11 Tech Skills Employers Want – Right Now


Demand for software developers and the QA folks who check their work were among the most sought-after skills in Dice’s job postings as of October 1, the company says.

Software development is beyond compare in today’s job tech job market. Even if you are not an engineer – many hiring managers want candidates to have a thorough understanding of the software development lifecycle. More development equals more QA or ensuring a project, product or service meets certain standards and satisfies requirements.

One interesting story that comes out of the numbers regards open source postings: Python and Ruby on Rails both hit new highs in six of 10 months this year, ranking No. 3 and No. 6 respectively.  JBOSS ranked No. 8, posting year-over-year growth of 10 percent. Meantime, postings seeking virtualization expertise hit their all-time high, as well.

40 Responses to “11 Tech Skills Employers Want – Right Now”

    • Absolutely right, Fred! I have worked with an Indian candidate who had a Master’s degree in information security, who was working as a developer and getting paid a paltry sum.

      When the candidate finally left the company and went to work for Cisco in Austin, Texas the employer could not understand why the candidate would want to leave such a wonderful company to go work for Cisco where they received a HUGE sign-on bonus, a HUGE increase in salary and many other wonderful benefits.

      Even the Indians are smart enough to know that once they gain some on-shore experience to jump ship to a better paying job.

  1. 11 skills that the scruwed tech worker wants.
    1) a real job.
    2) a real job that pays.
    3) a real job that pays a livable wage.
    4) a job where people respect you.
    5) a job where youre treated like a part of the company.
    6) a job where your boss doesnt treat you like dung droppings because his lazy inferior @$$ wasnt motivated enou to actually study for a better degree.
    please folks of the teck community rise up and stop these schmoze. continue the list….

    • I hear you, WizGod and I agree with you 113 percent.

      Having been unemployed for lengthy periods and having jobs offered to me in the $10 – $12 an hour range, despite having a degree in computer science AND having years and years of documented, referenced experience I was still treated by recruiters and alleged managers as if I was pond scum.

      It took a LONG time to find a position that paid a livable wage, with decent benefits, with a team lead who does not micro-manage and a manager who completely leaves me alone to do the work for which I was hired.

      I finally found a job with the six items that you listed as wants.

      Right now, I am happier than a pig eating slop.

      I feel your pain and I might add to your list 7) a job that deals with technology that isn’t so old that your grandfather is familiar with it.

    • Oh no! Not another ‘N’ things you must know, not know, say, not say, do, not do, put on your resume, not put on your resume. Really trite, really tiring.

      As I get older, I’ve become more detached from the job. If you can take a step back, and observe these empty suit (they don’t even wear suits anymore) managers, one can see how frightened, insecure, boot licking they really are. They and their attidudes have helped turn IT into a living hell.

  2. Fred, what you say can’t be true under the Obama administration!. Our president is a person that cares and he would never let employers do that to the middle-class. It sounds like it’s time to lobby congress for corporations to be able to hire more H1b’s so we can spread the real word about what is happening.

  3. Say it aint so fred. myrtle i was not even gonna dignify that with a response but im gonna say this. jack abromoff began his ilustrious dealings back in late 70’s to mid 80’s care to guess who one of his earliest clients was? obama wasnt even close to the office at that time. Next….

    • Barbara Gordon

      @Wizgod Your first comment is out of line for two reasons 1. Guilt by association, 2. This is NOT a political debate
      However, I agree with most of your second comment. Vincent, I feel your pain. All are wants for me. For number 6, the owner supposedly has an MBA, but has us on the trailing edge or technology. Our accounting system won’t run on anything newer than Window’s 2000 so I have to have two computers because other software won’t run on anything lower than XP. Windows 7? Ha! We have to share a print cartridge between to network printers because he won’t upgrade printers. Our accounting system won’t print checks on a newer system! I am currently making $0.12 and hour less than I did in 1980, not adjusting for inflation, adjusting for inflation, it is only 1/3 as much.

