16 IT Skills in High Demand in 2013

What IT skills are the hottest with employers and what forces are driving those career trends? We examined Foote Partners recently released quarterly IT Skills and Certifications Pay index and we spoke with industry experts to find out.

IT skills

That resolution to update your tech toolbox may seem like a distant memory, but now more than ever you need to work to increase your professional value.

One way to increase your brand to employers is to learn new skills, but choosing the ones that offer the most bang for the buck is challenging. To help you better understand the market, CIO.com spoke with David Foote, CEO at Foote Partners and other industry professionals to identify what IT skills are experiencing the most growth and what those skills are worth.

This data is based on statistical analysis that looks at the demand for more than 289 skills both certified and noncertified and what is being paid for those skills over and above base salary.

Requirements Engineering and Analysis Skills
1. Requirements Engineering and Analysis Skills

These are the skills required to determine the needs of IT to create and maintain software, products and services while taking into account many factors and stakeholder requirements. This is crucial to software development and many other evolutions that go on within IT.

In the last 12 months, this skill has seen an increase in growth/demand of 28 percent. While engineering and analysis skill has been in demand for years, according to Foote, the cloud is driving much of this growth.

"Everyone who invests in systems has to do requirements analysis and what's happened is the cloud," says Foote. He adds that there is a chance that analytics, security or mobile could also be a part of this upward trend.

Salary Range: $65,000-$104,000

SAP Supply Chain Management Skills
2. SAP Supply Chain Management Skills

This skill surrounds a software module from the German company SAP. So many companies are using it that it needed to be included in this list, according to Foote. This software focuses on logistics to allow companies to be more agile and work more effectively with their partners. "Yes it's vendor [specific]," says Foote, "but it's the largest vendor of business software in the world. We track 90 different SAP modules in our skills pay."

Employers are paying a skills premium of 10-14 percent of base pay for this role, which has grown 20 percent in the last six months.

Average Salary: $88,000

HBase Skills
3. HBase Skills

HBase is an open-source non-relational database originally created by Google. It's written in Java and has been a top level project within Apache's Software Foundation. It's being used more as companies start to incorporate big data into their decision-making processes. HBase is used for real-time read/write access to large datasets.

"This is the push for all different types of technology companies to harness the power of big data and what it can do for them and their customers beyond the reporting and analysis," says Ed Nathanson, senior director of global talent acquisition with Rapid7.

Skills in HBase are paying a skills premium on average of 13 percent and value/demand for this role has grown 18.2 percent in the last 6 months.

Average Salary: $111,000

Quantitative Analysis and Regression Analysis Skills
4. Quantitative Analysis and Regression Analysis Skills

People who use this skill in their daily workflow take company objectives and develop analytic models, assessments and solutions. They work across all areas of the business, from Web developers to accounting, to database teams. These individuals normally have an advanced degree. The adoption of big data and the evolution of the data scientist are driving demand for this skill upward.

"Companies have been hiring PhDs to do quantitative analysis and regression analysis for years, but now it's become the province of data scientists, where a lot of the work being done in analytics starts with quantitative analysis skills," says Foote.

Regression analysis has seen more than 18 percent growth in market value.

Salary Range: $74,000-$117,000

 IT Governance Skills
5. IT Governance Skills

IT governance skills help companies and organizations ensure that IT is both effectively and efficiently enabling their business objectives while remaining compliant with industry regulations. Companies large and small will have different compliance and governance needs, but in general the bigger and more regulated your company or industry is the more IT governance structuring there should be.

"There is a trend across all industry, verticals and businesses to be compliant whether they are large enterprise or small business," says Nathanson.

Value/demand for this skill is up 15.5 percent over the last 12 months, according to Foote Partners research and it's paying an average skills premium of 15 percent of base pay.

Salary Range: $97,000-$122,000

C# Skills
6. C# Skills

C, C# C++ and Java are some of the foundation languages driving technology these days, but what is interesting, according to Foote, is how demand for this skill has risen.

"C# has been around for a long time. It's remarkable to see this type of growth. There are a lot of people who have C# skills so it's not supply," says Foote. Microsoft Windows and .NET are driving demand in this skill. "If a company has built its foundation with Microsoft technologies then, of course, these skills will be in demand," says Nathanson.

C# skills earn a skills premium of roughly 6-10 percent of base salary, but value/demand has risen 14.3 percent in the last six months, according to Foote Partners research.

Salary Range: $61,000-$251,000

ITIL Skills
7. ITIL Skills

ITIL best practices are part of a library of books that outline the management of IT development, infrastructure and operations. ITIL's systematic approach to IT management helps companies improve IT services, reduce spending and deliver a better level of customer service to their clients. ITIL skills and certifications regularly make the list of most in-demand by employers and this trend is expected to continue according to experts.

The demand for ITIL v3 skills has been rising sharply over the last year. It has grown in value/demand 9 percent in the last six months, 20 percent in the last year and 33 percent in the last 15 months. IT pros with these skills earn a skills premium of 10-14 percent over base salary.

Average Salary: $61,000

Enterprise Architecture Skills
8. Enterprise Architecture Skills

Companies are applying the lessons learned from years of business architecture and are now trying to incorporate those lessons into the parts of the job that deal with technology and data. According to Foote, architecture roles are about the long term and are hard to justify ROI. As a result when the economic downturn happened in 2009 and 2010, many companies shed their network and other IT architects.

