Mid-Year Update: Top Tech Skills in 2017

What skills do you need to stay competitive? Given the fast-paced environment of tech, keeping your technical and soft skills up-to-date is always a challenge.

To ensure that you stay sharp and relevant, here’s a look at the technical skills that have experienced the biggest rise in demand and significance during the first six months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, based on data compiled and analysed exclusively for Dice by John Grant, researcher with IT Jobs Watch.

Grant also provided some insight into what’s driving change in the tech industry and what it means for your career.
Cloud Computing

Cloud computing skills came in second in our previous list, which charted clusters of career-related skills that experienced the biggest year-over-year surge in demand 2016 v 2015.

But the recent resurgence of Microsoft and SAP has made the hybrid cloud a reality for many companies, pushing cloud computing skills – specifically Azure– to the top of the list of gainers through the first six months of 2017.

“All three of the main cloud providers, Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), are included in our list of 50 skills that have experienced the biggest rise in demand and value this year,” Grant noted.

“However, the movement of Microsoft and SAP to the cloud has been a game-changer for enterprise companies that are heavily invested in their technology stacks.”

The partnership between Microsoft and SAP/SAP HANA makes both a hybrid approach to the cloud and staged migration a reality Grant explained. The deal may also accelerate cloud migration because from the perspective of CIOs and other senior IT leaders, it poses less risk.

“Given the growth rate of Azure, anyone who works with the Microsoft stack should be seriously thinking about getting cloud training and experience,” Grant added.

If you’re interested, you can learn how to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud for free through the openSAP platform. And Microsoft offers several free online training courses for Azure.

Other cloud skills that made the list of top gainers include: Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Office 365, AWS Cloud Formation and GitHub. SQL Server 2016 was the ninth-ranked skill, as companies are upgrading servers before migrating applications from on-premises to the cloud.

 

DevOps

The adoption of DevOps continues to rise. In fact, a global survey conducted by Puppet indicates that 27 percent of developers are working on DevOps teams.

As Grant pointed out, DevOps and the cloud are intertwined, so the migration to the cloud is fueling an increase in projects that employ the DevOps model. As a category, DevOps processes and methodologies came in fourth in IT Job Watch’s list of top gaining skills.

Popular DevOps tools Ansible, GitHub, Docker, Webpack and Bitbucket also made the list. However at this stage, soft skills are equally important. For example, transformational leadership is viewed as a highly valuable competency and a key driver of success, as companies convert from older ways of doing things to the DevOps model.

 

Programming and Development

Although JavaScript implementation, ES6, (or as it’s officially called, ECMAScript2015) topped the list of programming language gainers, the rise of Microsoft Typescript and Go (Golang) over the last six months could signal the start of a major shift for programmers and developers that necessitates a fresh career strategy. Specifically, it’s possible that WebAssembly may finally replace JavaScript, the software that was designed and implemented in 10 days. And going forward, Grant foresees the advancement of type-safe languages.

“I’d ask JavaScript developers to think about the prospects of the language,” Grant said. “Not the frameworks, such as React and Angular, but the JavaScript language itself. It’s not controversial to say the JavaScript language was not designed for nor does it possess the language features necessary for large-scale business critical application development.”

Other programming languages that experienced a rise in popularity and demand during 2017 include:  F#, Force.com Apex Code, Embedded C, R, Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), PHP7 and GraphQL. In addition, employers are looking for soft skills such as communication, customer orientation, critical thinking, time management and teamwork when they recruit and hire developers and programmers.

“If you believe that JavaScript has a bright future, then you probably need to include TypeScript in your skill set,” Grant noted. “If you don’t, then it might be wise to learn a language that is generally type-safe, such as Go.”

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