In the latest quarter, the premiums for noncertified skills that increased the most were management/methodology/process skills, up 6.3 percent; database skills, up 4.3 percent; and messaging and communications skills, up 1.9 percent.
Noncertified skills that command the highest premiums, regardless of changes in the second quarter, included TOGAF (the Open Group's enterprise architecture methodology), complex event processing, data governance, Apache Hadoop, big data analytics, and business process management.
In the certified column, the hottest certifications now include Open Group Master Architect, EMC Cloud Architect Expert, GIAC Security Leadership, Oracle DBA Administrator Certified Master, Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT, and Certified Information Security Manager.
What's changing? One factor is that businesses, which finally have money to spend on infrastructure, are in the midst of transforming IT (cloud computing is a huge driver). Another factor is that vendors that offer certifications also have money these days and are aggressively promoting themselves, says Foote. Vendor-independent organizations like the Open Group tend to have few resources for promoting their products, "but some have developed superb certifications that employers need and highly value them," he adds.
That's not all. IT is being pushed to take on more and more responsibility for business. In the past, enterprises looked to outside consultants to reshape IT. "They may still bring in outside help, but now they are asking their CIOs and business leaders who manage large segments of technology talent to take more control over architecting, enabling, and securing the technology and information management parts of the enterprise," writes Foote.
Given that push to reorganize, it's no surprise that "architecture" is mentioned again and again in Foote's report.
The IT wage story is not as clear
This is complex. On one hand, employment in IT is obviously strong. But on average, wages aren't going up. Writes Foote, "IT jobs have been on a sustained growth upswing over four years, and wages are holding steady overall and growing substantially for many specializations in areas such as mobile platforms, cloud computing, advanced analytics, and security."
If there were a shortage of capable IT professionals, "holding steady" is not where you'd expect wages to be. I've argued for some time that the IT industry has still not reached full employment, and Foote's observation, along with other experts I've quoted recently, supports that point. (Foote may not agree with that.)
Because there's still serious competition for the best-paying jobs, it makes sense to scope out the areas that employers care about the most. That's the real value of Foote's report, and I urge you to read it with an eye toward your next career move.
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