IT salaries for the 20 hottest tech skills

Unemployment rates in the IT industry remain low, and companies are offering higher salaries in order to recruit top tech talent

IT salaries, IT skills

Unemployment in the IT industry remains staggeringly low. To compete for top talent, companies are offering higher salaries to attract candidates with must-have skills.

"Our clients are increasing salaries across the board. But with higher pay rates comes the expectation that job-seekers will not only have these core skills, but have added knowledge of and experience with newer technologies," says Tom Cirri, regional director of recruitment, Mondo.

To help you know your value, here are 20 of the hottest new skillsets, and what hiring companies are willing to pay for those, according to Mondo. (The ranges are based on the New York region, which includes parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.)

Augmented Reality Developers

Augmented reality developers

What it pays: $115,000 to $130,000

Augmented reality is making a huge impact on the marketing and sales industries and in retail, says Cirri. For candidates looking to land a job in this area, the most popular tools Mondo's clients demand are ARToolKit, Unity3D, Vuforia, and Metaio, Cirri says.

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Front-End Developers

Front-end developers

What it pays: $140,000 to $150,000

An emphasis on slick, attention-getting sites and applications is driving demand for front-end developers, Cirri says. "With these roles, our clients need not just Java and scripting experience, but also JavaScript libraries and AngularJS, EXTJS, or Node JS," Cirri says.

Network or Systems Security Engineer

Network or systems security engineer

What it pays: $110,000 to $125,000

Bring your own device (BYOD) and mobile device management (MDM) are driving much of the demand for these skills, says Cirri, and recent high-profile data breaches in retail are forcing companies to take a harder look at their network and systems security protocols and the people in charge of those. Within this role, job seekers experienced with NitroSecurity, Palo Alto Software, and FireEye intrusion detection and prevention suites will have an edge over the competition, Cirri says.

Security Architect

Security architect

What it pays: $150,000 to $175,000

Designing and building secure systems has never been more important, which explains why these positions are in huge demand, Cirri says. And security architect positions cross all domains and all industries, making it a wide-open field for job-seeking candidates, he says.

Data Scientist

Data scientist

What it pays: $125,000 to $155,000

Data scientists with experience in any "big data" platform and/or with machine learning experience can command salaries as high as $155,000, says Cirri. "There's been a huge increase in client demand for these skills so far this year; our clients want and need professionals who can use data analytics tools to dive into data and make decisions based on what the data's telling them," he says.

Middleware Engineer

Middleware engineer

What it pays: $90,000 to $110,000

Java's still a hot skill, Cirri says, but engineers with experience in Java-specific application servers are the most in-demand. Most of the demand is for Java professionals with lots of troubleshooting experience, and those with added focus on security can boost salaries even more.

"Troubleshooting is hot. Because of the need to develop and maintain connections between legacy systems and new security solutions, new Web servers and data center consolidation, these skills are seeing a resurgence," Cirri says.

Salesforce Architect

Salesforce architect

What it pays: $180,000 to $200,000, the ubiquitous CRM application, continues to dominate organizations IT skills demand, says Cirri. But the difference here is a focus on the application exchange within Salesforce, including Financialforce, Marketo, and the integration tool Cast Iron, he says. Any job-seeker with these skills will be in high demand, he says.

Data Architect

Data architect

What it pays: $110,000 to $150,000

Big data skills continue to demand a premium, especially if job seekers can point to experience with Hadoop, Cloudera, Hive, and MongoDB, specifically, says Cirri. "Clients looking for data architects are focused on integration and data governance, and they want to know if candidates can perform large-scale platform consolidation and data integration," he says.

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iOS Developer

iOS developer

What it pays: $120,000 to $150,000

In an application-centric economy, iOS developers continue to be in high demand, says Cirri. "Have you built and released a successful application? Have you worked on an application for a previous employer? Then your skills are much needed, and salary won't disappoint," he says.

Android Developer

Android developer

What it pays: $135,000 to $165,000

Android developers command higher salaries than their iOS counterparts, says Cirri, mainly because of the more complex platforms and toolkits involved in developing and integrating apps for the Android operating system. "The more high-end brand experience you have, the more money you can make, especially if you've had applications published and used by large companies in the enterprise," he says.

