The hottest IT skills are noncertified

Employers are paying higher premiums for IT skills that don't come with a piece of paper, though hands-on experience remains a big draw

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The IT certifications that have seen the largest drop in pay premiums include:

  • Novell/Certified Novell Administration (CAN)
  • IBM Certified Administration -- SOA Solutions: WebSphere Process Server
  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (all)
  • Various Avaya, SNIA, and EMC networking and communications certifications
  • GIAC Information Security Fundamentals (GISF)
  • Several Oracle database certifications, including Oracle Certified Professional MySQL 5.0, Oracle Certified Expert MySQL 5.1 Cluster, and OCA (Oracle DB Administrator Certified Associate)
  • Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

Noncertified skills rise in value
Meanwhile, pay premiums for noncertified IT skills have mostly risen across the board over the past two years, with an average pay-premium boost of 2.88 percent. Over the past year, the increase has been 4.17 percent.

The skill category with the biggest annual gain is management, methodology, and process at 9 percent. Noncertified skills in OSes increased in value by 5.8 percent year over year; app dev tools and platform skills have seen their premium value jump 5.1 percent.

Noncertified IT skills that fall under messaging and communication aren't quite so hot: They've dropped in value 14.3 percent over the past two years, though their value remained stable in the past year and has even jumped by 2.8 percent in the past three months. Database skills didn't see quite as significant a two-year drop, just 7.4 percent, but their value has dwindled by 3.5 percent in the past three months.

Noncertified IT skills that have seen the highest gains in associated premium pay include:

  • Tcl, SAS, PL/SQL/ WebSphere MQ, and RAD/Extreme Programming/Agile Programming
  • An array of SAP/ERP skills, including NetWeaver Composition Environment, public sector management, plant management, and corporate finance management
  • Systems and networking skills, including WiMAX/LTE, VoIP WAN/3G/4G services, RFID, and routing
  • Product lifecycle management software
  • Business performance management
  • Six Sigma/Lean Six Sigma
  • Security architecture and models
  • Web development skills, including CGI, ActiveX, XML, and Microsoft BizTalk Server, Sharepoint Server, and Commerce Server
  • Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise
  • Unified communications and messaging
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