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20 Technology Skills Wanted By Amazon, Other Top Employers

Donna Goodison

CRN looks at the most in-demand technology skills, the top technology jobs that companies are trying to fill and which cities and states have the most tech job listings.

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Software developers, network engineers and systems engineers were the top three technology roles that employers were trying to fill in the second quarter, while SQL, project management and Java were most in-demand skills, according to a new report from Dice that focuses on tech hiring trends amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Recruits with programming language skills in Java, Python and C++ were at the top of the list for Amazon, which Dice ranked as the top tech employer during the second quarter.

There was continued growth among infrastructure-related tech occupations and emerging U.S. tech hub cities during the April-to-May period, even while tech job postings nationwide decline, according to Dice, a Centennial, Co.-based tech jobs site.

“In 2019, the biggest challenge confronting many businesses was the need to source great talent amidst record-low unemployment within the tech industry,” the Dice report states. “One year later, the biggest issues have been existential, with companies trying to determine the best way through a new, radically changing landscape.”

While tech job postings held strong in March, even as many companies closed their offices and started relying on remote workforces, the effects of the pandemic were evident in the second quarter, when postings fell in comparison to the same quarter last year. But while uncertainty prompted companies to scale back their immediate hiring, resulting in marked declines, June saw large, nearly across-the-board increases compared to the previous month – and even a return to pre-pandemic levels in some instances, according to Dice.

Companies now are in a better position to do long-term planning, “with a clear need for vital technologists,” Dice said, and tech unemployment rates, which are lower than national employment rates, have dropped.

Read on to find out which companies have been hiring, what kinds of jobs they’re trying to fill and what skill sets they’re looking for – in addition to the cities and states that have been seeing the most job listings. Dice’s second-quarter tech job report is based on labor market data from Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston-based software company focused on job market analytics.

Top Tech Employers In The Second Quarter

Technology companies have come to the rescue of industries including retail that needed to ramp up their digital infrastructure and user experiences to meet increased online demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon and its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing business both benefited from lockdowns and the move to remote workforces. Amazon was the top employer hiring tech workers in the second quarter, followed by Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Ramy Infotech, Charles Schwab, Infosys, Leidos, Lockheed Martin and Dell. Rounding out the top 20 were Oracle, Anthem Blue Cross, VMware, T-Mobile, Booz Allen Hamilton, Target, Boeing, Nvidia, SAIC and Blue Origin.

“The Q2 employer data suggests that both Amazon and defense contractors such as Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman continue to prove resilient and relevant – even amidst a global pandemic,” the Dice report stated.

Facebook is listed in the 25th spot among top-hiring tech employers, IBM is at 27, Google ranks 32nd, Wipro is at 38 and ServiceNow is number 43, with NTT Data at 44 and NCI Information Systems at 48.

Top 20 Skills In Amazon Job Postings

Software developers, network engineers, program managers and systems engineers were among the top positions that Amazon was recruiting for in the second quarter, along with a significant number of e-commerce specialists.

Programming languages dominated the top skills that Amazon was seeking in its second-quarter job postings: Java, Python and C++ were the top three skills, according to Dice. SQL – a programming language designed for managing data in relational database management systems – was in the fifth spot, followed by Microsoft C# in seventh and Ruby in tenth.

Project management experience was the fourth most sought-after skill for Amazon, Linux was at number six, and cloud computing and product management were at numbers eight and nine.

The top 11 through 20 most requested skills in Amazon job postings were machine learning, program management, JavaScript, big data, DevOps, AWS Redshift – AWS’ fully managed data warehouse service – Perl, AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), data science and NoSQL.

Top Tech Skills By Q2 Job Postings

“During the initial stages of lockdown, employers had particular talent demands, such as sysadmins (system administrators) and other technologists who could quickly adjust their workforces to operating from home offices and cybersecurity experts to keep these newly dispersed networks safe from outside attack,” Dice said in its report. “By the end of Q2, with companies experiencing greater stability, the demand for other specific tech skills has returned.”

