10 tech skills that will earn you more money
1. Security engineer
Security is on the mind of every IT leader, especially as high-profile data breaches have become the norm. Therefore, specialized skills in this area are becoming increasingly important to companies hiring tech workers. Of course, security skills can run the gamut, but having a background in enterprise security can go along way for businesses scrambling to protect their customer and corporate data.
If you have security engineering skills on your resume, you'll be happy to hear the market value for this skill has increased 24-percent, with an average reported salary of $107,479 per year.
Cassandra is an open-source database management system aimed at helping businesses manage the massive amounts of data stored across multiple servers. It's a product from Apache, but found it origins at Facebook, where it was built on Amazon's Dynamo and Google's BigTable -- both cloud database services.
As big data becomes more important to companies, Dice reports that Cassandra skills grew 23 percent in market value over the last year, and workers with this skill report an average yearly salary of $147,811.
Salesforce is commonplace in the corporate world, and it's grown to become a powerful CRM tool for sales, marketing, analytics, team collaboration, customer service and more. Since it's ubiquitous in the enterprise, workers with Salesforce expertise are certainly in-demand. With businesses relying on one piece of software for multiple departments, objectives and projects, business leaders are looking to get qualified tech workers in the door.
As a result, the market value of Salesforce skills increased 21 percent, and the average salary for those with Salesforce skills comes in at $107,810 per year.
4. Network administrator
With desktops, tablets, smartphones and notebooks -- most likely all running on different platforms -- comes the need for complex networks in the enterprise. Network administrators are responsible for keeping networks running smoothly, secure and up to date with the latest software. And, as with all things tech, your networks are only as good as the people maintaining them, which makes it a profitable skill to have in your proverbial toolbox.
According to Dice, network administrator skills have increased 18 percent, with workers reporting an average salary of $87,897 per year.
5. Electrical engineer
Electrical engineers are responsible for testing, developing, designing and supervising electronic equipment, whether it's the latest smartphone or GPS system. And it's become a vital role for any business trying to produce electronics, especially as the breadth of hardware grows. Most people no longer just have a desktop, they have notebooks, tablets, smartphones, mp3 players and smartwatches among other devices.
And at the heart of all those devices are electrical engineers, a skill that has increased 18 percent in market value, according to Dice. The data shows that the average yearly salary for those with electrical engineering on their resume earn an average salary of $109,507 per year.
6. Big data
Data is king -- nearly every business either collects, tracks or manages some type of data, whether it's consumer or corporate. But collecting, housing and maintaining all the systems that go along with big data is no easy task.
So it's no wonder skills in this area have increased in market value -- going up 16 percent since last year. In fact, Dice reports that the average salary for workers with big data skills is a whopping $121,328 per year -- a 16 percent year over year increase.
JIRA is a productivity tracking software for developers that helps track bugs, issues and manage projects through each phase of development. It's part of an agile teams toolbox, keeping projects on track and on time for delivery.
Since most businesses have adopted this agile-style of project management, Jira skills are highly coveted when hiring new tech workers. And the average salary for those with Jira skills certainly reflects that demand -- the market value for this skill rose 26 percent, with workers reporting an average salary of $111,103 per year.
Businesses are embracing the cloud, but that means they need more qualified workers to help manage those cloud services. Salaries for this generalized-skill are up 35 percent, slightly lower than other skills on this list, but it makes sense since it's been a hot skill for quite a few years now. Still, workers with cloud skills report an average yearly salary of $112,972, making it a valuable skill for tech employees to add to their resume.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that helps businesses build, deploy and manage apps and software hosted on Microsoft's data centers. The software also comes with a suite of built-in tools that make it easier for businesses to manage everything from mobile devices to the internet of things.
As technology becomes more complex for nearly every business, workers with Azure skills are in high demand. According to Dice's data, the value of Azure skills has jumped 79 percent over the last year; workers with this skill report an average salary of $110,707 per year.
