Mid-Year Report: Top Tech Skills of 2018

If you’ve been thinking about the experience you need to boost your career, the latest data confirms some clear leaders in terms of marketable skills and areas of specialization. For instance, DevOps and cloud skills continue to be in high demand.

To help you jump-start your career during the second half of the year, here’s a look at the technical skills that have enjoyed the biggest rise in demand through June 1 (when compared to the previous six-month period ending Dec 1, 2017), based on data compiled and analysed exclusively for Dice by John Grant, data skills researcher with IT Jobs Watch.

Grant also provided some insight into the drivers behind the rankings and what they mean for your career.

Cloud Computing and DevOps

With so many companies relying on skilled DevOps to build and deploy applications in the cloud, Grant says professionals really need to master popular tools and platforms for both DevOps and cloud to keep their careers on an upward trajectory.

In fact, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) took the number-one and number-two spots on the list of top-gaining skills, with scores of 144 and 111 (respectively), while DevOps processes and methodologies ranked third. Other cloud-related skills that made the list of top 50 gainers included Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

However, the biggest revelation in terms of cloud-related skills was the rising demand for so-called “serverless” computing, or Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS) capabilities. Specifically, Grant highlighted Kubernetes, a technology developed to provide a serverless experience in running containers (which ranked 14th and are beginning to “dominate the space,” he said). There’s also Terraform, an infrastructure as code software by HashiCorp, which moved into 16th place.

Tech pros who like to keep ahead of the curve should keep an eye on Ansible, a tool often used for deploying serverless applications, which made the list in 21st place. While they didn’t make the top 50, AWS Lambda, which gives developers a way to focus on writing application logic rather than wrestling with server infrastructure, and Octopus Deploy, an automated release management tool for DevOps teams, made significant strides in demand over the last six months.

If you want to know more about the movement to serverless and what it might mean for your career, Grant suggests that you check out videos and blogs from Simon Wardley titled: “Why the Fuss About Serverless.”

Blockchain and Decentralized Apps (dApps)

Blockchain has been called the most disruptive technology in decades, so it should come as no surprise that blockchain-related skills and job postings have increased dramatically, claiming 28th place. In many markets, the demand for Blockchain developers is increasing and often exceeds supply.

Specifically, professionals who have experience with Bitcoin and Solidity (a programming language used for writing smart contracts and building blockchain-based dApps on the Ethereum platform) have seen their stock value rise.

Python, Kotlin, TypeScript, and More

The growth of machine learning and data science not only catapulted Python to the 7th-most-valuable skill; it’s breathing new life into C#, which ranked right behind Python in 8th place. TypeScript is also gaining popularity, along with Scala and Java 8. Meanwhile, the steady rise of Kotlin may mean that Java’s longtime dominance is starting to fade.

“Because Kotlin is easy to learn, it is becoming more popular among iOS and Android developers,” Grant said. “The popularity of the Go programming language is also increasing, due to the fact that it is well-suited for today’s microservices architectures.”

Command Line Skills

Despite the rise of the cloud, having command-line skills and basic knowledge of underlying operating systems is still important; many tech-related tasks must still be done on-premises.

“Don’t forget to highlight experience with PowerShell in your CV,” Grant advised. PowerShell was the 37th most valuable skill, and Bash scored 5.47 just missing the list of top-50 skills.

“You still need command line skills to access a cloud server or to manage databases and users or to become proficient with DevOps,” he pointed out.

In fact, demonstrating proficiency with key fundamentals such as command line interfaces is just as important as having cutting-edge skills when it comes to showing employers your value.

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