Salary Survey Extra: Linux salaries by job hierarchy
Posted on
April 14, 2017

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 These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How much can you expect to earn based on your Linux job title?

With the publication of the Spring quarterly issue of Certification Magazine earlier this month, we've reached a fork in the road. From here on out, we'll continue to report data from the 2016 Salary Survey, but mixed in with dispatches from the most recent Salary Survey PLUS. Today, we're dipping into the newly available results of our Linux Salary Survey.

Just like with Fight Club, the first rule of salaries in the workplace is that you don't talk about salaries in the workplace. Hence, nobody knows anything about the amount line on everyone else's paychecks. On the other had, most people have at least a general idea of each coworker's standing inside the organization. Job titles, after all, are more or less an open secret.

Beyond that, most people recognize that, broadly speaking, where you stand on the company org chart directly impacts the amount of your salary. The higher up that you are in the corporate food chain, the likelier it becomes that you earn significantly more than the people beneath you.

With all of that in mind, we looked at all of the U.S. Linux 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 Level Percentage of All Respondents at This Level Average Annual Salary
Employee 23.8 percent $50,500
Specialist 31 percent $62,960
Senior Specialist 33.3 percent $96,640
Manager 9.1 percent $104,000

Average annual salary calculated from base salary in 2017.

We didn't get enough responses from Linux professionals at any of the levels above manager to create a reliable average, but it seems fair to speculate that most of those individuals are doing fairly well. What we can tell from looking at this data is that you have to possess a certain skill level before you really start to cash the big checks.

If you're generally only skilled or experienced enough to be hired as a rank-and-file Linux-oriented employee, then you can expect your income to be correspondingly modest. Once you qualify to be hired for specialist-level Linux positions, your earning power increases, and the really big jump happens when you rise up to the senior specialist level.

About the Author

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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