Tech Skills That Have Gained the Most Job Value

If you’re actively looking for a new position, or even considering a career change in 2018, knowing which skills are in demand is a good place to start. With the next wave of disruptive technologies on the horizon, having the right skills can open doors and significantly increase your market value.

To ensure that your learning efforts will be appreciated and rewarded, here’s a look at the technical skills that experienced the biggest rise in demand and significance during 2017 (when compared to 2016), based on data compiled and analysed exclusively for Dice by John Grant, data scientist, researcher and director of IT Jobs Watch.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing skills were the big winners in 2017. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) experienced the biggest year-over-year surge in demand, coming in first and second, respectively. Google Cloud Platform ranked 49th out of the top 50 skills.

Although the growth can be partially attributed to companies becoming more comfortable with cloud technologies, the advent of more complex, disruptive technologies is also fueling the surge.

“Most companies don’t have the resources or infrastructure to support the robust features of IoT, conversational UI, natural language processing and deep learning, or even infrastructure as code (IaC), so they are turning to the cloud,” Grant explained. “The bottom line is that the cloud is not going away.”

Other cloud skills that made the list of top gainers include: Microsoft Dynamics 365, Office 365 and GitHub. 

DevOps

As a category, DevOps processes and methodologies moved up to second in IT Job Watch’s list of top-gaining skills.

DevOps saw tremendous growth in 2017, according to Grant, who now considers DevOps to be a legacy skillset for many tech professionals. Popular DevOps tools Ansible, GitHub, Docker and JIRA made the list of top-gaining skills.

Microservices

The desire for more cost-effective software development is behind the push toward microservices architecture and the design of software applications as a collection of independent, deployable services. Plus, refactoring existing code bases to separate microservices makes it easier to migrate legacy applications to the cloud. As a result, experience with microservices processes and methodologies proved a valuable skillset.

“Speed to market is a high priority as well,” Grant noted. So it’s not surprising that familiarity with agile was the 18th-most-valuable competency. Other microservices skills that made the list of biggest gainers include: Java, Test-Driven Development (TDD), JavaScript, Docker, Pivotal Software Spring Network, .NET and Google Kubernetes.

What’s next after microservices? “Serverless development is coming,” Grant warned. “Developers who truly want to be ahead of the curve should be mastering the idiosyncrasies of serverless development today.”

Fintech

Fintech startups are rushing to fill the innovation gaps at big banks and insurance companies that still depend on legacy IT platforms and programs. We’re also seeing the increased use of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. As a result, Fintech was the 15th-most-valuable career skill in 2017. Professionals with industry-related skills such as Java, C#, JavaScript, .NET, Angular or Amazon AWS also saw their value rise during the past year. 

Machine Learning

As a group, machine-learning processes and methodologies ranked 24th on the list. Related skills include Python, Java, Big Data, Apache Spark, Amazon AWS and Scala.

Programming and Development

Other programming languages, frameworks, architectural styles and development processes that experienced high popularity and demand during 2017 include: Git (which ranked 10th), RESTful (which ranked 12th), behavior-driven development (which ranked 20th), and Microsoft TypeScript (which ranked 42nd). Popular JavaScript tools Angular JS, React JS and Node JS placed highly among valuable skills, as well.

Relative “newcomers” that experienced a rise in value and demand include: ECMAScript 2015, Team City by JetBrains and Spring Boot.

GDPR

Finally, knowledge of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made the list for the first time as the 22nd-most-valuable competency. The new regulation takes effect on May 25, and will impact security specialists, data managers, project managers—essentially anyone who is involved with managing and protecting personal data and customer records.

A recent survey revealed that 92 percent of European businesses are unprepared for GDPR. Becoming familiar with the regulation, and how to achieve compliance, may give you a competitive advantage if you’re about to enter the job market.

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