"A lot of companies took down and disassembled their enterprise architecture groups. That's all changed now. You can't do advanced analytics without a lot of data cleansing, data quality analysis, data management and data architecture, says Foote.

Enterprise Architecture has grown 31 percent in value/demand over the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$134,000

Infrastructure Architecture Skills
9. Infrastructure Architecture Skills

IT has gone from the Maytag guys who maintain the servers and email to the driver of big business. Combine that with the fact that technology changes at lightning speed and it's clear why you need infrastructure architecture skills in your organization. They often work to align long-term business strategies and technology.

"Companies really need someone to come in and architect what things will look like and be the person who makes sure all those systems play nice together and have the right foundation in place...," says Nathanson.

IT Pros with infrastructure architecture skills are earning a skills premium between 12-17 percent of base pay and value/demand for this skill has risen 7.1 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $109,000-$141,000

Security Architecture Skills
10. Security Architecture Skills

Security is at the forefront of every CIO's mind. The relentless waves of news stories detailing major corporations that have been hacked grow larger each week. To battle the onslaught of cyber-terrorists and script kiddies you need a solid security architecture. That doesn’t happen by accident.

"Companies are fearful. It's not getting better. Companies are seeing that they are closer than ever before to dangerous breaches. Security needs to be properly architected, because it cost a lot of money," says Foote.

IT security professionals with these skills earn a premium of between 14-18 percent of base salary, according to Foote Partners. These skills have also seen a considerable 23.1 percent increase in value/demand over the last twelve months.

Average Salary: $115,000

Business Intelligence Skills
11. Business Intelligence Skills

Big data is big business and companies are looking more closely at how to interpret the many disparate sources of data they have. That's where BI skills come in.

"This is still an immature area for a lot of companies. Businesses are starting to understand that they have a lot of data internally that can help them with market trends, where and how they can make forecasts with their sales and marketing, as well as help the executive team make decisions," says Rob Byron principal consultant with WinterWyman, an IT recruitment firm in the Northeast.

On average, BI skills pay a premium of 12 percent of base salary and have seen 9.1 percent growth in value/demand over the last six months.

Salary Range: $62,000-$164,000

Business Analysis Skills
12. Business Analysis Skills

Business analysts can be found in many places in an organization. They work to find, document and assess the risk and impact of changing needs business needs and then they work with IT to get requirements and deliverables to support the business throughout implementation phases.

On average, IT workers with these skills earn a skills premium of 12 percent of base pay. Value/demand for these skills is up 9.1 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $61,000-$105,000

Unified Communications and Messaging Skills
13. Unified Communications and Messaging Skills

The world of IT and business is complex and continually morphing. IT touches every part of the business, which often times has global implications. Remote workforces, BYOD and other factors create challenges when it comes to creating an environment where workers can be productive, collaborate and innovate in a seamless manner and that’s where unified communication skills come in.

The technology involves collaboration tools, telephony, messaging, social media and more. The current interest is no surprise to Foote who says, "There's currently a lot of activity in unified communications and it's always been very popular."

Unified messaging skills are averaging a skills premium of about 12 percent of base pay and have seen a rise of 9.1 percent in value/demand in the last six months.

Salary Range: $45,000-$113,000

Risk Assessment and Analysis Skills
14. Risk Assessment and Analysis Skills

According to Foote, companies are trying to incorporate risk assessment and analysis into their workforce and the IT decision-making process, spurring demand within the tech industry. "Every company is doing risk assessment and analysis; it's nothing new. Companies are trying to build risk assessment and analysis into several jobs within their company. They've set it up as a core skill like in the old days of project management," says Foote.

Risk assessment and analysis skills are helping IT pros earn a skills premium of roughly 13 percent of base pay and value/demand has grown 18.2 percent in the last 12 months.

Salary Range: $91,000-$104,000

Mobile Application Development Skills
15. Runner-ups: Mobile Application Development Skills

While this didn't make the list, Foote notes that there is a lot of interest in this area. Mobile development skills continue to be in short supply and as more companies start to focus on mobility, the demand for mobile developers has continued to increase. According to Foote, that isn't going to change anytime soon.

"There are a lot of skills associated with mobile apps development. Most are also associated with other areas of development. Isolating them to just mobile is virtually impossible," says Foote. That said, here are some of the common skills associated with mobile application development: Java, jQuery, JavaScript and other scripting languages, C/C++/C#, .NET, HTML5, CSS, Eclipse and Mobile OS (iOS, Android)- to name a few.

Salary Range: $76,000-$139,000

Cloud Computing Skills
16. Runner-ups: Cloud Computing Skills

PaaS, SaaS and virtualization skills will likely be more in demand as more companies use the cloud to reduce costs. However, it didn't make the list because, according to Foote, the data on the cloud market isn't mature enough. That said, the market for cloud certifications has grown and, according to many analysts, there is an impending Cloud Skills Gap for IT.

"Companies will put out ridiculously unrealistic requests for workers. There's no silver bullet anymore in hiring, these people don't exist. You have to build them. That is what's happening with cloud computing right now," says Foote.

Salary Range: $30,000-$128,000