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Tech jobs report: Security, devops, and big data stay hot

Paul Krill | June 23, 2016
Foote's latest data suggests security and devops will remain in high demand for some time -- but cloud pay is starting to slip

If you're wondering what IT skill sets to acquire, security and devops are doing well in the job market. Pay for cloud skills, however, is eroding.

Research firm Foote Partners' latest quarterly IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index determined that the market value for 450 IT certifications it tracks had increased for 12 consecutive quarters. Market values rose for 404 noncertified IT skills for the fifth consecutive quarter.

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Foote's report is based on data provided by 2,845 North American private and public sector employers, with data compiled from January to April 1. (Noncertified skills include skills that are in demand but for which there is no official certification, Foote spokesman Ted Lane noted.)

Security skills command increasing salaries, with no end in sight

In the security space, Foote found that values for 76 certifications have been on a slow and steady path upward for two years, with an 8.7 percent average increase. The certifications' values have risen 6.3 percent in the past year. "Strong-performing certifications in the first three months of 2016 were those in IT security management and architecture, penetration testing, forensics, and cybersecurity," the report said.

Security needs will only grow as cybercrime and hacking continue to grow, Foote said. "Employers are becoming much more aware that they don't have the right people in their security," said David Foote, chief analyst at Foote Partners.

Devops demand gains serious traction

The report also finds devops gaining "serious traction," with companies looking to bridge the gap between developers and operations. The latest pay premium data for 2,745 employers shows a gain of 14.3 percent in average market value for devops skills in the past 12 months, with devops engineers in big demand. Foote's most recent data shows that devops engineers' salaries averaged $119,709, while lead devops engineers' salaries averaged $134,512.

Big data demand is for skills more than certifications

Meanwhile, the need for big data skills also continues to lead to pay increases -- about 8 percent over the last year. "Noncertified skills were the big winners, with 47 big-data-related skills rising 6.7 percent in market value during this period, while 32 big data certifications were ... down 3.5 percent in market value," the report said.

Cloud skills are worth less as supply catches up to demand

On the flip side, Foote found that although IT organizations continue to invest in cloud services, pay for these skills has started to lose ground. Eighty cloud-related skills (both certified and noncertified) lost nearly 1 percent in pay premium market value between January 1 and April 1, and market values for cloud certifications have lagged behind those for noncertified sills.


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