15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand

Whether you're a senior IT executive evaluating staffing needs and preparing budgets or an IT pro deciding where to invest your time to gain new skills, knowing what technologies are in demand should be a key part of your strategy.

The Hottest Non-Certified IT Skills for Growth in 2014

Architects, mobile developers and IT pros who are proficient in several flavors of big data and analytics are the top dogs in this look at the non-certified IT skills poised for growth in 2014. Last week, Foote Partners released its Q1 quarterly report, the IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report. Its data tells a story of more incremental improvements for both certified and non-certified IT skills.

Non-certified IT skills have seen eight consecutive quarters of growth. According to Foote Partners data, gains in database, systems, and information security skills are driving growth in both areas with assistance from network, communications and management, methodology, process and architecture, project management and process skills.

Foote Partners IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Methodology

We spoke with David Foote, co-founder, chief analyst and research officer and other industry professionals to find out which of the 354 non-certified IT skills reported upon will generate the largest gains in 2014.

Programmers and IT pros with the skills on this list are getting what Foote refers to as a skills premium above base salary, and that increase is predicted to grow over the next six months.

Apache Cassandra Skills

Big data is driving demand for Apache Cassandra and several other skills on this list. As more companies get on the big data bandwagon, demand will increase. "We absolutely see demand for this skill. Apache Cassandra is designed to handle large amounts of data, and data management continues to be an in-demand skillset," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

Apache CouchDB Skills

"Relax" is the battle cry of the CouchDB developer. CouchDB is an open source document-oriented database that is scalable and commonly referred to as fault-tolerant. This skill has seen more than 22 percent growth in the last 12 months and, according to Foote Partners, is predicted to continue its upward trend.

Big Data Analytics Skills

Analytics is the point where all of these big data skills meet. Finding patterns and actionable data in the mountains of information collected is a skill that will likely increase well into the future. "This is a big one. While anything, big data related is a hot skillset/job, analytics is really the spear-point of industry demand," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

Business Intelligence Skills

IT pros with business intelligence skills facilitate transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information to move business objectives forward. Demand for this skill is consistently high and will likely grow as more brick and mortar companies go digital.

"BI has consistently been one of the most in-demand skillsets over the past years and we see that demand grow regularly each year. Modern businesses increasingly need intelligence and strategic input from their IT departments, so an IT professional with BI skills is a strong career combination to wield," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

Capacity Planning/Management Skills

According to David Foote of Foote Partners, demand for this IT skill is driven up by cloud adoption. The scalability of the cloud is one of the reasons it's so popular, but that capability to scale fast means doing things different than they've been done in the past and through a third-party, making capacity planning and management a much-needed skill.

Data Architecture Skills

The amount of data we are keeping is growing. IBM estimates that the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data a day. According to research analysts from IDC, if you are an adult between the ages of 45 and 59, you create 1.8 million gigabytes of data about yourself each year. This is on top of the 4.1 million gigabytes of ambient information that already exists about you in the digital universe. That's a lot of data and someone needs to architect its capture, storage, flow and usage. These highly knowledgeable individuals have a vision from beginning to end, visualizing how data will be channeled through several databases to create an effective flow of business data.

Data Governance Skills

With all this data being collected, it becomes more important to define who is the custodian/owner of that data and controls how it is used, stored, secured and made available. That's where data governance comes in. IT pros with this tech skill will help create and implement policy and processes and ensure compliance regarding the many different sources of data. Different companies will have different needs depending on their size and industry, but in general the more compliance and regulations needs you have the more critical this becomes.

HBase Skills

Continued demand for HBase talent is driven by the adoption of big data and is generally used for real-time read/write access to large datasets. Gains for this much-desired skill has increased more than 36 percent over the last 12 months and are projected to continue.

Information Management Skills

Information management skills entail using technology to collect, process, coordinate and disseminate information. The bottom-line is furthering strategic objectives and goals through the creation of and effective use of information from varying sources. According to the University of Toronto, information management consists of six closely related activities.

  • Identification of information needs
  • Acquisition and creation of information
  • Analysis and interpretation of information
  • Organization and storage of information
  • Information access and dissemination
  • Information use

Mobile Applications Development Skills

Mobile development has been one of the hottest growth areas inside of IT for a while and it's not slowing down. Having the right skills in this area means you can write your own ticket.

David Foote of Foote Partners says that up to this point companies have perhaps been taking people already in the organization -- maybe a Java programmer and paying them a premium, but not necessarily giving them the title mobile application developer. "We've had enough interest from our customers asking us if we have information on these jobs that we think it's starting to become a legitimate job title," says Foote.

Some other IT job titles getting used most recently according to Foote, senior software engineer mobile front-end and senior software engineer mobile back-end, mobile evangelists, mobile analytics and a number of engineer titles associated with mobile.

Mobile Security Skills

Getting data stolen isn't good for your customers or your brand, so it's no mystery why this skill is here (but you're probably wondering why every type of IT security didn't make the list). As the popularity of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have skyrocketed so have the potential security risks. Cyber battles wage on with no end in sight and because of that IT pros with mobile security skills will continue to be a sought after commodity.

"We see mobile applications demand manifested particularly in application testing and security," says Matt Ripaldi, senior vice president of Modis, an IT staffing firm.

MongoDB Skills

Another open source, cross-platform, document-oriented database, MongoDB, uses JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas to store your data, instead of storing your data in tables and rows as you do in a relational database. It's easy to see how much affect big data is having on IT organizations everywhere by looking at how many of the hottest skills are being driven by companies trying to capitalize on the promise of big data.

Network Security Management Skills

Your data and information is only as secure as the network you store it in, making network security management an essential component of any IT security strategy. "Companies must protect their customers' sensitive information no matter where it resides -- be it on a PC, mobile device, corporate network or data center, " Anil Chakravarthy, executive vice president of the information security group at Symantec.

NoSQL Skills

The nonrelational database system that NoSQL provides creates better scalability and performance when working with extremely large datasets than does traditional relational databases (RDBMS). Demand for NoSQL is being driven by big data adoption. As more companies look to gain a competitive edge through the big data, skills like HBase, NSQL, MongoDB and other related IT skills, will likely continue to increase in demand.

Oracle Applications Developer Framework Skills

Java is the backbone of many industries and always a favorite on the Tiobe Programming Index, so it's no surprise that Oracle made the list. These professionals work to develop, test, implement and document applications. Testing, debugging and refinement are all part of the job as well.

Honorable Mention Slide

These IT skills also made the Foote Partner's list of non-certified IT skills that earn workers above average pay premiums. All of these skills have been earning above average rates over the past six months, Foote Partners says that they are likely to continue to gaining market value over the next three to six months.