      • hello barbara dear im not gonna apologize for the simple fact that she made it political by mentioning our presidents name and if you do even a little research you would have found out what i already know and you would then more basis for your sympathetic out burst supporting a person who obviously didnt do hers. im really annoyed with peoples assumptions on here that its ok to just

      • to just spout things without knowing the facts is pure rediculous nonsense. now as far as the wage part wages have been falling for some time. windowsvwhich isva very non thinking environment produced alot of wage decrease and a much more ignorant population. see when gates stole the technology behind windows he had one purpose in mind. infect the mases with as easy to use os as possible. cator to most simple to get to the whole.

  4. Stinger51

    Something is wrong with this picture. A superficial count of job postings on Dice shows that PHP has far more demand than either Python or RoR. Yet PHP doesn’t even show up on the chart!

    Also, the Software Development category can mean just about anything. Which is why it is tops on the chart.

    The chart does also not take into account that most companies today want way more than just a few skill sets. You may have PHP, MySQL, jQuery, AJAX and JSON. But if you also don’t have C# (which has nothing to do with those) you will be screened out. Most job postings are there just for that purpose, to show the EEOC that a company did indeed try to find qualified candidates, but due to their ridiculous “laundry list” they couldn’t (surprise!) find anybody. So, time for Congress to open the H1-B visa flood gates and import all that cheap labor.

    Software development used to be a very good field in the 1980s and 90s in this country. But today it is not a field I would encourage anyone to go into. Unless you continually retrain monthly you cannot possibly keep up with new technologies. And this assumes that you are retraining in the winners, and not the potential loosers. What is hot one year may be obsolete the next. That horse you’ve been riding so successfully in the race could be put out to pastor soon. And you will be left staring at all those “Swamis” the govt. brought in, who just happen to have the winning technology.

    • I agree: Dice is full of crap. I took one look at the bar chart and decided no-one could possibly write a serious article about such data, so i didn’t bother to read it. I jump straight to the comments t get a better idea of how things are.

  5. When I worked at HP in Palo Alto I used to see rooms full of H1B’s being trained. I remember thinking… “where are all the Americans?”. Sadly nothing has changed. Our country is being gutted at both sides of the economic scale.

  6. I hear your comments and yet I cannot have true sympathy because when the going was good [ rape and plundering of other industries and other jobs ] nobody cared. The way we as a tech industry and more important personnel allowed companies and projects to treat us in the name of ‘ being part of the winners’ is disturbing to say the least. Now we have impersonalized ourselves to the extent that they think we are ‘objects’ just like our code. We make-up and break teams based on a technical skill set [ some new hot item code we may have inadvertantly been dabbling with ] without looking at the person’s other skill set. And, you know what? We are ALL guilty of this!! Until we gain some sense of business etiquette and yes compassion, integrity and civility this will only get worse. Just so you know, I come from the time when the developers for IPV4 were discussing the need for IPV6.

  7. We are a bunch of ungrateful geeks, aren’t we. In this age of Obama and permanent low expectations, we should be satisfied with whatever crumbs we get. Especially if we have to compete with the well trained Indians.

    • @Gerri – Do your life really sucks so much that you had to blame the president. Just in case you failed to realize it, these changes were in motion before the president entered office. Rather than buck up and take responsibility for your sucess or lack thereof, it’s always easier to blame President Obama. Instead of playing the blame game, why don’t you read the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman.

      If you don’t feeling like reading that particular book, you can always read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand or “The Way Things Ought to Be” by Rush Limbaugh.

      Remember, everything is not the president fault including the quality of your life.

      • Some of these comments are hilarious (poor spelling notwithstanding). Software QA has to be the most boring job in the world. I wouldn’t take it for $100 an hour.
        If I had to blame the President of the United States for my being out of work, I’d shoot myself. If an employer can see your potential, you’ll get hired. I don’t believe you have to write code in 50 languages. Coding is not rocket science. Try designing code for an adaptive equalizer in a low noise microwave receiver. Now, that’s fun.

      • The Heretic

        LOL, you are a typical engineer right down to the grammar errors. You cannot make an omelet without first breaking a few eggs. Learning from failure is the nature of the engineering process. A good engineer never lets failure detour them from trying.

