Which Tech Skills Come with Big Pay Premiums and Salary Growth?

Which technology skills pay a hefty salary premium? For many technologists, that’s a key question to answer, because it can provide solid clues about what technologies and skillsets to adopt next. 

As part of its regularly updated IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, analyst firm Foote Partners examines the market value and cash pay premiums of non-certified tech skills. Not all skills rise in value and pay premiums, of course; whether they’ve become outdated or ubiquitous, some decline in worth, including (according to the firm) Microsoft Visual Studio and Oracle Workflow.

Among those skills that rose the most in value over the past six months, many belong in “hot” areas such as blockchain, security, and data management and analytics. Here are the top five from Foote Partners’ list; keep in mind that the market value increase is over the six-month period ending April 1, 2021:

Why did risk analytics/assessment perform so well? The firm has some ideas. “Risk analytics does not have to be a digital solution, and indeed, businesses have been analyzing and assessing risk for years using manual or semi-automated methods,” it wrote in the note accompanying the data. “But digital risk analytics is growing in popularity as a niche of BI development due to increased interest among risk-management professionals. As a discipline it has changed—and vastly improved—the way risk managers evaluate potential scenarios and predict risk-laden events.”

For those involved in either cybersecurity or DevOps, it’s worth paying attention to DevSecOps, which centers on baking security into the software development lifecycle. In theory, DevSecOps is an effective way for development and security teams to sidestep conflicts over mission and priorities; as concerns over data security continue to rise, so will interest in this development philosophy.

The presence of blockchain on this list is also interesting; in a recent survey by Stack Overflow, some 61.44 percent of developers described blockchain as a “game changer,” while 38.56 percent claimed that it was all hype. Although most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrency, companies are interested in the technology for everything from smart contracting to cybersecurity

Speaking of which, smart contracts made Foote Partners’ list, which stated: “They’re the product of the decentralized ledger systems that run the blockchain and so skills in smart contracts are be catapulted along with Ethereum and others for an almost unlimited number of uses ranging from financial derivatives to insurance premiums, breach contracts, property law, credit enforcement, financial services, legal processes and crowdfunding agreements.”

It stands to reason that cutting-edge technologies would command a hefty pay premium, especially if relatively few technologists have mastered them. As these technologies enter common usage, however, that rise in pay could flatten out. 

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