July 01, 2015

Tech Skills Worth Over $100,000

It’s well known that technology skills have commanded a higher salary over the past few years in the labor market. Today, nearly one in every 20 open job postings in the U.S. job market relates to software development or engineering. The shortage of software developers is well documented and increasingly discussed. It has also launched an important dialogue about economic opportunity and encouraged more young people, women, and other under-represented groups to pursue careers in the field. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), computer science and engineering are among the three most in-demand college majors.

Technology is changing so quickly that skills that were only just mastered may already be outdated. According to Research in Labor Economics, information in this rapidly evolving industry decays at a rate of 30 percent per year, which renders nearly a third of last year’s tech-related knowledge irrelevant.

Industry experts say that staying up-to-date with emergent technologies and trends help to offset the fast pace of skill disruption and keep workers ahead of the curve.  In 2015, there are six general tech skills that experts consider important for workers to know.

  1. Coding: Coding is the number-one skill in demand in today’s workforce. Many schools in the K-12 education system are already teaching students how to code, believing it to be as important as other basic forms of literacy such as reading and math.
  2. Big Data: According to Forbes, big data will continue to grow over the next couple of years. As larger volumes of data are created, it’s important for companies in almost every industry to attract workers who know how to collect and analyze that data.
  3. Cloud Computing: TechRadar reported that 2015 is the year that the cloud becomes the “new normal.” Companies are continuously building, utilizing, and deploying information and applications that reside in the cloud, and seek workers who can help them in these projects.
  4. Mobile: An increasing number of companies are fine-tuning their mobile strategy, and looking to build centrally coordinated apps that are usable on multiple devices. Workers who have skills and experience with mobile technology are high in demand.
  5. UX Design: User experience, while always important, has become more critical recently in relation to the diverse ways that users can access websites, including mobile and apps.
  6. Data Visualization: Since data keeps multiplying, it becomes critical for companies to find creative ways to communicate online in a way that is heard and not lost. Many companies are searching for designers and developers who have the skills to visually enhance data.

While these general trends are reshaping the demand for technology workers, there are certain specific tech skills that are commanding a higher salary. Recently Dice.com published its 2015 Salary Survey, which named the highest paying tech skills right now. Many of these skills pay more than $100,000 in an annual salary.

Fiber Channel

Fiber Channel is a technology that connects computer storage devices. According to Dice, pay for jobs related to fiber channel has climbed nearly 6 percent in the past year, with an average salary of $104,438.

Scrum is a method for managing complex projects, originally created for software development projects. However, Scrum Alliance says that recently companies are using the method to manage any large project. Over the last year, pay for Scrum-related jobs has climbed 2 percent for an average pay of $105,189.


Kanban is a method for managing software development projects through a visual tracking system. While it often looks like a bunch of sticky notes on a board, it’s really a philosophy of how to assign tasks so that programmers work efficiently and are not overloaded. Pay for Kanban-associated jobs was up by 2.7 percent in the last year to an average pay of $106,122.


Ruby is a modern and popular web programming language. It’s known for its simplicity, so that it’s easy to learn but still powerful. Pay for jobs requiring Ruby skills have climbed 13 percent in the past year, and average $105,714.


Groovy is a programming language that builds on the strengths of Java but also has additional features inspired by popular languages such as Python and Ruby. Pay for Groovy-related jobs has climbed almost 13 percent in the past year, so Groovy skills are now worth $107,160 on average.


Django is a free and open source project that makes it easier for web developers to create complex web sites and apps. Pay for jobs related to Django skills have increased by 22 percent in the last year to an average pay of $106,005.


The Waterfall model is a project management method for designing software. It looks at the design process as if it were flowing steadily through several steps, similar to a waterfall. This is a classic method for designing software, but is still heavily used today at many companies. Over the last year, pay for Waterfall related jobs has increased by almost 5 percent to an average annual pay of $107,937.


Perl is a popular programming language used to create web applications.  Pay for Perl-related jobs has increased by 7 percent in the past year, to an average salary of $107,807.


WebSphere is software made by IBM that hosts websites and applications. Many companies have been transitioning to cloud computing services for hosting websites and apps, but there are a lot of companies that prefer to manage on their own web servers. Pay for jobs related to WebSphere has climbed nearly 11 percent in the last year to an average pay of $108,066.


VxWorks is an embedded operating system (OS) that powers different kinds of devices. The popularity of the “Internet of Things” has caused this OS to become more in demand. Pay for VxWorks related positions has climbed by over 16 percent in the past year to an average salary of $108,548.

Objective C

Objective C is the preferred programming language for writing apps for Apple devices. While Apple recently introduced a new language, Swift, there are numerous apps written in Objective C that need to be maintained. Pay for jobs that require Objective C skills has increased by over 6 percent in the last year with the average pay at $109,252.


JSP stands for JavaServer Pages and is used by Java programmers. JSP is used to create web sites and web applications. Pay for JSP-related jobs has increased by more than 14 percent in the last year, with the average salary at $113,207 currently.


ETL is the process of taking data from original sources and putting it in the right format to be used with various types of databases. This is considered a hot big data skill, and pay has grown by nearly 9 percent over the last year to an average annual salary of $112,834.