Oracle Hiring Cloud Experts, Despite Cloud Chaos

Oracle plans on hiring some 2,000 employees to work on its cloud offerings, despite signs that the tech giant is wrestling with its overall cloud strategy in the face of fierce competition from Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

The announcement of these cloud-based hires comes four months after Oracle reportedly laid off hundreds of employees from the Seattle facility that served as the nucleus for much of its cloud operations. At the time, Business Insider suggested that the layoffs stemmed from vicious infighting among the cloud teams, along with a broader struggle to determine the company’s direction. 

Indeed, a new article in Bloomberg suggests that Oracle is retreating from its previous vision of competing directly against Amazon Web Services in the cloud-infrastructure arena. Instead, Oracle is focusing on cloud-based platforms and applications that serve its clients’ database and analytics needs. On top of that, the company is reportedly abandoning its previous strategy of going it alone in favor of partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, Box, and VMware.

Oracle Cloud Salary Breakdown

The Bloomberg article is well worth reading for its breakdown of the drama between several prominent Oracle executives, including Thomas Kurian, President of Product Development (and now CEO of Google Cloud), and Don Johnson, executive vice president of cloud infrastructure. One detail that jumps out: in order to accelerate the implementation of its cloud roadmap, Oracle was willing to pay enormous salaries—including more than $750,000 per year to midlevel managers and a truly eye-watering $5 million to engineers at the vice president level. 

Just for comparison’s sake, Oracle pays its most junior software engineers some $127,450 in base salary, along with $32,500 in stock and $4,000 in annual bonuses, according to levels.fyi, which crowdsources tech-industry compensation.

Let’s blend in another data source: Indeed plugs average Oracle software engineer salaries at $134,289 per year, which is in line with levels.fyi’s results. Those with hyper-advanced skills who reach the top architect tier (IC-6) can earn nearly $500,000 per year between salary, stock, and bonus (again, according to levels.fyi).  

That’s all pretty good, especially compared to what other enterprise-centric tech companies pay, but it’s clear that the compensation for Oracle’s cloud-centric engineers in Seattle was a cut above. And yet, despite all that money, those engineers failed to build something that quickly ate up market-share for AWS and Microsoft’s Azure—if such a thing is even possible at this juncture.

Given how Oracle built its massive business around on-premises infrastructure and services, shifting to the cloud represents a radical cultural change. The layoffs, hirings, and restructuring are all a reflection of that tortured evolution—and it’s anyone’s guess how well the company’s cloud ambitions will ultimately do.