The battle for the best: In-demand IT skills in the US

SOURCE: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP
These are the hottest tech skills to have by US employers.

By U2B Staff 

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IT departments are essential in just about every industry imaginable, and data is suggesting that companies are hungry for top talents with the right IT skills in the field.

While that’s hard to see when tech salaries are flat nationally in the US — the average annual pay in the technology industry was US$94,000 in 2019, a meagre 1.3% increase from 2018 —  a deep dive into the matter suggests otherwise.

According to The Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report, both big and small employers are hiring technologists to work on every aspect of the business in emerging technology hubs in the US.

These include roles from sysadmins who keep infrastructure running to iOS/Android developers who build mobile apps. 

The report added that technology-related salaries have jumped considerably, suggesting localised demand for technologists who specialise in a variety of specific platforms.

IT skills for the future

Tech jobs that pay well typically boil down to supply and demand. 

“With some older skills, the number of proficient technologists is relatively low, so employers end up paying a lot more to secure their services (this is a key reason why people who know their way around an ancient mainframe, for example, can earn very significant amounts of money; there’s only a small number of active professionals with a grasp of decades-old hardware and operating systems),” explained the report.

Dice’s report lists specialised skills along with their average salaries. IT skills such as Apache Kafka, HANA and Cloudera are among the in demand skills.


Apache Kafka

Apache Kafka is an open-source stream-processing framework that allows companies to more effectively manage real-time data feeds; it’s great for real-time analytics and managing data across dispersed systems,” said Dice. 

Salaries associated with this skill have the highest average salary at US$134,557, up 5.5 percent year over year.

This rise in salary for Kafka is closely linked to the 38% growth in the number of job postings requesting the skill in 2019, said Dice, adding that over 30% of software engineer job postings and 11% of data engineer job postings requested the skill. 


HANA is an in-memory relational database-management system built by SAP. Salaries associated with this skill have an average salary of US$134,462 (9.4% growth year-over-year).

Dice said HANA is often associated with positions such as business Intelligence analysts and tech consultants, both of which must rapidly process databases for insights.

“Although many companies have other database-management systems in place, HANA is still used by businesses that bought heavily into SAP products and it’s integrated tightly into those customers’ data infrastructures,” said the report, adding that HANA’s stickiness helps drive demand and salaries upward.



“Cloudera includes various data-management and analytics tools (either on-premises or via the cloud),” said Dice. Salaries associated with Cloudera have an average salary of US$133,695, up 8.9% year over year.

“Thanks to partnerships with Oracle, Intel, and other companies, these tools have a rather significant enterprise footprint, which is why employers are interested in technologists who know their way around the various Cloudera packages,” said the report.

Cloudera is useful in data-related occupations, along with a host of other roles, including sales engineers.

With these breakdowns of highest average salaries by technical skills, IT or professionals in a related field are now better equipped in understanding which areas they should master to stay in demand by employers.

There are many options for professionals including developers and engineers to upskill in these areas, including online certification courses as well as training offered by software companies. Learning can take place online, in the classroom while in some instances, professionals may also request private training, depending on your organisation’s or personal needs.