Everybody knows that the right tech certifications can boost pay. What everybody tends to forget is that non-certified skills can earn you just as much—provided they’re the right skills.
David Foote, chief analyst and chief research officer at Foote Partners, a Vero Beach, Fla.-based firm that tracks certifications, told Dice about the growing value of JavaFX, a software platform that, when combined with Java, enables the creation and deployment of modern-looking applications with rich content, audio, and video.
JavaFX led Foote Partners’ June 2014 list of the most lucrative non-certified IT skills in the U.S. and Canada. In the first half of the year, those skills had all provided IT professionals with a significant bonus on top of their base salary.
JavaFX placed fourth on Foote Partners’ updated list, released in October, with a bonus equivalent of 9 to 13 percent of employees’ base pay. Its continued presence is a bit surprising, Foote admitted: “It’s a niche skill.” He surmised that a stagnant supply of JavaFX experts is probably the biggest reason for the appearance on the list.
JavaFX in Demand
Sean Phillips, principal software engineer at Lanham, Md.-based a.i. solutions, which specializes in everything from cybersecurity to systems engineering for launch vehicles, suggested in an interview that JavaFX is more than niche: “It’s a skill all engineers need to have.” JavaFX is a crucial element in 50 percent of his workload: “It started to ramp up about two or three years ago. It exploded in usability around the end of 2012.”
Many non-certified skills, as well as the certified ones, require IT professionals to figure out what’s working well at the moment and what will gain in popularity over the next few years. “JavaFX started as a side project for me, but you have to know what the tech is good for and have the foresight to say it’s useful,” Phillips said. He began using JavaFX on his own, he says, solving problems that weren’t mission critical: “Everyone wins and the next time you use it, it gets easier and easier.”
The true strength isn’t in the knowledge, but in how creative you can be with it. “If you’re working in a Java-based ecosystem, it’ll be more and more relevant,” Phillips said.
Tops on the List
SAP Global Trade Services software skills ranked number one on Foote Partners’ list, with the biggest boost in bonus as of October 2014. People with SAP GTS skills took home 10 percent to 14 percent of salary in the form of a bonus. (SAP GTS had placed fourth on the list in the prior survey.) SAP GTS automates global trade processes and resolves many of the international trade issues of importing and exporting, including regulatory compliance, electronic communication with customs authorities, and risk mitigation.
With many companies handling global export and import, it’s no surprise that IT professionals with SAP GTS skills are in hot demand. Foote said: “Right now the dollar is strong against other currencies and it’s starting to impact trade, so it will be interesting to see if SAP GTS will continue its growth.”
E-Procurement skills came in second on Foote’s newest list, while SAP Apparel and Footwear Solutions placed third in October (both making their first appearance on the list of non-certified skills with a bonus boost). But only time will tell if something like SAP AFS skills will be in hot demand for the long term, Foote added.
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