versus salary rates, so it can be assumed that there is overhead (hiring, training) also calculated into these numbers. The average cost, then, to hire EAs in US dollars in Asia Pacific countries is $100,000, and $80,000 across western Europe. The global average is $80,000 US.

Here are average annual "costs" for key positions in Azure environments (in US dollars):

  • Architect: $125,000 (in US), $80,000 (worldwide)
  • Developer: $100,000 (US), $60,000 (worldwide)
  • Sales and marketing: $100,000 (US), $60,000 (worldwide)
  • Project services delivery: $90,000 (US), $65,000 (worldwide)
  • UI/UX designer: $82,500 (US), $40,000 (worldwide)
  • Managed services delivery: $77,500 (US), $50,000 (worldwide)
  • Tester/QA: $75,000 (US), $40,000 (worldwide)

Where do these companies go for Azure talent? Referrals and LinkedIn are top sources for identifying skilled labor, managers state. Once a candidate is identified, work history, cultural fit, and years of experience become important considerations. Roles associated with cloud practices typically have at least three years' experience.

Here is where these organizations go in search of Azure talent:

  • Referrals: 70%
  • LinkedIn: 59%
  • Website: 47%
  • Local universities: 38%
  • Local tech groups: 36%
  • Recruit from competitors: 30%

Ongoing training and learning is crucial in this fast-changing industry. In addition, most companies engage in at least annual ongoing staff learning efforts such as conferences, events and online training. Overall, a median of 8.5% of technical resources time is spent on training, the Microsoft survey finds.

Just over half of have dedicated cloud practices that have just been started in the past two years. In most cases, they consist of some type of cloud infrastructure and management practice (78%) or a cloud application development practice (53%). Fewer offer mobility and security (46%) and data platform and analytics (43%).

The main barriers to effective cloud delivery include selling the cloud concept to customers (32%) and keeping employees trained and up to date with new technology (31%).

Interestingly, while still in the minority, a growing number of Azure managers anticipate that their projects will be delivering new sources of revenues to their organizations. Again close to half of the survey base (513) consists of Microsoft partners, so it should be expected they are leveraging cloud services as a direct revenue source. Currently, they report that 20% of overall revenue is driven by cloud-based products and services; participants anticipate that proportion will more than double in the next two years, to 47%.

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