Employers prioritized DevOps, Git and information security skills in the second-quarter. Job postings seeking candidates with DevOps skills grew 11 percent, software development skills by 3 percent and information security skills by 2 percent.

SQL was the most-requested skill in tech job postings for the quarter, although those listings declined by 15 percent from the second quarter of 2019. Project management was in the number two spot, but those postings still dropped 22 percent.

“Unsurprising, many other skills dipped year-over-year in the second quarter, which is understandable, considering the marketplace pressures exerted by COVID-19,” Dice said. “However, when we compare demand for skills between May and June, we again see positivity across the board.”

The other top-10 skills that employers were seeking in job candidates were Java, Python, JavaScript, Linux, Oracle, technical support, Scrum and business process expertise. Information systems, DevOps, Git, Microsoft C#, C++, UNIX, Atlassian JIRA, agile development, systems engineering and SQL Server were the 11th through 20th most desired skills.

Most Desired Tech Skills Sets From May To June

A 28 percent increase in job postings requesting product management skills between May and June suggests that employers were feeling cautiously optimistic about returning to product development to “differentiate and capitalize on the changing landscape,” according to the Dice report.

Tech job postings looking for workers with debugging skills accounted for the largest increase on Dice’s list with a 38 percent jump in listings during the period. Technical support skills saw the third largest increase in job postings, trailed by Atlassian Jira and systems engineering.

There were 24 percent increases in job listings requesting agile development and C++ skills between the two months, 23 percent increases for Python and information security skills, and a 21 percent increase for UNIX skills.

Tech Occupations With The Most Quarterly Job Listings

Software developer was the top occupation in tech job postings in the second quarter, although those listings were down 11 percent from the prior-year period. Network engineer and systems engineer were the second- and third- most listed jobs, but both of those posting declined 13 percent.

Senior software developer -- with a 15 percent decrease in listings -- Java developer, business analyst, software quality assurance engineer, application developer, IT project management and program manager also were in the top 10 for occupations in second-quarter listings.

Meanwhile, postings for Java developers climbed 14 percent year over year, demand for computer programmers increased 7 percent and demand for DevOps engineers rose 3 percent. Postings for data engineers (up 5 percent) and Salesforce CRM developers (up 10 percent) also accelerated.

“As 2019 was considered a very good year for tech in terms of jobs and demand, that certain tech professions managed to outpace that in Q2 2020 -- during a pandemic -- is nothing short of remarkable,” Dice stated in the report.

Most Sought-After Tech Recruits From May to June

Job postings for key tech occupations increased significantly from May to June, with data engineer at the top of the list with 51 percent growth and computer support specialist at number two with 38 percent growth.

Application support engineer (34 percent growth), application developer (31 percent) and senior Java developer (30 percent) also were in the top five for most growth during that period.

“During the nation’s initial wave of lockdowns, companies had to make rapid decisions about remote work,” the Dice reported stated. “This, coupled with uncertainty, resulted in employers prioritizing infrastructure, systems and security over new product development. Months later, there’s more knowledge surrounding the situation, so employers are more confident to engage in long-term planning and clearly see a need for vital technologists who can help build new products and maintain the current tech stack -- thus, the need for developers, engineers and programmers in various disciplines.”

State-By-State Tech Job Postings

Tech-heavy California, which had the greatest number of tech job postings in the second quarter at 140,000-plus – nearly twice as many as other states -- saw a 28 percent decrease in the number of job postings compared to the same three-month period of 2019.

Tech job postings for positions in Texas, which had the second largest number of listings, declined 2 percent year over year.

There was an 11 percent increase in job postings for Virginia, which was in the number three spot overall for listings. A 28 percent jump in postings in the city of Arlington – which last year Amazon announced would be the home for its new headquarters location referred to as “HQ2” -- contributed much of that growth, according to Dice. Amazon, which plans to hire 25,000 employees for HQ2, in June announced it had onboarded its 1,000th employee there.

