2019 update: Fastest growing tech skills that are already earning high pay premiums

Cash pay premiums for these non-certified skills are well above average and still growing in market value.

There are plenty of hot skills for technology professionals to add to their toolbelts to help ensure upward career mobility. Some are already earning their holders high cash premiums as measured (since 2000) in our firm’s IT Skills and Certifications Pay IndexTM (ITSCPI) but that alone is not always the best indicator for choosing a strategic skill to help get your next job.

What you want, ideally, is to invest your training dollars in a high-paying skill that is still growing in value. We looked at all 554 non-certified skills tracked in the ITSCPI and found thirteen that are currently meeting those criteria.

And it’s not a small number of tech workers who receive extra pay for their skills: at last count our firm was able to validate, and report cash pay premiums for 1,033 skills and certifications being earned by 77,915 U.S. and Canadian tech professionals in as many as 3,318 private and public sector employers.   

And the winners are…

The following non-certified tech skills meet two prerequisites: they recorded solid gains in cash market value in the six months ending April 1, 2019 in our “IT Skills and Certifications Pay IndexTM” and they are also earning workers a pay premium significantly higher than the average across all non-certified skills reported.

No skill listed below is earning less than the equivalent of 16 percent of base salary (the average for all skills reported is 9.4 percent). They are listed in descending ranked order of cash premium including ties.

1. Big Data Analytics
Apache Pig

Pay premium: 17 percent of base salary equivalent (average)

Market value increase: 21.4 percent (from October 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019)    

Big Data Analytics related skills and certifications have grown in market value every

There are plenty of hot skills for technology professionals to add to their toolbelts to help ensure upward career mobility. Some are already earning their holders high cash premiums as measured (since 2000) in our firm’s IT Skills and Certifications Pay IndexTM (ITSCPI) but that alone is not always the best indicator for choosing a strategic skill to help get your next job.

What you want, ideally, is to invest your training dollars in a high-paying skill that is still growing in value. We looked at all 554 non-certified skills tracked in the ITSCPI and found thirteen that are currently meeting those criteria.

And it’s not a small number of tech workers who receive extra pay for their skills: at last count our firm was able to validate, and report cash pay premiums for 1,033 skills and certifications being earned by 77,915 U.S. and Canadian tech professionals in as many as 3,318 private and public sector employers.   

And the winners are…

The following non-certified tech skills meet two prerequisites: they recorded solid gains in cash market value in the six months ending April 1, 2019 in our “IT Skills and Certifications Pay IndexTM” and they are also earning workers a pay premium significantly higher than the average across all non-certified skills reported.

No skill listed below is earning less than the equivalent of 16 percent of base salary (the average for all skills reported is 9.4 percent). They are listed in descending ranked order of cash premium including ties.

1. Big Data Analytics
Apache Pig

Pay premium: 17 percent of base salary equivalent (average)

Market value increase: 21.4 percent (from October 1, 2018 to April 1, 2019)    

Big Data Analytics related skills and certifications have grown in market value every quarter in the past two years. Cash premiums for 103 Big Data related non-certified skills have as a group increased 3.5 percent in market value in the past six months, averaging the equivalent of 12.2 per cent of base salary. For all the interest in the use of advanced data analytics to enable companies to understand, package, and visualize data for enhanced decision making, the truth is that the marketplace for so-called Big Data skills has been surprisingly volatile: 38 (or 37 percent) of Big Data skills tracked in our benchmark research changed market value in the first quarter of 2019.

Apache Pig is a high-level platform for analyzing large data sets that consists of a high-level language—Pig Latin--for expressing data analysis programs, coupled with infrastructure for evaluating these programs. The salient property of Pig programs is that their structure is amenable to substantial parallelization, which in turns enables them to handle very large data sets. Pig can execute its Hadoop jobs in MapReduce, Apache Tez, or Apache Spark. Pig Latin abstracts the programming from the Java MapReduce idiom into a notation which makes MapReduce programming high level, similar to that of SQL for relational database management systems. Pig Latin can be extended using user-defined functions which the user can write in Java, Python, JavaScript, Ruby or Groovy and then call directly from the language

2. MapReduce
Scala

Pay premium: 17 percent 

Market value increase: 13.3 percent (last three months ending April 1, 2019) 

These skills recorded identical growth and pay premiums so far this year.

MapReduce is a programming model for processing and generating large data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm on a cluster. A MapReduce program is composed of a map procedure (or method), which performs filtering and sorting and a reduce method, which performs a summary operation. The "MapReduce System" (also called "infrastructure" or "framework") orchestrates the processing by marshalling the distributed servers, running the various tasks in parallel, managing all communications and data transfers between the various parts of the system, and providing for redundancy and fault tolerance.

The Scala programming language—short for ‘scalable’—makes up for a lot of deficiencies in Java, integrating with Java while optimizing code to work with concurrency. It appeals most to enterprises that have already invested in Java and don't want to have to support anything new in their production environments.

3. Metadata design and development

Pay premium: 17 percent 

Market value increase: 6.3 percent  

Metadata design and development. Data can be replicated and delivered anywhere in the world instantaneously--it is the fundamental resource in the new economy. The business rocket ship known as digital innovation depends on data, metadata, and A.I. working in concert to create systems that gets smarter over time. But while data is used to drive decision-making and insights, it’s the metadata that stores what is learned—what works, when to use it, what is still uncertain—and this the key to “smarter”. Digital transformation is driving a new wave of interest in metadata design and development skills in 2019.

