Hang onto your dreams: 2016 is shaping up to be another banner year for tech job seekers, according to David Foote, Chief Analyst and CRO of research firm Foote Partners LLC.
For those of you keeping score at home, Foote accurately projected solid job growth in 2015. And through job creation slowed in November, tech jobs are still up 7 percent for the year. In fact, employers created 38,800 tech-related jobs in the last three months, compared to 17,633 in 2015.
To make sure you don’t miss some prime opportunities over the next 12 months, we asked Foote to forecast the hot roles for tech pros—as well as those that might lose ground in the coming year:
Professionals in these roles should expect rising demand (and raises) in 2016:
DevOps has edged out architecture as a top speciality in 2016. Everyone from engineers to developers and testers stand to benefit because, as Foote said, “DevOps is no longer a nice-to-have skill, it’s a must-have.”
Market value for the entire DevOps job family rose 7.1 percent in the last six months, with the average salary for engineers ranging from $103,000 to $129,000. The premium pay for professionals who know Docker/Jenkins integration tools has increased 10 percent over the last six months.
“Companies have been trying to collapse development into operations for some time and they’re finally succeeding as speed and agility are viewed as top priorities and the keys to competitiveness,” Foote said.
Despite slipping into second place, architects will still be able to write their own tickets in 2016, with security, mobile cloud and software pros leading the way. Foote’s 2015 bullish forecast for architects proved to be spot on, as the Open Group’s Certified Architect (Open CA) master level certification edged out TOGAF becoming the most in-demand cert in the third quarter.
“An emerging field for architects is called ‘people architecture,’” Foote said. “Which is similar to traditional IT architecture and governance but the theories and practices apply to IT human capital management.”
Big Data Specialists
Forecasting job growth in the Big Data arena is a bit trickier. On the one hand, Foote expects robust demand for data scientists, database developers, analysts and technical specialists to continue into 2016. On the other hand, the cash premiums for Big Data certs such as Oracle, SAS and EMC has dropped about 2 percent over the last 12 months, while the pay for non-certified skills has gone up 7.2 percent. Why the disparity?
“Companies are still investing in Big Data, but they’re doing it in their own way,” Foote said. “As a result, they’re looking for vendor-neutral, non-certified skills. Big Data will absolutely be hot in 2016, just not in certs.”
With hackers and cyber crooks running wild, employers plan to hire more security experts, with computer forensic and intrusion analysts topping their wish lists.
“The value of InfoSec certs has risen 9.6 percent over the last two years,” Foote said. “Forensic analyst has gained the most value rising 23.1 percent over the last two years.”
Application Developers in a Microservices Architecture Environment
Companies want to develop modular applications, Foote explained. Their goals will boost the stock value of architects, front-end developers, and back-end API web engineers, as well as UI/UX specialists who adopt a micro-services approach.
Digital Product Designers
Gartner calls digital product design a “disrupter” that will change the future of IT. Foote not only agrees with Gartner’s prognosis, he predicts that this emerging field will increase the demand for product design engineers and analysts as well as digital specialists.
Professionals in these roles might face career headwinds in 2016:
SAP specialists topped Foote’s list of losing roles in 2015. He expects the downward slide to continue in 2016: “There’s not much room for growth in ERP.”
Between the cloud and virtualization, companies have resolved most of their storage issues, so they won’t be hiring specialists anytime soon.
After outsourcing network management and moving apps and storage to the cloud, companies no longer need a large number of network admins, managers and engineers on staff. “Companies are continuing to outsource infrastructure and that will reduce the need for network specialists except for network security which will remain in-house,” Foote said.