Interactive Designer

Interactive designer

What it pays: $90,000 to $110,000

This role is in high demand for companies in the retail sector, as well as those who dabble in social media, Cirri says. "We're seeing our marketing, retail, and social media clients very interested in developers for interactive displays, applications, and other interactive marketing campaign technologies," Cirri says, and Facebook's recent Oculus purchase will drive the demand even higher.

Quality Assurance Engineer

Quality assurance engineer

What it pays: $100,000 to $120,000

Quality control testing is crucial to ensure speed-to-market and security of software solutions and applications. Cirri says Mondo's clients are most interested in candidates with experience in Selenium, QuickTest Pro (QTP), or Cucumber solutions, but that any candidate with QA experience is in great demand.

Systems Engineer

Systems engineer

What it pays: $100,000 to $125,000

Systems engineers used to be restricted to administration and management of systems and server operating systems, but Cirri says Mondo's clients are increasingly looking for programming and scripting experience as well.

"It used to be that systems engineers would only administer an OS and maybe have some role in disaster recovery," Cirri says. "But now, individuals with stronger coding and/or scripting experience are commanding salaries toward the higher end of this range," he says. In addition to standard administration skills, Cirri says a knowledge of Linux, UNIX, virtualization tools like VMware and Citrix, as well as scripting languages are mandatory.

C#/.Net Developer

C# / .Net developer

What it pays: $90,000 to $125,000

There's still a huge demand for developers with C# and .Net experience, Cirri says. "Our clients are still looking for folks with this kind of experience, but those candidates that also have Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) or Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) experience can go even higher -- to the tune of between $130,000 and $150,000," Cirri says.

User Experience/User Interface Developers

User experience/User interface developers

What it pays: $110,000 to $130,000

User experience and user interface design are hot areas for both software companies and those in marketing and retail, says Cirri. While any experience with UX or UI is valuable, he says mobile device experiences can push candidates to the higher end of this salary range.

Drupal Developer

Drupal developer

What it pays: $100,000 to $130,000

Drupal developers were all the rage in 2013, says Cirry. And while demand has slowed somewhat in 2014, Mondo's government clients are increasingly demanding developers with Drupal skills.

"Our clients are asking for developers with both PHP language experience and specific APIs within the Drupal platform," Cirry says. "The federal government is one of the clients that's increasing its demand for Drupal, and that's where a lot of the demand is coming from," Cirri says.

PHP Developer

PHP developer

What it pays: $90,000 to $125,000

PHP developers are still needed, Cirri says, especially as the IT industry focuses on open source solutions as well as scripting of applications and sites. PHP developers can command salaries in the range of  $90,000 to $125,000 in the New York region, Cirri says.

Big Data Engineer

Big data engineer

What it pays: $125,000 to $145,000

Another big data role that's gaining traction is big data engineer, says Cirri. These roles build on candidates' experience with data warehousing, and Cirri says the most common platforms clients want are Hadoop, Netezza, and Cloudera. "This is a great role for current data warehousing pros who are building their skills to incorporate big data," Cirri says. "This is a case where the skills needed are not necessarily new, but the ways those skills are applied certainly is," he says.



What it pays: $135,000 to $170,000

Walking the fine line between IT and business is what DevOps is all about, says Cirri, and developing open and productive communication between technical and line-of-business departments is a critical skill. DevOps professionals can have a variety of skills, both technical (programming, networking, software development) and soft (communication, marketing, sales, negation) and the more experience these pros have in either or both areas the higher salary they can expect, says Cirri.

Project Manager

Project manager

What it pays: $110,000 to $150,000

There's no shortage of demand for project managers, and the number of skilled PMs in the market just isn't sufficient, says Cirri. "Project managers are in short supply and high demand, and they always will be," he says. "With the need to understand and implement the latest and greatest technology like Salesforce, new security platforms, mobile applications -- we don't think PMs will ever lack for high-paying positions," he says.