10 Top Disruptive Tech Skills with a Huge Pay Premium

There are technology skills necessary to company operations, such as coding and data analytics. There’s also a category of “disruptive” skills that will evolve those companies, allowing them to take on the challenges of the coming decade. Employers in all industries are obviously looking for technologists who can disrupt and change their organizations for the better—but which “disruptive” skills are they actually looking for?

That’s a question that Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from around the country, sought to answer in a new report (PDF). The text has a lot of good news for any technologist who wants to become a (positive) disruptor: Over the past year, some 1.7 million jobs have asked for some combination of disruptive tech skills, a number that’s expected to grow between 17 percent and 135 percent in coming years (depending on the skill, of course).

Best of all from an employee perspective, having disruptive skills can translate into a noticeable bump in pay. “The average salary premiums for the disruptive skills areas range between $4,200 to $25,000,” read the report. “The two skill areas with the greatest average salary premiums—IT Automation and AI and Machine Learning—are both focused on automating existing tasks to become more efficient. This means many employers face a Catch-22: They need disruptive skills to remain future-ready and gain efficiencies, but they may not be able to afford hiring individuals from a limited pool of existing workers with these skills.”

So what are these disruptive skills? Let’s check out the list below. “Demand growth” denotes the projected growth in jobs asking for a particular skill over the next five years, while “Average Salary Premium” means how much more employers are willing to pay (on average) for technologists who possess these particular skills:

Some of the largest salary premiums are related to IT automation and A.I./machine learning. That’s great news for technologists who successfully master these skills. For example, a software developer who learns tools and platforms such as TensorFlow, Apache Kafka, AWS, and the principles of data modeling can likely find any number of employers hungry for a machine-learning specialist.

However, that sort of pay premium presents issues for employers, which must find the money to actually hire these specialists. Fortunately, that offers another opportunity for technologists, because you can convince your manager that paying for your education in these skill areas will ultimately benefit the organization in the long run (and it’s cheaper than hiring another full-time employee). Whether that education takes the form of certifications, online classes, or something else entirely, you’ll hopefully learn some career-boosting skills while your company foots the bill.