        Comedy pays better then engineering, but don’t quit your day job. LOL

  8. QATester

    They might as well take the first two categories (software development and QA) and make them into one. I am an unemployed former QA who worked for almost 8 years doing mainly manual testing and then lost my job when the product I was working on was sold to a company that does all their QA work in Bangalore. I have been looking for a job for 3 months and am finding that all the the QA jobs now want you to also have programming or actual software development experience. There are no jobs for strictly manual testers, at least not in the US. I have taken programming classes online, but am still having a hard time getting past the technical interview that’s now required for QA positions. They seem to expect that you’ve committed a lot of knowledge to memory, which I haven’t yet. I’m also not sure what this proves as to your qualifications for doing the job since if you needed it to get your work done you would just look it up. And you don’t get anywhere by pointing out that your’re a quick learner and can show examples of how you did this at past jobs; the response is always – we need someone who can “hit the ground running”… So what happened to on-the-job training? Any advice?

    • Jan Summers

      Dear QA Tester: I totally agree with you. Most QA jobs that I find require a knowledge of SAP and in some cases both SAP and Six Sigma Black Belt certifications. My field of QA is even more defined in auditing third-party performannce and compliance to contracted requirements.

    • Not sure where you are located when looking for a job but you are correct in that there is a lot of advertisement for automation jobs. You might want to look for company that are doing their own software versus a vendor. Do a search on large companies because a lot of them don’t require that you be technical for more process driven. Good luck with you search

    • The Heretic

      QA is a thankless job. You are criticizing other peoples work all day long and dealing directly with the passive aggressive coworker behavior that management is creating with wage suppression. It is kind of like being an IRS agent; you don’t shout it out at a cocktail party if you want people to talk to you. Lol You should find a more gratifying line of work adding to the shortages. There are reasons why the second column is the second biggest and expanding.

      Increases in the need for QA people are directly related to the passive aggressive nature of the labor relations of the time; the New World Order. QA should remain a separate classification as it indicates yet another indicator of violent lurching of a dysfunctional labor market in distress.

      I’m sorry to hear about your off shoring experience. I know it doesn’t help, but management is going to eventually pay a high price for their behavior. The cost savings will not materialize especially in the long term as the international markets equalize; cost are what they are.

      The QA process in a passive aggressive wage suppressed labor environment is a bottomless pit of unnecessary added expense that expands to consume all available resources, decimates competitive advantage, and decimates the reputation of a shop. It is an endless cycle driving costs up, but most mangers only see the need and not the cause. Every manager should have a mirror in their office to see the cause of most of their problems.

      Christmas is coming and I can think of no better passive aggressive present for a manger then a mirror. Merry Christmas! lol

  9. Employer

    We want to get the job done quickly, efficiently and reasonably inexpensively. We do not want to hire people who do not know how to communicate, do not know how to participate, and do not know how to get the job done. Unfortunately, all the people who we depend upon to get the job done spend their time arguing about how to do it, and how they aren’t compensated enough, and how there aren’t enough snacks in the breakroom. If you want job security do the following:

    1) Stop bitching
    2) Stop sitting around and talking about star trek. How about getting some work done
    3) Stop writing up so many reports and logs and spreadsheets that detail why you are not getting work done and just get some work done. Your methodologies are such an excuse. Just work, stop talking about working

    Trust me when I say that we do not want to hire 4 unqualified people to sit and figure out how to get the job done, even if we are paying them $12/hour. We would much rather pay you $40 just to do your job. That is assuming that you actually know how to write code and aren’t just a blowhard who spends their days writing up comments on websites about writing code, instead of getting to work.

    • The Heretic

      I totally get it. I have literally interview hundreds of employers in my research and the story is pretty much the same. I want. I want. I want, but I don’t want to pay the cost of acquiring the skills. Well, someone has to pay the costs.

      If not you the employer than the employee or the government must pay the price. Both have drawbacks. Forcing the employee to pay the costs without wages that compensate the effort leads to shortages and shortages lead to corporate welfare solutions that expand government and cause distortions that lead to the need for more corporate welfare which eventually leads to market impaction and failure.

      Anyone else notice all the ads on TV for government created diploma mills that ultimately leave the student with debt and a job that doesn’t compensate them for the debt or the opportunity costs of acquiring the skills the employers want. Corporate welfare is an endless circle of dependency that leads to market impaction and failure.

      The importing of labor and exporting of jobs is a symptom of a market failure which leads to more market failure. There is a direct relationship between suppressed wages and the lack of interest in STEM degrees. It is simple economics. Offer a wage that is below the cost of acquiring the skills and you will have shortages.

