Do you have these top-earning tech skills?
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It's a good time to work in technology, with salaries increasing at a steady clip over the past few years. According to Dice's most recent annual salary survey, the average tech pro earned $89,450 in 2014, a year-over-year rise of 1.9 percent. And if that news isn't cheerful enough on its own, many companies have begun offering larger bonuses, more frequently.
But not all cities and states pay equally well, or add tech jobs at the same pace. If you work in a longtime tech hub such as Silicon Valley, you might expect to earn an average annual salary of $112,610 (the largest in the nation), but your paychecks might not grow at the same pace as, say, a developer or software engineer in Portland (where salaries grew a blistering 8.6 percent year-over-year).
There are reasons behind this variance in salary growth. Cities like Pittsburgh (which enjoyed a 16.8 percent growth in tech salaries between 2013-2014) and Detroit (6.3 percent growth, year-over-year) are in the “startup” phase of becoming tech hubs, with startups springing up like mushrooms and companies desperate to hire the best and brightest. Meanwhile, cities with the highest salaries (Silicon Valley, Seattle and Washington D.C.) often have well-established scenes that, while always in need of tech talent, don't feature quite the same degree of white-hot demand.
The specific needs also vary depending on city and region. The federal government, for example, is in desperate need of young tech pros who are willing to move to Washington D.C., in order to replace older government workers who are transitioning into retirement. Seattle still plays host to some of the world's biggest technology companies, and wants workers who specialize in everything from the cloud to e-commerce and healthcare IT. Austin recently became home to Dropbox, Rackspace, and a Google office, all of which will need staff; it also hosts a burgeoning startup scene. There's also a growing list of tech-friendly cities that you may not have even considered.
Geography aside, tech skills that earned the most money last year included:
- PaaS ($130,081, on average)
- Cassandra ($128,646)
- MapReduce ($127,315)
- Cloudera ($126,816)
- HBase ($126,369)
- Pig ($124,563)
- ABAP ($124,262)
- Chef ($123,458)
- Flume ($123,186)
- Hadoop ($121,313)
Given employers' continuing focus on Big Data and the cloud, it seems unlikely that these skills will see their popularity fade anytime soon. (And given the increase in the amount of data stored by your average company, the demand for analytics masters definitely isn't going away.)
For developers and programmers, tech-industry analyst firm RedMonk, using data compiled from GitHub and Stack Overflow, has a (regularly updated) list of the most popular programming languages:
- Visual Basic
In other words, the current growth in the tech industry isn't restricted to a few narrow segments: from app building to Web development to e-commerce and cloud backend, there are jobs across the nation for those with the right combination of skills and experience.