While many within the tech industry fear that automation and artificial intelligence (A.I.) will eliminate human jobs, the rise of those technologies hasn’t had a noticeable impact on the salaries of software and DevOps engineers.
That’s according to a new survey by Puppet, which found that some 49 percent of tech pros at organizations with more than 100,000 employees earn more than $100,000 per year. Contrast that with organizations that only have 1-19 employees, where 21 percent of pros pull down that salary. At companies with 20-99 employees, the numbers weren’t much better: just 33 percent of tech pros made more than $100,000 per year.
Those findings seem logical: larger organizations not only have the cash to pay high salaries to top performers, but also have a need for far more senior people than a small or midsize tech firm.
What’s more interesting—and may come as a relief to some tech pros, if not their managers—are Puppet’s findings around automation. In a nutshell: a majority of tech pros whose jobs consisted of less than 25 percent configuration management earned more than $100,000 per year. “That should put to rest the unspoken by often-present fear that automation will lead to worse job prospects for IT people,” mentioned Puppet’s report.
“If you’re doing less manual work, and more of your work has been automated, you’re able to spend more time on innovation and work that’s seen as strategic,” the report added.
Indeed, new data suggests that most people don’t fear the rise of the machines. A recent Gallup poll found that only 13 percent of U.S. workers are concerned that technology will eliminate their job, despite a Forrester estimate that robots will replace 6 percent of human positions by 2021.
“It is possible that the effects of automation, which are increasingly permeating many aspects of American life, are not apparent to many workers,” noted Gallup’s report. “These would include self-driving cars, which are not available commercially in any widespread way, and customer service, which is often handled by telephone or on the internet.”
Within the technology industry, some employees have long feared that machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) will absorb even tasks that demand abstract thought, such as some kinds of coding. On the flip side of that coin, people such as IBM CEO Virginia Rometty have long maintained that automation will end up augmenting the abilities of current employees while creating new jobs.
Whichever argument eventually proves correct, it seems that—at least in the short term—automation isn’t going to drastically affect the market for software and DevOps engineers. In fact, those tech pros with highly specialized skills will continue to demand high salaries and generous perks, putting additional pressure on recruiters and hiring managers who need to hire and retain the right talent.