      There can only be shortages at a given price. At $40 an hour, there are shortages because the learning curve for software engineers must be repeated every three years. Most of the numbers in this survey are evidence of the cause; wage suppression. There is no such thing as a long term shortages in a labor market where wages are allowed to float. IT shortages have been chronic perpetuated shortages. Can anyone here remember a time when there wasn’t a shortage at the price being offered?

      Due to the learning curve, over half of that $40 dollar wages being offered goes directly to learning costs. No business person is going to offer a product at a price below the cost of production. That is the definition of a shortage condition.

      I want. I want. I want at my price is a two year old having a temper tantrum and any parent that has gone thru the terrible two’s knows that giving in only leads to more demands. It is time for some tuff love for the corporate welfare junkies. Cut the government umbilical cord and let industry provide the training or do without at a price below the cost of supply. Cut the flow of foreign workers. Cut the tax breaks for off shoring expenses and slap some heavy punitive tariffs on the off shoring of IT projects. The alternative is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results; insanity.

      Your attitude is not a solution. It is part of the problem.

      • I’d like to add to your well thought response.

        Some people have said we are just ‘whiners’. However what’s really in play is power. Us American programmers are powerless against employers. We see what’s really going on, but there is no way to remedy the situation.

        We are powerless against big banks – look what happend to the housing market in 2008 – the asset value of your home just plunged $100,000. Collectively we lost $7 trillion dollars. Who is to blame – no one! The U6 unemployment is over 15%. Why? We don’t know. Carzine – (MF Global CEO) former govenor of NJ, ‘lost’ several billion in depositors accounts. After a year long investigation the Feds determined nobody was at fault – but said you’re welcome to sue him civilly. It’s difficult to fight invisible deamons. And the invisible deamons are all around us.

        I took the power, and went into the software business in 1985. As businesses (in general) became bigger and bigger, consoldiated, it was more and more difficult to compete. In 2005 it was not profitable to continue.

        To quote Charles Hugh Smith:

        “The notion that increased consumption leads to increased happiness is self-evidently false, yet consumption remains the focus of our economy and society. The appeal of consumption is understandable once we grasp that it is the only empowering act in a neofeudal society where we are essentially powerless.”

        And another quote:

        “The consequences of chronic stress are multiplied by our reliance (or perhaps more accurately, our addiction) to digital media and communication. Clinically, these manifestations have recently been termed Attention Deficit Trait (ADT), a broader, more inclusive term than the more familiar Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

        ADT manifests as distractibility, inner frenzy, impatience, and difficulty in setting priorities, time management, and making informed decisions. As these loop into positive feedback, previously competent people become harried underachievers who berate themselves for their inexplicable loss of competence.

        ADT, unlike post-traumatic stress disorders triggered by a single event, arises not from a single crisis but from a chain of events that in less stressful times would be considered “a bad week” but in chronic stress are experienced as an unending series of emergencies. The response – to try harder to keep up and successfully manage the crises – only increases the stress load and sense of failure as the ability to rationally analyze and pursue plans degrades with each perceived emergency. Making matters worse, the conventional American “solution” to being overwhelmed is to avoid expressing these difficulties lest this be interpreted as complaining or an equivalent personal failure.”


    • I will address your two main points separately:

      First your comments on “do the job”. Those graphs and reports you complain about are demanded by the incompetent management who believes that they can manage software development which has a relatively high quantity of unknowns like a bottling line which doesn’t.

      As far the implication that we don’t work hard enough, I went to my boss to tell him that I could handle more work. He got angry because it somehow belittled his management skills.

      As to the point about foreign workers which you imply, when companies are allowed to depress wages by flooding the job market, no one can buy the products and the economy slows to nothing. Sound familiar?

      Like it or not, the US economy is built on people buying stuff. Those underpaid h1b’s can’t afford houses and SUV’s. The US or European worker with no job or reduced income also can’t afford houses and replacing their cars, computers, etc. so no demand and no need for workers.

      Personally, I think we should off-shore all executive and upper manager jobs. We would save a bunch of money. They are easy to do remotely and we can’t get much worse performance than this bunch of greedy incompetents are providing.

