Tech Jobs That Will Win (and Lose) in 2015

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If you’d like to change jobs or switch from freelance to full-time status, prepare to pounce: 2015 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for the IT labor market, according to David Foote, CEO of research firm Foote Partners LLC.

“This year started out slow, just as we predicted,” Foote said. “But U.S. employers added an average of 17,633 IT jobs during September, October and November, and we see that momentum continuing into 2015.”

Foote’s optimistic forecast is based on his discussions with CIOs and his firm’s surveys of compensation and market demand for 734 individual certified, noncertified and hybrid IT skills. (Independently, a recent Dice survey also concluded that tech hiring will rise significantly in 2015.)

Of course, some tech skills will be hotter than others. In what has become an annual tradition, Foote went out on a limb by predicting the IT roles that are most likely to gain or lose ground in the new year, and briefly revisited his projections for 2014.

Gaining Ground

These positions could lead to solid salaries and job security in 2015:

Architects: Enterprise architects and data architects will be able to “name their price” in 2015, according to Foote, as companies try to scale software programs, databases and infrastructure.

“IT has been so focused on producing a solution that works today, they haven’t considered scalability,” Foote said. “User adoption rates and activity are soaring, which is fueling the demand for architects. In fact, The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is the highest-paid skill in our quarterly index.”

Click here to find architect jobs.

Big Data Experts: Last year, Foote predicated a big demand for database developers, analysts and technical specialists, but his forecast faltered when the pay for 31 noncertified Big Data skills unexpectedly declined 2.5 percent between August and September. So we asked Foote to explain why he continues to be bullish on Big Data roles.

“Companies took a breather from hiring during the fourth quarter because they were unable to make the leap into prescriptive and predictive analytics,” he explained. “They needed some time to reflect and regroup.”

He added: “However, the pay for certified skills, especially Cloudera, has held up, which is why I still like Big Data but as a longer-term play.”

Who stands to benefit in the short-term? Data scientists and professionals with top-notch data management and/or analytical skills will likely see their stock value rise in 2015. Foote predicts that the pay for noncertified skills will rebound as companies launch new data initiatives and resume searching for external talent.

Click here to find Big Data jobs.

Cybersecurity Specialists: If you’re a certified IT forensic investigator, an intrusion analyst or a certified ethical hacker, you’re in luck. After experiencing a record year for attacks in 2014, companies are taking big steps toward building more secure environments.

“2015 will be a good year for cybersecurity pros with niche skills,” Foote said. “Companies don’t have a handle on their vulnerabilities so they’ll be looking for specialized experts to conduct vulnerability and risk assessments.”

Click here to find security-related jobs.

Hybrid IT Pros: CIOs need forward-thinking business analysts and software engineers, who are well versed in business strategy, user experience and customer intelligence.“They don’t need coders,” Foote said. “CIOs are looking for are software engineers who can think beyond what they’re doing today and business analysts who can predict what customers will want next year and the year after that. The demand for outside-the-box thinkers with hybrid skills is not going away.” 

Click here to find engineering jobs.

Application Developers: Although 2015 is shaping up to be another good year for application developers, the biggest winners will have experience with Agile, JavaFX and user interface design.

Click here to find app-developer jobs.

Losing Ground

These jobs, on the other hand, might face some headwinds over the next year:

SAP Specialists: Pay for SAP professionals has fallen 7 percent over the past three years, based on Foote Partners’ survey of 92 certified and noncertified skills. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, the pay for professionals with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) expertise or knowledge of SAP’s retail modules has remained steady or grown.

“The pay for professionals with SAP peaked in 2011,” Foote said. “Knowing a hot module can bolster your job hunting fortunes and give you an edge in salary negotiations.”

Click here to find SAP-related jobs.

Web Developers: Of course, companies still need website upgrades, reboots and maintenance. But developers are losing ground because the market is flooded with talent. “Employers can hold out for a Web developer with industry experience, e-commerce or specialized domain experience,” Foote pointed out. “Unfortunately, the current market conditions give employers the upper hand in salary negotiations.”

Click here to find Web developer jobs.

Cloud Professionals: Foote predicted great things for cloud architects, engineers, administrators and integrators in 2014, largely because the pay for 27 noncertified cloud skills rose throughout 2013. However, demand leveled off in the spring, and the pay for noncertified skills actually declined 1 percent over the last three to six months. Why? Chalk it up to an improving balance between supply and demand.

Click here to find cloud-related jobs.

Employers no longer need to offer signing or retention bonuses to attract and retain cloud professionals, Foote explained: “It’s just part of the evolution… When the skill gaps close in a particular field, employers pay the going market rate, especially for noncertified skills.”

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12 Responses to “Tech Jobs That Will Win (and Lose) in 2015”

  1. thats great. i spent years preparing for a career in IT. been unemployed for the past year. just took a security guard glass and now im a licensed security guard. going to warn people not to go into IT for the rest of my life

    • Glad you found something for right now Matt. However, IT isn’t going anywhere and you could still use your skills in part time work until something piques your interest. There will always been something to do, just can’t get scared by the ebb and flow that comes with adjustment.

      • James Griffin

        Are kidding me Mark? Matt and myself needs the IT the exprience the Are you in NYC ?h1b visa holders are getting right now. If your an entry level or transistioning level American IT worker then your doomed.

        • It’s interesting to see the differences in spelling and grammar between the established IT pro and the wannabe IT pros.

          In order to get an entry level job you have to be noticed for the right things. If you give your potential employer an opportunity to notice you for the wrong things, he or she is going to take it.

          Another tip: Employers look at your social media accounts and online personas. If you can’t put together a proper sentence in your everyday life, an employer is not going to want to be part of your everyday life.

          There are millions of American IT workers in the US and we all started with an entry level job for which we had to compete. Read the last word in that sentence again. Compete. If you’re placing the blame on h1b visa holders instead of on yourself, you’re not competing.

          • My comment wasn’t directed specifically at you, although you do a great job at proving my previous point. Social media cuts both ways. As an IT employer I’m going to want to see a well written LinkedIn profile. I’m going to want to see that you belong to groups that are aligned with your skill set.

            As far as Facebook and Twitter go, you actually don’t want to hide from potential employers. If you know that they’re going to look at your accounts, why would you hide them? It’s an opportunity to show employers that you’re the type of person they want to hire. If you’re expecting important company at your house, do you turn them away at the door? Do you clean your house or do you leave it a mess?

            The employee that’s serious about getting the job uses social media as a tool to show off their talents during their job search. But what do I know? I’m a dummy.

  2. Can someone comment on the Microsoft
    Server migrations expected in 2015. Why
    are some of you claiming IT is a dead end.
    I would think additional training would allow
    many more doors to open. There are tons of
    jobs in IT for project managers. The pay is
    quite desireable.

  3. Juan Duarte

    Do not blame the economy, or the IT pros that are putting in the hours needed to expand their skills.It is an evolving landscape, we must continually improve our skills…Bunch of whiners.

  4. I’ve worked for one of the world’s top 5 IT Consulting companies for about 4 years and unfortunately never received quite a decent advice on how to make progress in the IT field… The objectives to meet deadlines and fixes have always been #1 priority.

    I simply have the impression that many IT “professionals” aren’t getting any higher status than coal miners in the early industrial age.
    I’m supporting an server-side app now. Outside the US actually, after the last job was offshored.