Businesses are collecting more data than ever before, but with all that data comes a need for someone to manage it and maintain the systems used to store it all. Spark is one of the more commonly used tools to process petabytes of data, which is especially useful for companies that offer streaming services and need to manage heavy traffic.
If you have Spark skills on your resume, you'll be happy to hear that this skill is up 85 percent in market value year over year; the average salary for a tech worker with Spark skills is $113,214 as of August 2016.
10 hot IT job skills for 2016
Consumers won't settle for anything less than a quick, seamless and painless user experience, whether they're using enterprise software, shopping or gaming. User experience and user interface (UX/UI) designers are going to be in high demand to help make software interfaces as intuitive as possible, says Anthony Gilbert, a technical recruiter at IT staffing firm Mondo.
"Design can be a competitive advantage. If you've got a company that has a great look-and-feel to their site, they're easy to use and make things extremely simple for users, then they're going to win out over a competitor who doesn't have that same usability," says Mateo Bueno, category director for Web and mobile development at freelance and contract marketplace Upwork.
Full-stack Web & product developers
The Web, collaboration, streaming video, security -- networking is the foundation on which all these technologies and skills are built. Competent networking professionals will continue to be hot in 2016 to make sure that digital businesses can continue to thrive and grow, says Mondo's Gilbert. "Our clients are still relying heavily on skilled networking professionals across all verticals to make sure they're stable, always on and secure -- we don't see that going away," Gilbert says.
"It's about having cleaner pipelines. You can't afford to have complicated, slow backend systems that will slow down video and other forms of interactive content. This isn't as 'sexy' as a skill as those pros who are making sites beautiful, but it's one of the largest subcategories we are seeing," says Upwork's Bueno.
According to a 2015 Global Cybersecurity Status report published by Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), 86 percent of the 3,436 business professionals that responded to the survey believe there is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Compare that to the over 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the US -- estimated to reach 1 million to 1.5 million by 2020, and it is safe to say we have a talent crisis. Security will remain a hot, highly in-demand skill well into 2016 and beyond.
"We are in a situation where the sector of technology with the greatest potential negative impact on our lives, businesses, governments, peace, safety and security happens to have a severe deficiency of qualified people to fill its jobs," says Trevor Halstead, product specialist, Talent Services, with online education and training provider Cybrary.
That shortage, coupled with high-profile security breaches like those at Target, Sony and others, are sending organizations scrambling to find security talent, notes Bueno. "We're seeing an uptick in clients hiring vulnerability testers and hackers to try and breach their systems, and to tell them how to improve their security posture," he says.
Though iOS and Android may soon become obsolete, it won't happen overnight, and there's still a major market for mobile application developers. Mobile has now surpassed the desktop computer as the most-used digital platform, and 2016 should also see demand for cross-platform mobile development professionals, says Upwork's Bueno.
"If the development stack works really well across devices and across platforms, that's going to be much more critical; we're seeing greater demand for [full-stack Web development framework] MEAN: MongoDB, Ember, AngularJS and nodeJS for developing Web applications that allows for device agnosticism," says Bueno.
Business analysts will play a huge role in IT hiring in 2016, as companies find they need a liaison between the IT department and the executive suite to ensure IT projects are meeting business needs and meeting strategic goals, says Mondo's Gilbert.
"Companies are going to need someone who speaks both the language of business and the language of IT, and be able to translate between the two so that business requirements result in features and so that everyone understand what constraints IT is working against," Gilbert says.
IT project managers (vertical specific)
With an increase in IT spending and freer budgets to pursue new innovation, IT project managers are going to be in demand in 2016, says Randstad's Dickey.
"Project managers are critical for our clients to see success with their IT projects. But a project manager who specializes in one industry -- healthcare, for example -- is going to have the best chance of getting a new job in the same vertical. Our clients, at least, want IT PMs to have experience in the same industry; healthcare to healthcare, finance to finance, so they are aware of the unique issues each vertical faces," Dickey says.
With the continued shift toward public cloud infrastructure and hybrid cloud adoption, IT pros skilled at setting up, performing integration and securing cloud deployments will remain hot in 2016.
