Get a job: The top 10 hottest IT skills today

The IT job market hasn't been this strong in many years. Here are the skills that will keep you ahead of the pack

It's time for a fall tune-up, not for your car, but for your career. If you're thinking about a new job or even advancing within your current workplace, now is the time to see if you have the skills that employers are seeking -- and paying the most for.

Scores of IT certifications now command a substantial premium in terms of pay, but you can't do much better than an Open Master Architect or a Certified Secure Software Life Cycle Professional, according to the latest survey by Foote Partners. But plenty of noncertified skills are commanding a hefty pay premium as well, with TOGAF (Enterprise Architect) the most valuable of 374 skills surveyed by Foote between April and July.

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While you're at it, broaden your job search to include types of companies you might not have considered working for. The insurance industry, for example, has woken up to the fact that it's behind the IT curve and is now looking hard for the right people.

The latest look at certified and noncertified IT skills shows that both categories have increased in value for five consecutive quarters, a trend that reversed a long decline in the value of certifications. Not surprising, the gains come as the most important segments of the IT industry added a solid 11,100 jobs in July alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The headline on Foote's report sums up the outlook rather well: "Skills rule!"

These 10 IT skills are most in demand

It only takes a glance at Dice.com, a large, IT-focused job board to see how solid the market has been. At the beginning of August, there were 80,651 jobs listed, a bit higher than the average over the last 12 months of 80,247. Well over half of those jobs (an average of 47,840) have been full-time, while nearly all of the remainder has been for contractors.

That's a lot of contract work, and it's in line with a growing trend across the entire labor market for companies to avoid making full-time commitments and avoid paying benefits to workers.

The demand for skills varies quite a bit, but according to Dice, here are the job categories that have grown the most in the last two years. The numbers refer to the number of postings on the Dice board, and the order is from most to least growth in the last year.

Skill set

August 2014

August 2013

Growth since 2013

August 2012

Growth since 2012

Cyber security

2,274

1,198

90%

975

133%

Puppet

1,141

673

70%

366

212%

Big data

2,277

1,512

51%

666

242%

NoSQL

1,801

1,206

49%

NA

NA

Salesforce.com

1,035

726

43%

572

81%

Hadoop

2,047

1,478

38%

896

128%

Cloud

6,650

5,057

32%

3,823

74%

Jira

1,305

1,003

30%

612

113%

CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

1,634

1,287

27%

1,613

1%

Information security

2,367

1,908

24%

1,783

33%

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