Tech’s Winning (and Losing) Jobs in 2019

With highly skilled candidates in short supply, employers increasingly turned to internal training and development to meet their burgeoning needs for technical staff during 2018, according to David Foote, chief analyst of Foote Partners LLC.

The renewed focus on internal training, rather than external hiring, has actually helped stabilize compensation, with fewer companies offering big signing bonuses or higher base pay to entice candidates with hard-to-find skills.

“Quarterly volatility in pay for certified and noncertified skills is the lowest it’s been since we began reporting it in 2007,” Foote explained. Importantly, this trend is set to continue into 2019.

To make sure you stay one step ahead of the market, Foote reviewed his predictions from last year and referenced data from the firm’s “IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index” to forecast the roles and key skills that will increase in value (as well as those that might lose ground) in the coming year. 

Jobs Trending Upward

Most professionals in these specialties should expect rising demand in 2019:

Big Data

Foote correctly predicted big things for Big Data pros in 2018, and 2019 promises to be another blockbuster year. Big Data-related skills and certifications have grown in market value every quarter for the past two years, touching almost every tech role.

For instance, so-called “next-generation DBAs” with key certifications saw their value rise, while data analysts and modelers also experienced an increase in demand and value. How can you cash-in? The following are some of the most valuable skills and certifications in this category: 

DB Certifications

Market Value Increase Last Six Months: 10 percent or more
SAS Certified Big Data Professional Using SAS 9
Cloudera Certified Data Analyst
Oracle Certified Associate – DBA (OCA)
SAS Certified Statistical Business Analyst – SAS 9
Oracle Certified Professional – DBA (OCP)
Mongo DB Certified DBA 

Metadata Design and Development

Pay Premium: 16 percent
Market Value Increase Last Six Months: 6.7 percent

Hbase

Pay Premium: 16 percent
Market Value Increase Last Six Months: 6.7 percent

Data Science Quantitative Analysis/Regression Analysis

Pay Premium: 15 percent
Market Value Increase Last Six Months: 15.4 percent

(Tie)
Apache Spark
Cloudera Impala
MapReduce
Scala
Splunk
Sqoop
Pay Premium: 15 percent
Market Value Increase Last Six Months: 7.1 percent

Artificial Intelligence

Professionals with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (A.I.) skills garnered pay premiums of 15 percent, along with a 7.1 percent increase in market value over the last six months; however, change is on the horizon.

“A.I. will go mainstream in 2019 and make big leaps in the next two to three years as companies look to gain real business impact from A.I. tools,” Foote said. “As that occurs, A.I. will become a foundational skill required of everyone who works in tech in a corporate workforce.”

As further proof, Foote boldly predicted that 2019 could be the year of open-source A.I., and that the death of the “pure” data scientist will mark the pinnacle of the A.I. revolution.

If his forecast holds true, the sooner software engineers and data engineers start learning A.I. skills, the better. Here’s a partial list of the top skills for now:

Programming Languages: Java, C++, Python, SQL, Perl, R, Linux

Big Data Platforms/Tools and Data Modeling: Hadoop, Spark, MapReduce, Hadoop, Scala, Pig, Hive, Pandas, MongoDB, data mining, SAS, AWS Redshift, ETL

Robotics-Related Skills: Advanced mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, computer science, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), physics, fluid dynamics and materials science.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology will begin to enter a new era next year, driven by adoption in mainstream companies, financial organizations, healthcare organizations and even not-for-profits. If you want to become a blockchain expert, examine its uses for everything except cryptocurrency—things like smart contracts and supply chain management are the way of blockchain’s future.

Cybersecurity

Foote correctly predicted that 2018 would be a strong year for cybersecurity specialists. He foresees strong demand again in 2019, noting that 12 of the 25 top-paying certs tracked by Foote Partners are related to information/cybersecurity. Almost every job in tech now requires security awareness and basic know-how.

If you’re looking for a highly sought-after skill to set yourself apart, Foote recommends cryptography, which commanded premium pay of 16 percent and an increase in market value of 14.3 percent over the past six months.

Jobs Trending Downward

Tech pros in these roles could face headwinds or even experience a decline in market value in 2019:

Systems Administrators

The DevOps movement has pushed aside traditional systems administrators.

Production Programmers

The current and future demand is for full-stack developers who also possess a variety of soft skills.

Traditional DBAs

Traditional DBAs are being replaced by DB specialists and new-breed DBAs.

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