"So many of our clients are looking to continue cloud adoption, but with all the high-profile security breaches, they want to make sure it's done correctly with skilled, experienced professionals," Dickey says.
Companies are currently struggling to handle the overflow of data they're receiving -- everything from user data, customer behavior data, purchasing data as well as sales leads, marketing data and the like, says Upwork's Bueno. Professionals who can develop solutions to capture, process, analyze and interpret data will continue to be necessary for an organization's success in 2016.
"So many organizations are struggling to find the resources right now to capture, analyze, build data models, do regression analysis on all the data they've got streaming in. On top of that, they really need professionals who can take that data and interpret it into action items for the business," he says.
Content management systems are another hot ticket for 2016, as companies look to customize their existing WordPress and Drupal sites and integrate them with ecommerce products, says Bueno.
"Until now, we were watching the competition between WordPress and Drupal, but it seems WordPress has come out as the dominant platform. That means developers with customization and integration skills on that platform are going to be in great demand," he says, especially as businesses look to integrate WordPress sites with WooCommerce, WordPress's free ecommerce toolkit.
"Even with turnkey solutions like WooCommerce, businesses are looking for a higher, more technical integration so they can do more complex, customized solutions that, for example, work with specific third-party APIs," Bueno says.
IT Salary Outlook 2017: Starting Pay On The Rise
The salary guide features projected starting salaries for more than 75 IT positions. "With skilled professionals in high demand and short supply, more employers are willing to negotiate compensation with potential hires," Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said in a statement. "To remain competitive, especially in the technology and finance fields, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of salary trends for specific roles in your area and move quickly when making offers. Top candidates are receiving multiple job offers and will lose interest when faced with a lengthy hiring process." According to the Robert Half Technology 2017 Salary Guide, big data, security, and mobile initiatives are top issues across corporate America. Hardware and software upgrades and implementations are also major hiring drivers. These priorities are reflected in hiring decisions, according to the report.The table below lists the tech jobs expected to see the greatest increases in starting salaries next year compared with 2016, according to the Robert Half Technology 2017 Salary Guide.
IT professionals looking to maximize their earnings potential may also want to seek out positions at one of the top 10 tech companies that pay the most, such as Juniper Networks, Google, or VMware. Robert Half has reported on salaries yearly since 1950. The company gathers data from its specialized recruiters throughout its US offices to compile its salary guides. Information in the guides is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations, and placements managed by Robert Half's staffing and recruiting managers, along with the company's ongoing surveys of executives. According to the company, continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors -- such as seniority, work ethic, job performance, and training -- affect the salaries of full-time professionals as work histories develop. Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, the table included in earlier versions of this piece contained incorrect data. This article was updated on September 1, 2016, with the correct data in the table.
Job search tips for developers
With the advent of mobile and Web apps, developers are in high demand across almost every industry. But the way companies look for candidates has changed over the years, especially with so many specific skills and disciplines that now fall under the umbrella of "developer." You'll want to be prepared for a number of different variables when it comes to landing the perfect developer job. Here are six tips to prepare yourself to find a job as a developer.
You'll be tested on your skills
Be prepared to take a test based on the required skills for that role. These tests might require you to write code, demonstrate your creative abilities or simply show you have a grasp of the general skills necessary to become a developer. Essentially, says Kevin Dunne, vice president of strategy at QASymphony, companies will be want to measure you up against your resume, which means you need to be honest about your competency in each skill. While you want to present your best self on your resume, be careful not to over promise on skills or accomplishments. A hiring manager might be miffed if you say you're fluent in a programming language, but your test doesn't measure up. "I would recommend highlighting technical proficiency and also mention experience around picking up and learning new languages and technologies. The worst thing that a developer can do is oversell themselves for a role they will not succeed in, as they will quickly find the way out the door and the organization will be back at square one trying to fill that position." Be honest and upfront, it's OK to say you have some experience in a language but are eager and willing to learn more, Dunne notes. People get hired all the time even if they don't fit every requirement on the job description, especially if you demonstrate an ability to catch onto new concepts quickly.
