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The Most Valuable Tech Skills in 2017

The Most Valuable Tech Skills

The interactive graphic above comes to us from Dice Insights, and it helps to visualize the relationship between the supply and demand for over 1,400 technology skills.

Specifically, the supply shown on the graph is based on the amount of job seekers with those skills available, while demand is the portion of employment opportunities listed that require that skill. The “hotter” red a skill is, the greater the ratio of demand to supply.

Big Data Heats Up

With billions of new “things” connecting to the IoT and an explosion in the amount of information that must be processed and interpreted, it is no surprise that many of the most lucrative skills in tech today relate to making sense of large volumes of data.

Here are the ten highest paying skills in technology, according to Dice:

RankSkill2016 SalaryYr/Yr Change
#1HANA$128,958-3.30%
#2MapReduce$125,009-0.30%
#3Cloud Foundry$124,038n/a
#4Hbase$123,9345.70%
#5Omnigraffle$123,782-1.90%
#6Cassandra$123,4592.20%
#7Apache Kafka$122,728n/a
#8SOA$122,094-1.90%
#9Ansible$121,382n/a
#10Jetty$120,9781.30%

Leading the list is SAP’s HANA, or “High Performance Analytical Application”, which is part of a new wave of databases that can crunch large amounts of data nearly instantly. The average salaries of workers skilled in HANA currently hover around $129,000.

If we sort the members of the top ten most lucrative skills list by “heat” level (with several omissions according to availability in the “heat data” set) we can see that HANA is right in the middle of the plot, where supply is roughly equal to demand. This shows us that tech workers choosing to skill up in HANA are effectively getting paid what they are worth.

Top tech skills ranked by heat

Defining the Essentials

What else does “heat” ranking tell us about the market for tech skills that salary data alone does not?

First and foremost, it shows that skills like Java, SQL and HTML, all of which live in the top right-hand corner of the interactive graph where both demand and supply are very high, have become the “bread and butter” of the tech industry. The vast majority of people in the field have a need for these basic services, and as such, the majority of workers in tech have become conversant in them.

We can also see that specific fields, like database administration, web infrastructure management, automation, and big data science, are the areas that businesses need the most help in. The number of specialists skilled in these fields has not yet expanded to meet the significant demand for the associated skills. On the other hand, many marketing and web design skills have fallen toward the “cold” side of the spectrum as supply exceeds demand.

Competition and Timing

Employers may often look for very specific skill sets including one or more of the “hot” skills in the current marketplace. Combined with a hot technology sector, this demand pushes average salary ranges up and motivates tech workers to continually revise their competencies on a regular basis.

Year over year growth in tech salaries

With such a fluid marketplace for jobs in technology, unemployment is very low at around 2%. At the same time, over the past decade, the average tech salary has also increased by roughly $17,000.

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