Most In-Demand Skills and Certifications of 2016

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What are this year’s most sought-after skills and certifications? Robert Half Technology’s latest salary guide for tech pros (registration required) offers some insights. The firm’s survey of 2,500 CIOs in the United States resulted in the following list:

  • ASP
  • C#
  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • CompTIA A+
  • Java
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • .NET

Some 61 percent of those CIOs told Robert Half that it was “challenging” to find tech pros with the necessary skills, and 37 percent indicated that staying up-to-date with the latest technology is the “greatest source of pressure” on those who work in the technology industry.

How does Robert Half’s list match up against the assessments of other analyst firms? A few months ago, David Foote, chief analyst at Foote Partners LLC, offered up a snapshot of the certified and non-certified skills that had seen the biggest gains in value since the beginning of 2016. Among those skills that saw premium pay increases of 25-50 percent:

  • GIAC Enterprise Defender (GCED)
  • GIAC Certified Firewall Analyst (GCFW)
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA)
  • Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC-Level 3)
  • EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
  • CompTIA Server+
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (all)

Other valued certifications included:

  • PMI Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • Certified Cyber Forensics Professional (CCFP)
  • Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)
  • GIAC Secure Software Programmer-Java (GSSP-JAVA)
  • Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Black Belt

While there is some overlap between these firms’ respective lists, most notably with regard to CompTIA and Microsoft-related skills, there’s also quite a bit of difference. Simply put, the certifications and skills that earn the heftiest pay premiums aren’t always the ones with the most widespread demand; someone with a handful of highly specialized security certs on their résumé can expect to bring home a hefty paycheck, but the number of open positions requiring those skills are relatively low in comparison to, say, Java or .NET.

In the latest edition of Dice’s annual Salary Survey, the highest-paying skills all involved Big Data or cloud. Those included SAP HANA (average annual salary in 2015: $154,749), Cassandra ($147,811), Cloudera ($142,835), Platform-as-a-Service ($140,894), and OpenStack ($137,579).

Tech unemployment hit 2.4 percent in August, a slight dip from 2.9 percent in July, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For many tech pros, it’s a solid job market. But as the above lists demonstrate, specializing in a few key skills can increase your earning potential even more.

Image Credit: kirill_makarov/Shutterstock.com

Comments

4 Responses to “Most In-Demand Skills and Certifications of 2016”

September 21, 2016 at 9:45 am, Ronnie said:

Find it hard to believe that classic ASP would be in Robert Half’s most sought after skill’s list, as opposed to skills such as AngularJS, DevOps, Cloud/SaaS, etc

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September 22, 2016 at 11:13 am, turbo104 said:

I’d bet those are key words from scraping job postings. probably pulling from things like “ASP.NET MVC”, “ASP MVC” or “ASP.NET”. the individuals that write job postings seem to be less than familiar with framework names, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some even had just “ASP” listed in the posting. All that to say, I’m with you, I find it hard to believe that there is any sort of real demand for classic ASP devs.

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September 22, 2016 at 4:23 pm, Sam said:

ASP being in the list says it all. It is prepared by those who don’t at least know what each technology is. Very sad to see the wide gap between a tech professional and a management professional.

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May 07, 2017 at 4:23 pm, Ron said:

Yeah I agree, most of the required skills now include node.js, angular, JavaScript for front end, and the most used frame works!

For DEVops and Linux engineers – Docker, puppet, chef, ansible, red hat Linux, Python.

Usually A+ & CCNA will get you through the door. But for a very entry level position!

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