For decades, the competition between the world’s largest enterprise software companies has been incredibly fierce. With billions of dollars in private sector and government contracts at stake, these giants will resort to all kinds of harsh tactics – even insanely expensive lawsuits – in order to win what many executives perceive to be 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 offer 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 that in mind, we decided to take a look at how much some of the older enterprise software companies pay software engineers who are just starting out in their careers. For the data, we turned to levels.fyi, which relies on self-reported crowdsourcing; While not the most scientific method, 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 more thing to mention: we’ve left some companies out of this mix, including IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon, which also have large enterprise software divisions. While we can make some of these comparisons later, for this article we wanted to focus on companies that are known to focus almost exclusively on enterprise and enterprise backend software. In this spirit:
If we take these numbers as an indication of the broader compensation trends of these companies, it is clear that some are much more dependent on stocks than others (our previous analysis of Oracle and SAP compensation throughout a career path. engineer suggests that these trends in wages, stocks, and bonuses remain consistent). For technologists who love fairness, this is potentially good news.
At first glance, it also appears that ServiceNow and SAP pay a lot less than Oracle and Workday. However, as with any other aspect of the tech industry, compensation is strongly correlated with skills and specialization. Almost any company is ready to pay a big payday if a technologist can demonstrate they have in-demand skills, such as machine learning and the artificial. intelligence (IA). Given the immense scale of the projects in these companies, a solid 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 disrupted the traditional roadmaps of these companies, which relied heavily on on-premise technology stacks, and sparked competition with burgeoning cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft. For technologists with cloud skills, however, this transition has proven to be potentially lucrative. If you’re a cloud architect or engineer, there’s a good chance an enterprise software company can use your capabilities.