“As noted in previous job reports, Arlington is a consistent success story in the tech industry,” Dice said. “Not only is it benefitting from the rise of Amazon’s enormous HQ2, but federal government contractors and other large businesses in the area are also in need of a constant stream of technologists.”

Other top Virginia-based employers in the second quarter included General Dynamics, Leidos and Booz Allen Hamilton, according to Dice.

Meanwhile, the number of tech job postings in New York -- hard-hit by the coronavirus – declined 34 percent.

North Carolina, in fifth position for the most tech job postings, saw listings there inch up 2 percent. North Carolina is home to the Research Triangle – billed as the country’s largest research park and a global innovation center -- and a growing number of startups in addition to long-established companies. Its growth stemmed from employers including IBM, Lowe’s and Iqvia, a provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and contract research services to the life sciences industry.

State Tech Job Postings From May To June

Michigan (36 percent), Tennessee (36 percent), Georgia (34 percent), Wisconsin (34 percent) and Colorado (32 percent) were the states with the largest increases in tech job postings between May and June.

Twenty-five states in total had double-digit growth, a reflection of the resilience of the tech industry, according to the Dice report, while two states – Indiana and Virginia – had the lowest growth at 12 percent.

“Texas (15 percent growth), powered by burgeoning tech scenes in Houston and Austin, has been showing robust growth that could place it in direct competition with California (20 percent) and New York (18 percent),” the report states. “The rise of remote work may also deliver more opportunity to up-and-coming tech hubs across the country, as technologists move to smaller cities with a lower cost of living, great amenities and none of the congestion and high rents that come with living in a major tech hub.”
Tulsa, Okla., is trying to lure workers through its Tulsa Remote program that gives $10,000 grants to “digital nomads” who relocate there and stay for at least one year, Dice noted.

“While Tulsa Remote is not necessarily unique, the future may see other cities adopting these types of programs to help foster their local tech ecosystem,” Dice said.

Emerging Tech Hubs Show Growth

Austin, Texas, and emerging tech hubs Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina experienced continued growth during the second quarter, but established tech hubs such as New York and San Francisco had declines even though they added new job postings totaling approximately 31,000 and 20,000, respectively, according to Dice.

Austin, at number three among U.S. cities for two tech job listings and known as “Silicon Hills” for its growing hub for tech companies and startups, saw 16 percent growth, led by the hiring plans of employers Charles Schwab, IBM, Amazon and Home Depot.

Raleigh, at number 16, had 9 percent growth in its listings, buoyed by top-hiring companies including Wells Fargo, IBM and Accenture. Number six Charlotte had 4 percent growth, with Deloitte, Bank of America and Microsoft among its top- hiring companies.

Other emerging tech hubs that showed growth were 19th-ranked Arlington and 29th-ranked Richmond, Va., with 28 percent and 33 percent growth, respectively. In addition to Amazon, Arlington’s growth is attributed to companies including General Dynamics and Booz Allen Hamilton.

New York City and San Francisco, ranked in the top two for tech job postings, each saw 32 percent drops in their second-quarter openings.

Tech Job Postings By City From May to June

June job listing volumes jumped drastically at the city level compared to May.

“This is true with those cities which posted Q2 declines, but also with those that showed growth in Q2,” Dice said. “In fact, while some cities are beginning to return to job-posting volumes that are consistent with pre-(coronavirus) levels, others are growing their tech demand to new heights.”

Pittsburgh saw the largest growth in tech job postings from May to June at 44 percent, followed by San Francisco (42 percent), Boston (39 percent) and Denver and Atlanta each at 36 percent.

Among the top 25 cities for second-quarter job posting volume, Arlington, Va., showed the slowest growth for listings from May to June with 5 percent growth.

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