21 Skills That Pay Top Dollar – Without Certification

Need a raise? Here are 21 IT skills that pay a premium — anywhere from 4 to 17 percent in terms of total compensation. What makes them even more attractive: None require certification.

Big Data

Although the demand for Big Data skills varies, early adopters are “willing to pay anything” to acquire and retain professionals with the necessary competencies and Java expertise, according to David Foote, CEO of research and consulting firm Foote Partners. Specifically, they’re looking for expertise in:

  • Apache Hadoop including HBase and Hive
  • Apache Cassandra
  • Apache CouchDB
  • MapReduce
  • Redis
  • MongoDB
  • MySQL/MySQL Cluster
  • Predictive/Prescriptive Analytics and Modeling
  • Complex Event Processing/Event Correlation


Although employers won’t pay a premium for SAP certifications, often they will spend more for top performers who have hands-on experience in these areas:

  • SAP HANA (especially with SAP CO-PA)
  • SAP FI – FSCM (Financial Supply Chain Management)
  • SAP GTS (Global Trade Services)

Mobile Apps

Mobile development skills are needed almost everywhere, which means people who know how to create apps and other services are in a good position when it comes to negotiating compensation. But the highest premiums go to those who with experience in HTML5.

Risk Management and the Rest

Although it’s not a technical area, risk management is a critical skill that Foote says “bleeds into everything companies are doing.” That makes professionals who have the ability to assess and mitigate risk, in addition to strong technical skills, increasingly popular among employers. The most-needed skills in this area include:

  • WebLogic and WebSphere for SOA
  • VMware
  • TOGAF (EA from The Open Group)
  • ITIL V2 and V3
  • Risk Assessment/Risk Management
  • Change Management

Learning the appropriate skills, Foote believes, increases your value to employers, which in turn raises the potential for your compensation package.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yrdCFOWKjk&wmode=window&h=315&w=560&h=315]

9 Responses to “21 Skills That Pay Top Dollar – Without Certification”

    • mjokimoto

      Funny you should mention that because I will soon be receiving my PhD in this very area, so if anyone is interested in people like me, feel free to visit my site or otherwise contact me. I analyze user data from software through visualization to better understand how students learn. Naturally, the techniques used can be suited for many different domains of data.

  1. So what about the future? I am currently a .Net developer and I still have at least 20 years of working ahead of me. What skills should I gain/expand on, to ensure I am always marketable in the U.S? Or should I move back to Australia?

  2. Guys guys be cool. There are always space for java or ,net developers. Things might update and this two phase of web will too. But there is always a place for a skilled person. If you can find nothing then look for the freelancing market place. Australia or US is not the fact.

  3. Why is ITIL listed? Why on earth would you hire someone without an ITIL certification (v3 because v2 is severely outdated) when you can easily find someone with the certification?