Quarterly IT Skills Demand: What’s Hot, What’s Not

    If you like to do a deep dive into pay for specific skills, Foote Partners’ quarterly reports provide plenty of fodder.

    The latest report on “pay premiums” for specialized skills finds market value for 308 non-certified skills up 0.1 percent between July and October, continuing the rise of the first two quarters this year. It reports employers aggressively reconfiguring their enterprise IT capabilities as they adopt cloud computing, Big Data, analytics and mobile platforms.

    Among the changes:

    • Messaging and communications skills, up 3.8 percent for the quarter and up 3.7 percent for the past six months.
    • Database skills, up 3.7 percent (quarter), up 13.2 percent (six months).
    • Web/e-commerce skills, up 3.4 percent (quarter), up 2.8 percent (six months).
    • Management/methodology/process skills, up 1.5 percent (quarter), up 3.7 percent (six months).
    • Operating system skills, up 1.2 percent, unchanged for the past six months.
    • Application development skills, down 3.1 percent (quarter), down 1.3 percent (six months).
    • Systems/networking skills, down 1.7 percent (quarter), down 2.1 percent (six months).
    • SAP and enterprise business applications skills, down 1.3 percent (quarter), down 0.9 percent (six months).

    Meanwhile, pay premiums for 268 IT certifications declined by 0.57 percent, continuing their long decline. In fact, premium pay for certifications — based on median average pay for a single skill — fell to its lowest level since Foote Partners began its quarterly surveys in 1999. But as my colleague Don Tennant has written, many employers still care about certifications, even if they don’t pay extra for them.

    The report attributes the quarterly rise in web/e-commerce skills to the approaching holiday season and the growth in online shopping. The decline in demand for application development and programming skills are attributed to less-popular technologies among those tracked. The decline in demand for SAP skills, generally a perennial bright spot, could mean that supply is catching up with demand, not that SAP products are any less popular.

    Though focusing on a single vendor’s products was once a successful career strategy, that’s not necessarily so now, it says:

    It’s still a competitive world and you’ve got to bring more to the table in experience and skills than a simple proficiency in these vendors’ products. … It’s not about possessing skills, but what you can do with them in building solutions attractive to the business that counts in most employers’ eyes.

    I’ve asked for more commentary on the big growth in database skills over the past six months and more on the reported decline for application development skills, which by most accounts remain in high demand. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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