Join a hackathon
Hackathons, hackfests, codefests or hack days -- whatever you want to call them, they're getting very popular in the tech world. These events, which can sometimes take place over a few days, giving participants a certain amount of time to create a program, design a user interface, build an API or improve upon an already existing service or app. It's a great way to develop and enrich your skills as well as network and meet other colleagues in the industry. But beyond that, it's also a great place to position yourself to find a job. Employers seeking developers know hackathons are a great way to find the right talent to suit their company's needs. You'll mostly run into employers for consumer focused businesses, says Dunne, but it's a great way to get exposure and make direct contacts in the industry. And while these hackathons might have a reputation among younger college students or recent grads, that's not necessarily the case. In fact, Dunne says that "with more legacy applications written in older languages, there may not be as many recent grads with experience so that may force the employer to look into more of the current workforce and those areas."
Prepare for blind auditions
Dunne says that thanks to reality TV, blind auditions have become a popular way for employers to screen candidates through "brief blind coding or survey sessions where their identities are not revealed," especially using sites like GapJumper. These services help eliminate any concern around discrimination stemming from gender, race, education or physical appearance. There's been a big push for diversity in Silicon Valley, and blind auditions are one way to help reach that goal. Blind auditions are also a great way for companies to make sure that they aren't just hiring a group of friends, says Dunne, since plenty of development teams are now built up on referrals. Referrals are a great way to find talent, but it can quickly get out of hand as more employees help their friends get a leg in the door.
Don't ignore legacy skills
If you're a seasoned developer, don't get discouraged by the hordes of recent grads entering the workforce with shiny new skills. While it's important to keep on top of the latest programming languages and changes in the industry, don't ignore skills you might think employers will perceive as out of date. "Some of the most in demand jobs are those related to legacy systems like Fortran, COBOL, etc. as many large institutions still run on mainframe systems and the population of developers with knowledge of those systems is decreasing, while the number of mainframe systems requiring maintenance remains somewhat steady," says Dunne. Your legacy skills also demonstrate your past accomplishments and abilities, so don't be afraid to highlight them on your resume. While you always want to focus on the job description and what it requires, your past experience can demonstrate your ability to learn and adapt in a fast changing industry.
Employers in every industry want workers who are motivated and excited to come into work, and that certainly extends to developers. Of course while full blown positivity may not be realistic every single day, you should at least make sure you show a level of passion for your chosen field. Similar to your interpersonal skills, it might not seem like a relevant job requirement, but you can't overlook passion. You wouldn't want to get passed over for a candidate who wasn't as qualified but was enthusiastic about their future in the career. Not showing passion might suggest that you'll become complacent or bored down the line. "Where possible, it is great to communicate the passion you have for the application you are developing (or just development in general), as passion for doing your job will be a great indicator of future success," says Dunne. Just like you need to demonstrate your communication skills and ability to work well with others, you also want to reassure the hiring manager that you are invested in your career and future.
It's not just about the coding
You might be great at coding and programming software, but developers also need to work well on cross-functional teams as well as with outside clients. That means, you might have to prepare for a behavioral interview, which Dunne says "deliver a 360-degree analysis of the individual's work style, social and interpersonal communication skills, ambitions and weaknesses." Interviewees can expect to be asked questions that evaluate how honest they are, if they can admit to mistakes and how open they are to learning, says Dunne. He encourages job seekers to take these interviews seriously, even though they aren't about your developing prowess. Showcasing your personality also goes back to the first tip about being honest on your resume, even if the job seems a little out of reach. If you seem like a better overall fit for the team, you might find that even though you aren't proficient in a few skills the job requires, the hiring manager might hire you over someone who has more experience but doesn't demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, as Dunne points out. It's much easier for a manager to train someone who meshes well with the team than to manage someone with the right skills who doesn't work well with the rest of the department.