The 10 Hottest Technical Skills Employers Want In 2020: Report

When it comes to skill and pay, here are the top ten technical skills IT professionals should have if they want to make the highest salary possible, according to Dice’s new 2020 Tech Salary Report.

The Ten Technical Skills You Need In 2020 To Make Bank

A small but growing number of IT professionals are mastering new technologies to reach the highest salaries from employers willing to pay top dollar for their skillset, according to the new Dice 2020 Tech Salary Report.

Although the average annual pay in the U.S. technology industry reached $94,000 in 2019, up just 1.3 percent year over year, certain technical skills around Apache, AWS, Cloudera, Chef, SAP HANA and Platform as-a-Service are in high demand which is boosting some salaries by double-digits.

Colorado-based Dice is a leading database firm for IT employees, managing over 9 million profiles in the U.S. The company is a tech career hub connecting employers with skilled technology professionals. For its 2020 Dice Salary Survey, the company surveyed nearly 13,000 IT professional from October 2019 to December 2019 to find out the highest average salaries by skills.

CRN breaks down the top ten highest average salaries by technical skills and how much those salaries increased from 2019 to 2018.

10 Other High Paying Tech Salaries

Dice’s 2020 Tech Salary Report listed ten other specialized skills ranking No. 11 through No. 20 which included Elasticsearch, Zookeeper, Amazon Route 53, Dynamo DB, Jetty, NoSQL, Redis, Spring Framework, deep learning and containers.

All of these ten skillsets average salaries ranged from roughly $127,000 to $130,000.

The top three in terms of year over year growth were Spring Framework at 16 percent, Jetty at 14.4 percent and Zookeeper at 8.2 percent. The three lowest year over year salary growth percentages were Redis at 4 percent, Dynamo DB with 2.9 percent and deep learning which was flat.

10. Platform As A Service

Average Salary: $130,669

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 6.3%

Platform as-a-Service (PaaS) are cloud computing offerings where IT professionals deliver a platform to customers that enable them to run, manage and develop business applications without needing to build and managed the infrastructure themselves. The average salary for people with technical PaaS skills reached $130,669 in 2019, up 6.3 percent compared to 2018.

Some of the key players in the global PaaS include Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat, SAP, and VMware. A PaaS provider hosts hardware, such as servers, storage and networking infrastructure, as well as software on its own infrastructure, with many products geared toward software development.

9. Amazon Redshift

Average Salary: $130,723

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 4.5%

Amazon Web Services’ Amazon Redshift is one of the most popular and fastest cloud data warehouses solutions in the world. In 2019, the average salaries with Amazon Redshift climbed 4.5 percent year over year to $130,723.

With Redshift, customers can query petabytes of structed and semi-structured data across their data warehouse and data lake using standard SQL. The Seattle, Wash.-based pubic cloud titan’s Redshift lets businesses save the results of its queries back to its S3 data lake using open formats like Apache Parquet for further analyze from other Amazon analytics services like EMR, Athena and SafeMaker.

8. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Average Salary: $131,556

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 7.6%

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a method of software design in which application components provide services to other components through a communication protocol, typically over a network. With SOA, the application itself is composed of services. SOA allows developers to combine multiple application services into a larger composite service.

In 2019, the average salaries with SOA reached $131,556, representing a 7.6 percent jump year over year. SOA skills are in high demand because it enables enterprises to respond quickly to business changes, leverage existing infrastructure investments and support new channels of interaction with partners, customers and suppliers.

7. Mockito

Average Salary: $131,772

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 11.5%

Mockito is an open source testing framework for Java. Mockito saw one of the largest increases in average salaries in 2019 at 11.5 percent year over year, reaching $131,772.

The Mockito framework allows developers to verify the behavior of a system under test without establishing prior expectations. The framework allows for convenient creation of substitutes of real objects for testing purposes. Mockito lets technologists write tests with a simple API that can produce verification errors.

6. Chef

Average Salary: $132,136

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 19.5%

DevOps pioneer Chef witnessed the largest salary increase on Dice’s 2020 list with a 19.5 percent salary growth year over year to $132,136. Chef is a leader in continuous automation software enabling businesses to automate the process in which they configure, deploy and scale servers and applications.

Chef has expanded on its infrastructure-as-code beginning to focus on the broader coded enterprise, which encompasses infrastructure, security and compliance, as well as application lifecycle management. The Seattle, Wash.-based company made waves in the DevOps world more than a decade ago with its game-changing infrastructure configuration management solution.

5. Apache Cassandra

Average Salary: $132,497

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 6.7%

Apache Cassandra is a free, open-source, distributed NoSQL database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure. The average salary for having Cassandra skills was $132,497, up 6.7 percent compared to 2018.

Cassandra -- which is used by the likes of Netflix, Instagram and Comcast -- offers best-in-class support for replicating across multiple data centers to provide low latency. Linear scalability and proven fault-tolerance on commodity hardware or cloud infrastructure make Cassandra a top-notch platform for mission-critical data which is why it made in the top five of Dice’s salary list.

4. MapReduce

Average Salary: $132,708

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 7.9%

MapReduce is considered invaluable at many organizations because it is utilized in everything from machine learning to document clustering. Due to this, average salaries with MapReduce increased by nearly 8 percent year over year in 2019 to $132,708.

MapReduce is frequently associated with data-related roles, from engineers and scientists to architects and warehousing specialists. Many companies utilize the MapReduce framework when crunching through enormous datasets on sprawling hardware clusters and grids. Dice said working with MapReduce is a highly specialized skill as technologists want a setup that will reliably process data at an acceptable rate, with a trade-off between computation and network-communication costs.

3. Cloudera

Average Salary: $133,695

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 8.9%

In 2019, salaries associated with Cloudera grew by nearly 9 percent to $133,695. Both data-related occupations and a variety of others, including sales engineers, request Cloudera at significant levels, according to Dice.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cloudera includes various data-management and analytics tools for either on-premises or the cloud. Thanks to Cloudera’s strategic partnerships with the likes of Oracle, Intel and other vendors, 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.


Average Salary: $134,462

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 9.4%

HANA is an in-memory relational database-management system built by SAP. The average salary for HANA in 2019 was $134,462, representing a salary increase of 9.4 percent compared to 2018.

Dice said the platform’s selling point is speed. HANA is offered as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) through AWS and other cloud vendors. 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, according to Dice. HANA’s stickiness helps drive demand and salaries upward.

1. Apache Kafka

Average Salary: $134,557

Year Over Year Salary Increase: 5.5%

Apache Kafka is an open-source stream-processing framework that allows companies to more effectively manage real-time data feeds. It owns the highest average salary on Dice’s 2020 list at $134,557, up 5.5 percent year over year.

Apache Kafka is a valuable and highly specialized tool, geared toward real-time analytics and managing data across dispersed systems. Dice said the rise in salary for Kafka is closely linked to the 38 percent growth in the number of job postings requesting the skill in 2019. Additionally, more than 30 percent of software engineer job postings and 11 percent of data engineer job postings requested the skill. With this platform trending upwards, large businesses in need of its practitioners include Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One.