      I support the idea of sharing the wealth, but it needs to be done by helping each country to build its own economy, not by using Chinese factories with no environmental rules and the near slavery of h1b’s to destroy the US middle class.

  10. Some of the ramblings on here are very annoying and trivial to say the least. to say one verses the other is exactly what is wanted. to be honest folks im black and i didnt even vote for the guy. didnt vote for either of them as a matter of fact. i dont trust polititions.PERIOD!!!! I am glad a black president was elected i am black and half indian so i would really like to see a first nation president. that would be hilarious……:)

  11. Rational

    From the comments posted before i did read this post – here are my suggestions to everyone. Feel free not to implement in your life as we are american and we dont like sour cream on Bacon but i thought to bring to table.

    DAVID –
    When I worked at HP in Palo Alto I used to see rooms full of H1B’s being trained. I remember thinking… “where are all the Americans?”. Sadly nothing has changed. – Lets define who is american? were your fore fathers born here? lets not hide behind who is american and who is not!! Noone was born here, we all migrated from around the globe.. ask your self no need to bitch on the portal.

    In a nut shell, what are you complaining? H1-B’s – join H1-B companies and work for less money like blood labor class. Can you???

    QATester and STINGER51 – Did you read grade 1 your whole life!! Dude grow up!! Someone said long time back “Survival of the fitest”.. Rings a bell!!!! why do you buy new clothes, utensils!! why new ball game everytime!! lets watch what we have already seen!! why invent new technology???

    GERRI – Why blaming Obama?? are you incapable of getting the same level of training bloody indians get?? were you licking candies when they were books?? well if yes, it is the time!

    HALUKO – this one is interesting – we all royally licked the companies before recession by asking over time and what not!! so, my dear friend when the companies have no money, who will pay you!! now, its their time; like it or not. it is a see saw, you lick and get licked..

    VINCENT – are you guys dumb?? oh hell!! WHAT REALLY!! cant you understand the arithematic?? In “IT” it is called “Survival of the fitest”.. So small piece of advice, when in recession dont be king, live a life of slave. Sun will rise and shine one day.. till that time zip it!!

    For all those who agree to 7 points WIZGOD and VINCENT – Ask yourself are you really talking about these? wear shoes of a company who is stuggling through the recession.. my dear friends if company has not enough to pay try and adjust in less. eat bread one week.. does it make you feel bad? i am surprised. In a nut shell, it is our attitude which makes us rich and poor. choice is yours.

    Read the note from EMPLOYER – Bloody stop puking here and start working/coding. I agree to his comments. Think again and again what he is saying. Even seen any “Swami” doing what we are doing. think again!! one more time think again!! still dont get it!! well i am sorry

      • Engineers aren’t English majors. Engineering managers are worse. We have to overlook people who learned English overseas, because they were never taught idiomatic English. But employers are willing to overlook bad English to save money.

  12. Jack Shyt

    To everyone here: I am so sick of working with and talking to people of this country who cannot speak or write properly but earn higher wages than I do. Especially all you Wolwo speaking wage spoilers. Go back to your own country. This is nothing but a subtle technological invasion. GET THE FUNK OUT OF HERE and let AMERICA rebuild itself!!!!!!!!! As far as the corporations go, it’s your time to start starving, you greedy bastards. You will all pay the price soon enough, but you still will not know or understand why………..pitiful.

  13. LookingAgain

    I was just laid off from an IT contract.
    Hard to roll into a full time position when your next level manager is over in Mumbai for
    two weeks (and he is not visiting the Taj Mahal).
    I have dealt with the H1-B Visa issue for the past two decades.
    The bottom line is there are US Citizens capable and willing.
    However, the bottom line for the corporations is the bottom line, regardless of quality (and I
    have corrected plenty of garbage code from offshore).
    Back to the Client, no names, but CEO J.D., if you are reading this, wise up
    and realize that offshore workers and temporary H1-B Visa workers do not buy homes and take on mortgages, car loans and credit cards, etc.
    Pass it on to your other CEO buddies who lament falling revenues.

    • Good post! If you want to help the economy recover, you won’t do it by hiring people who send money home overseas. Here’s a tip for those who can get clearances. Work for a Government contractor and get a clearance. If you can get “Top Secret”, you’ll never be out of work again.