Tech Companies, New and Old, Clamor to Entice Cloud Computing Experts

Tech Companies, New and Old, Clamor to Entice Cloud Computing Experts

SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon Web Services, a globe-spanning cloud computing network that is part of the online retailing giant Amazon, has rapidly become one of the most powerful forces in technology. It has also become a target for poachers.

Last October, at a conference in Las Vegas with thousands of corporate executives and software developers in attendance, A.W.S.’s chief, Andy Jassy, strode before an intentionally poorly disguised image of Lawrence J. Ellison, founder and chairman of the Oracle Corporation. Foot-tall words like “bullies,” “extorted” and “strong arm” appeared next to Mr. Jassy and the image of Ellision. The logo of Oracle, one of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley, was barely crossed out.

“Our marketing team needs work on redaction,” Mr. Jassy joked.

Better cloaked was the reason for his enmity: Oracle had been slow to get into the cloud business, but recently made multiple hiring raids on A.W.S. Both Oracle and Amazon declined to comment on Mr. Jassy’s dig.

The hunt for the hard-to-find talent that can build and run the massive data centers behind cloud computing is pitting three generations of companies against one another. Old-guard companies like Oracle, tech’s current giants like Amazon and its peers, as well as Bay Area start-ups are offering big salaries and big perks for cloud computing experts.

On the social media site LinkedIn, for example, there are over 130 engineering positions available at Oracle Seattle. Many of them are the kind of jobs that now pay $300,000 to $1 million a year, according to Shannon Anderson, who has been recruiting engineers in Seattle and the Bay Area for 25 years.

Seattle and its surrounding towns are a hot spot for this kind of tech talent because they are home to A.W.S., which runs the biggest cloud computing service, and Microsoft, which has a large cloud business called Azure. Google also has a cloud computing office in the area. So does Facebook.

“Someone working deep inside Amazon is getting five to 20 recruiting offers a day,” Ms. Anderson said. “Compensation has doubled in five years.” For a recruiter, who is typically paid a percentage of a star engineer’s compensation, “this is a very good time,” she said.

Cloud computing, which powers an increasing number of our devices and services, allows a vast collection of computers — often spread around the world — to operate like one giant machine.

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