Check Out the Highest-Paying Tech Skills


The average technology salary in the U.S. leapt 7.7 percent in 2015, according to the latest Dice Salary Survey. But which technologies and skillsets drew the highest payouts? Short answer: anything to do with data-wrangling.

Dice’s data suggests that, if you specialize in storage, data analytics, or database management, you can expect to earn a hefty paycheck. Scan the following list and see how the various skillsets performed:


2015 Salary: $154,749

SAP’s in-memory database management system is designed to rapidly handle high transaction rates and complex query processing. For years, SAP positioned the technology as its competitive differentiator in the highly aggressive database market, adding features such as an embedded Web server and a version control repository. Some enterprises use the HANA platform in conjunction with server-side JavaScript and HTML to create applications.

SAP’s biggest rivals, including Oracle and IBM, have their own in-memory offerings; more startups are also pushing into database software, making the market extra-complicated for SAP as it attempts to stand out.


2015 Salary: $147,811

Cassandra has long hovered near the top of highest-paying analytics technologies, outpacing the likes of MapReduce and Cloudera in some surveys.

From a tech-pro perspective, Cassandra provides quite a bit of utility; the open-source database-management system can wrangle data across multiple servers and datacenters, all with low latency. The platform’s popularity has rapidly increased over the past few years, as more database administrators rely on it to rapidly scale their data needs.


2015 Salary: $142,835

Cloudera (the software company) offers software and services based on Apache Hadoop, including its own Hadoop distribution, CDH. For those who don’t know, Apache Hadoop is an open-source framework that allows tech pros to run data applications on large hardware clusters; as its popularity has increased over the past few years, several companies have stepped forward with unique Hadoop distributions to serve specialized tech audiences.


2015 Salary: $140,894

PAAS stands for Platform-as-a-Service. In contrast to SAAS (Software-as-a-Service) or IAAS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PAAS revolves around the cloud-based deployment of applications and/or services without the need to build out a datacenter or buy localized software. As more and more businesses migrate to the cloud, PAAS and other services become exponentially more important.

Up Next: OpenStack, CloudStack, Chef, Pig (click below)



2015 Salary: $138,579

OpenStack is often used in conjunction with IAAS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) deployments, as a way to better manage processing, storage, and networking resources. It’s an open-source technology.

If you’re interested in pursuing OpenStack as a career path (or just landing a job that utilizes the technology), check out Dice’s interview questions for OpenStack developers.


2015 Salary: $138,095

Database administrators and cloud architects use CloudStack to create and deploy infrastructure-cloud services. On the hypervisor front, it incorporates vSphere, XenServer/XCP, and KVM; there’s also (perhaps inevitably) support for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) API.


2015 Salary: $136,850

The buzz around Chef, a configuration-management tool written in Ruby and Erlang, has been rising for some time. System administrators and cloud architects use the platform to help define what newly provisioned servers should do. Chef’s popularity also stems in part from rising interest in automated processes, as it helps those admins configure systems or deploy software without human assistance.


2015 Salary: $132,850

Another platform utilized in conjunction with Hadoop, Pig gives tech pros the tools for creating MapReduce programs via a specialized language (Pig Latin). The platform has its origins in Yahoo’s research division, where it was created as a way of executing MapReduce jobs on huge datasets.

Up Next: MapReduce, Puppet (click below)



2015 Salary: $131,563

A programming model for processing large datasets in parallel, MapReduce is a vital tool for database administrators, data scientists, and other tech pros tasked with storing and processing huge mountains of data, so no wonder employers are willing to pay top dollar for those with the skill. As with other data-related skills on this list (such as Cloudera and Cassandra), MapReduce has regularly commanded high salaries in tech-pro surveys.


2015 Salary: $131,121

An open-source configuration management utility, Puppet is relatively old by technology standards, having recently celebrated its tenth birthday. That being said, the platform isn’t ready for the retirement home just yet: system administrators and tech pros still need it to configure both Windows and Unix systems, and it’s known for its cross-platform capabilities, including support for Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE, and Oracle Linux.

For those interested in learning the technology, the Puppet Professional Certification costs $200 (and requires a 90-minute exam with 60 multiple-choice questions). Certified Puppet experts understand Puppet IT automation software, and can develop basic modules, including data separation and external data sources. If you decide to specialize in the technology, here are interview questions you might face while looking for a job.

Download Dice’s 2022 Salary Survey Report Now!

3 Responses to “Check Out the Highest-Paying Tech Skills”

  1. carlos

    This is very interesting chart, but the technologies are really out there and the number of positions are small. How about another try showing all the one with the most opening and how much the pay.

  2. Gail Bradshaw

    As a career changer, I am interested in getting back to my roots. The computer hardware/software career. I was sidelined as a young adult and landed in another field that was a dead end. I am the family ad friend computer diagnostics tech without the pay. Computers have always been my true calling. How can I get back into the game and find a career with a company focused on technology. Im not young nor old. Im in good shape, love working with people and can more lift more than the younger gens. I have accumulated many skills during people along the way including computer installations and purchase for huge departments. Ive written federal grants with net gains of over 200,000 with less than a handful of proposals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for build a site such as Dice. Im already a member re-building and refreshing skills for round two of my life.

  3. David Redwine

    To Gail Bradshaw,

    Learn Redhat Linux Enterprise (RHEL) first. V6 is probably the sweet spot for a beginner. Learn to add disks, filesystems, interfaces, and setup ntp, dns, sftp, and smtp, and lpr (printing). This will take you 2-6 months depending on your drive and ability. Then spend at least 1-3 months getting good at shell scripting with Regex (Regular expressions), and the awk, and sed utilities. Learn to pass variables from one script to another and learn the difference between local and global variable directives. Next move to perl scripting. You could spend years on all the things perl can do, but you really only need to be able to do the same thing in perl you could do in scripts, with the added knowledge you will gain of how to “include” other perl modules (like LDAP, XML, text, JSON, and DBD). Download, install and configure mySQL and learn how to plan a simple database schema, then create your tables and learn how to do inner and outer joins to create table relationships. use the examples provided verbatim at first. Don’t try to get fancy and try to modify the example tutorials to fit your ideas of a useful database. Instead, complete the examples, make them work correctly then save them as backup templates to use when you create your own database(s). A database of your friends, the family members, anniversaries, birthdays, hobbies, etc, or a database of things you own (appliances, furniture, books, CD’s, gadgets, tools, etc) are good “create your own” beginner database ideas. After you make it through all the preceding learning objectives, you will be ready to start your exposure to OpenStack. Install your own OpenStack instance, create some linux machines and some yaml files and learn Nova, Glance, Swift, Horizon, Keystone, Neutron, Cinder, (in that order). And for your post graduate work (smile) use Ansible, Chef and or Puppet to automate the deployment of a unix application or two. Learn how to build, clone and backup your VM’s. At just about any point in your learning journey you should be able to confidently fulfill a position with almost any company after confidently completing each learning milestone. (linux admin, linux help desk tech, linux scripting and shell programmer, perl programmer, OpenStack operations tech, Openstack automation specialist. without years of experience you will need to be honest about your “strong” entry level mastery, but you SHOULD be able to “get back in the game” as you say. Oh, and download a copy of Microsoft Expression web and load up the tutorials and learn how to build a website with some jquery, and cascading style sheets, and at least one data entry form (like a contact form). but you probably already know the webmaster skills, from your “friends and family” free gigs (smile).