4. Security architecture and models

Pay premium: 17 percent

Market value increase: 6.3 percent  

Two fundamental concepts in computer and information security are the security model, which outlines how security is to be implemented—in other words, providing a “blueprint”—and the architecture of a computer system, which fulfills this blueprint.

Security architecture is a view of the overall system architecture from a security point and how the system is put together to satisfy the security requirements. It describes the components of the logical hardware, operating system, and software security components, and how to implement those components to architect, build and evaluate the security of computer systems.

5. Amazon RedShift

Pay premium: 16 percent 

Market value increase: 14.3 percent  

Amazon Redshift is the Internet hosting service and data warehouse product which forms part of the larger cloud-computing platform Amazon Web Services. It is built on top of technology from the massive parallel processing data warehouse company ParAccel, to handle large scale data sets and database migrations. It is a fast, scalable data warehouse that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze data across data warehouses and data lakes, delivering aster performance by using machine learning, massively parallel query execution, and columnar storage on high-performance disk. Driving demand for this skill is the push for organizations to consider new approaches for their data warehousing environments in the face of exploding data volumes and business imperatives to leverage data to generate additional value in the form of more productive and efficient business operations

6. Master data management

Pay premium: 16 percent 

Market value increase: 14.3 percent  

Master data management (MDM) arose out of the necessity for businesses to improve the consistency and quality of their key data assets, such as product data, asset data, customer data, location data, etc. Many businesses today, especially global enterprises have hundreds of separate applications and systems (i.e. ERP, CRM) where data that crosses organizational departments or divisions can easily become fragmented, duplicated and most commonly out of date. When this occurs, answering even the most basic, but critical questions about any type of performance metric or KPI for a business accurately becomes hard. The basic need for accurate, timely information is acute and as sources of data increase, managing it consistently and keeping data definitions up to date so all parts of a business use the same information is a never-ending challenge. That’s what has and will continue to drive a premium on MDM skills.

7. Smart Contract
Blockchain
Cloudera Impala
Apache Hive

Pay premium: 16 percent 

Market value increase: 6.7 percent  

These skills recorded identical growth and pay premiums so far this year.

Smart contracts help you exchange money, property, shares, or anything of value in a transparent, conflict-free way while avoiding the services of a middleman. 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.

Research analyst firm IDC forecasts that by 2021 at least 25 percent of the Global 2000 will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale. Large vendors IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Amazon Web Services, Baidu, and SAP have made sizable investments and have begun rolling out blockchain-as-a-service solutions in their partner accounts.

Aside from North America, we see big blockchain technology investments in the Middle East, Asia, and in Europe where blockchain centers in Berlin, Zurich, Singapore, London, and South Korea are creating buzz. There are hundreds of DLT (distributed ledger technology) start-ups around the world, employing thousands. At a high level, blockchain technology is a way of securely managing access and information.

What makes DLT so interesting to businesses and some governments is how it is positioned to make vast improvements in an almost endless array of transactional activities. Skills shortages will continue for blockchain developers but especially for the architects, project managers, and quality engineers who can design, build, and test Blockchain operating models. Understanding how Blockchain integrates with IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, and other technologies is a plus now for architects but will be a requirement in the future as these other technologies mature and adoption rates increase. 

Cloudera Impala is an open source Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) query engine that provides high-performance, low-latency SQL queries on data stored in popular Apache Hadoop file formats. The fast response for queries enables interactive exploration and fine-tuning of analytic queries rather than long batch jobs traditionally associated with SQL-on-Hadoop technologies, meaning that data can be stored, shared, and accessed using various solutions that avoids data silos and minimizes expensive data movement. Impala returns results typically within seconds or a few minutes, rather than the many minutes or hours that are often required for Hive queries to complete.

We cannot understate the value of this to advanced data analytics platforms and the work of data scientists and analysts engaged in Big Data initiatives and the impact this has on skills acquisition demand going forward

Apache Hive is a data warehouse system built on top of Apache Hadoop that facilitates easy data summarization, ad-hoc queries, and the analysis of large datasets stored in various databases and file systems that integrate with Hadoop, including the MapR Data Platform with MapR XD and MapR Database. Hive offers a simple way to apply structure to large amounts of unstructured data and then perform batch SQL-like queries on that data. Hive easily integrates with traditional data center technologies using the familiar JDBC/ODBC interface.

8. Risk analytics/assessment

[Note: These skills recorded identical growth and pay premiums so far this year.]

Pay premium: 16 percent 

Market value increase: 6.7 percent (last three months ending April 1, 2019)   

Evaluating risk is an obsession for most businesses; for others it is something to ignore at great peril to their future success. The field of risk analytics has entered its prime: recent projections put the global fraud detection and prevention market at $41.59 billion by 2022, up from $16.62 billion in 2017. The spike in interest for non-certified skills to prevent misappropriation of assets, bribery and corruption, fraud, data theft or money laundering in financial services, government or public utilities is in full force in our latest findings. Most employers are rewarding people who can incorporate data and insights from many sources to better identify, measure, and mitigate risk. McKinsey & Company recently published an excellent paper describing what this is all about.