For decades, competition among the world’s largest enterprise software vendors has been incredibly fierce. With billions of dollars in private sector and government contracts at stake, these giants will resort to all sorts of tough tactics – even incredibly expensive lawsuits – in order to win what many executives perceive as a zero-sum game. The advent of the cloud has introduced even more competitors to this battlefield.
For many technologists, working in this high-pressure environment can also provide substantial opportunities. It’s not just the money, although companies like Oracle have a reputation for paying their specialists extremely well; you also have the opportunity to work on projects that potentially impact thousands of businesses and millions of people.
With all of this in mind, we decided to take a look at how much some of the older enterprise software companies pay software engineers who are early to mid-career. For data, we turned to levels.fyi, which relies on self-reported crowdsourcing; although it’s not the most scientific method, the level.fyi numbers tend to line up with those presented by other sources, such as Glassdoor, so we feel somewhat comfortable with them.
Before we break down the chart, there’s one other thing to mention: we’ve excluded some companies from this mix, including IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon, which also have large enterprise software divisions. While we can spin some of these comparisons later, for this article we wanted to focus on companies known to focus almost exclusively on business and enterprise software. In this spirit:
If we take these numbers as indicative of the broader compensation trends of these companies, it’s clear that some are much more stock-dependent than others (our previous analysis of Oracle and SAP compensation across the career of an engineer suggests that these trends in salary, shares, and bonuses remain constant). For technologists who love fairness, this is potentially good news.
At first glance, it also appears that ServiceNow and SAP pay significantly less than Oracle and Workday. However, as with any aspect of the tech industry, compensation is highly correlated with skills and specialization – almost all companies are willing to pay a high salary if a technologist can demonstrate that they have an in-demand skill set, such as machine learning and artificial. intelligence (AI). Given the vastness of these companies’ projects, a strong knowledge of project management is also often essential.
Over the past decade, enterprise software giants have migrated (with varying degrees of speed and success) to the cloud. This has disrupted these companies’ traditional roadmaps, which relied heavily on on-premises technology stacks, and sparked competition with burgeoning cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft. For technologists with cloud skills, however, this transition has proven to be a potentially lucrative thing. If you’re a cloud architect or engineer, there’s a good chance an enterprise software vendor could use your abilities.