Top 10: The hot tech skills

Technology is rapidly evolving, and IT professionals need to constantly update their skills to remain relevant. Azure, JIRA or Salesforce — what are the hot tech skills? 

A recent report from tracked the job postings on the site from April 1 2015 to April 1 2016. The report highlights IT skills that are in demand year-over-year. To help you focus your attention in the right places, here are ten hot tech skills that IT professionals should master, according to These skills appeared in at least 1,000 job postings – this constraint was required for the data points to be considered statistically relevant.

1. Apache Hadoop
As more and more businesses embrace a data-centric approach to decision making and operations, they are continually seeking ways and tools to analyze and interpret the massive amounts of stored information. Apache’s open source Hadoop framework continues to gain traction. Hadoop is positioned to gather further traction in 2016, as test clusters are moved into production and software vendors increasingly target the distributed storage and processing architecture. While Big Data platforms are powerful, managing Hadoop clusters can be tricky and requires proficient technicians. Those professionals who have experience with the core technologies of the Hadoop stack, such as HDFS, MapReduce, Flume, Oozie, Hive, Pig, HBase, and YARN will continue to see growing opportunities.

2. Apache Spark
Following its success with open-source framework, Hadoop, Apache developed this open-source cluster-computing framework / processing engine to help companies process large and complex data sets (Big Data). With more companies building out their technology infrastructure, Apache Spark professionals with strong programming skills are in great demand. With job postings up by 120 percent from the previous year, demand for this Apache Spark is in high demand among government contractors, and financial-services firms to name a few.

3. NoSQL
On the operational side of Big Data, distributed, scale-out NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, Cassandra and Couchbase are taking over jobs previously handled by monolithic SQL databases, such as Oracle and IBM DB2. For web and mobile applications, NoSQL databases are often used as sources of data to be crunched in Hadoop or as destinations for insights gleaned from Hadoop. Professionals with NoSQL skills will continue to see increasing demand from the marketplace.

4. Azure
Microsoft’s flagship cloud computing platform, Azure, is designed to improve productivity for technology professionals. Most enterprises use Microsoft’s software, and Microsoft has made it really easy for these customers to use its cloud for everything from securing their mobile devices to hosting their apps. These enterprises consider Azure skills crucial. Professionals with experience in Microsoft Azure or Big Data solutions are currently the most well compensated. Other hot areas in the Microsoft world include App-V – Microsoft’s application virtualization technology, and private cloud, communications server, architecture and security.

5. Statistical and Quantitavive Analysis
Analysis and Insights are what Big Data is all about. If you have a background in quantitative reasoning and a degree in a field like mathematics or statistics, you are almost halfway there. Add in expertise with a statistical tool, such as R, SAS, Matlab, SPSS, or Stata, you have this category locked down. In the past, most quants went to work for banks and financial institutions, but thanks to the Big Data boom, companies in all sorts of industries across the country are in need of professionals with quantitative backgrounds.

6. Data Visualization
Big data can be tough to comprehend, but in some circumstances there’s no replacement for actually getting your eyeballs onto data. You can do multivariate or logistic regression analysis on your, but exploring just a sample of your data with a tool like Tableau or Qlikview can tell you the shape of your data, and reveal hidden details that change how you proceed further. If you want to be a data scientist, being well-versed in one or more visualization tools is practically a requirement.

7. General Purpose Programming Languages
Having experience programming applications in general-purpose languages like Java, C, Python, or Scala could give you the edge over other candidates whose skill sets are confined to analytics. Those who are comfortable at the intersection of traditional application development and emerging analytics will be able to move freely between end-user companies and Big Data startups.

8. Salesforce
Salesforce is far from new in the technology world, but it continues to be a dominant player, offering innovative customer service services for sales teams looking to drive leads and foster stronger client relationships. This customer-service platform serves as the bedrock for many companies’ customer service departments. Interest in Salesforce professionals is widespread, with universities, management consulting firms and insurance companies all looking for professionals with this skillset. Demand for Salesforce professionals seems unlikely to decline anytime soon.

JIRA is a bug, issue-tracking, and project management system developed by Atlassian and commonly used in software development. JIRA has garnered popularity in the tech world, with more and more hiring managers citing JIRA as a mandatory prerequisite rather than just a nice-to-have skill for a position in software development. JIRA is free for open-source projects and nonprofits. It has enjoyed an increasing rate of adoption over the past few years. With software teams always on the lookout for professionals with project-management experience, counting JIRA among your core skills is a great way to stand out.

10. Information security
As an increasing number of data breaches make headlines and consumer anxiety concerning personal information abounds, the demand for cybersecurity skills continues to grow as companies look for tech professionals who can attend to information security gaps. Complex networks, growing use of mobile devices and virtualized environments are all pushing demand for cybersecurity professionals to adequately protect data, which extends outside the perimeter of their systems. The need for cybersecurity specialists spans all industries, from financial services, retail to government and academia. Major demand for cybersecurity-related positions is led by defense contractors, technology firms and universities that are recruiting hands-on faculty for their information assurance programs from within the security community.

In addition to the increase in the number of jobs available within the IT sector, pay rates also increased by 15 percent in 2015 compared to 2013, and are expected to continue rising. Perhaps, this will be enough to encourage those highly skilled professionals to apply for available permanent employment.

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