A Rising Tide of Technology

In the world today, few would challenge the assertion that technology is inseparable from our daily lives. This is precisely the reason why the creation and implementation of technology in America is accelerating in pace and scale; because while technology in its idyllic form is aimed at creating greater and greater efficiencies, its incremental jumps in development all too commonly create a new need for new tools or skills to facilitate the correct functioning or maintaining of the new technology.

The internet is the most exemplary of this point as the requisite net-code is in constant flux, and thus requires from its practitioners a constant revision and relearning of skills or ‘best practices' to properly adapt to advancements in the field. Coding as a skill is among the well known in the advent of the technology boom across the globe, however, this same model can be applied to any area of technology in order to anticipate opportunities, or create them yourself. In short, by staying on top of new technology trends, you can develop highly valued skills, and boost your earnings significantly.

ITSCPI reports in their research findings that as of 2019, there were 1,057 IT and IT-hybrid skills that employers were willing to pay a premium for even if the skill had not yet been officiated with a certification process. Even if a certification was available, however, many employers simply did not care and valued the overall picture of education and work history above any one certification. The remainder of this article will be directed at helping you recognize--and take the most advantage of--the most valuable skills precipitated by the rapidly evolving tech industry; read on to learn what, where, and how.

What Are the Standout Skill Sets?

To start let’s take a look at some of the skills that offer the largest return in compensation. The first and single most lucrative skill you can develop as an IT professional currently is proficiency with Ethereum. Ethereum is one of the most popular open-source, public block-chain computing platforms to ever hit the market. Its prolific impact across various industries is represented in the compensation you can achieve in return, coming in at an average increase of 17% from base salary.

The field of cryptography and encryption is another of enormous promise. Companies are constantly looking to guarantee cryptosecurity while maintaining technical fidelity in their software. The most popular skills within this category are RSA encryption, Schnorr Signature, and PGP. Those who leveraged this skill for a pay raise saw an average salary boost of 16% in 2018.

This next skill demonstrates the increasing awareness of job markets that in order to maintain agile systems, projects need to prioritize seamless implementation on the front-end of development. This leads to skill sets based in microsystem development being extremely high in demand, offering a 16% bump in base salary. And due to the reasons listed above, this skillset is perhaps the most timeless of these examples.

The core idea here is that microsystems are crucial for developers to be able to remove, upgrade, or replace certain components of an application without hindering its performance as a whole. Microservice software is also designed around the growing trend of enterprises to seek realtime, continuous testing and the monitoring of data points across countless vectors, which constitutes a vast array of potential skills to be considered. Companies like Moxpage have adapted microsystems to inventory management to expand their business model. While this example is more broad the previous two, it is also the most widely applicable across the various niches of the tech industry, and in fact can likely be applied to even outside traditional tech markets. And this brings us to the next major point to be made. What has been showcased in these examples can be summed up as a philosophy of technology.

Where and How: A Philosophy of Adaptation

What this means is that while the specific skills and hot-button applications of the day may change, if you are aware of the conceptual issues of ever-accelerating technology, then you will be prepared to offer solutions to your employer. The most encouraging observation here is that when new technology enters the marketplace, most everyone is on the same playing field in terms of experience with that skill, which is the reason many employers are forgoing certifications in favor of a faster response with established employees who do not hold the certification.

So while adaptability is a universally adored virtue in pretty much any profession, it is of particular importance to IT professionals in 2019. Simply by keeping your eye to the future, and committing the necessary time to skill development, can you leapfrog over your competitors. So we’ve looked at what types of skills are being most valued currently in tech markets, and how to approach the subject, so a final consideration is the ‘where’.

Many professionals will be eager to leverage skill sets with their existing employer, however others may be interested in where the greatest potential is for return on their skills. And surprisingly, the answer is not New York City or San Francisco; sure these cities are commonplace when thinking hotbeds of technology markets in America, however, they have been popular for so long that the cost of living and market saturation has lowered the financial return on taking your skills there.

Instead, take a look at 3 of the best places to take your IT skills as reported by Marketwatch. First up is the two cities of Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, which is quickly gaining recognition as the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. With a local economy notoriously receptive to startups, the area is a hotbed for new technology, and thus is a prime location to either develop or cash-in on your IT skill sets. The Nebraska Angels is a network of over 60 active venture capitalists who invest in tech startups within the state, which also makes it an excellent avenue for professionals with entrepreneurial aspirations for their skills.

The second area of note is the Huntsville-Bermingham region of Alabama where investing in technology infrastructure is no new trend, having been core to State philosophy since Nasa established operations there in the 1950s. In 2017 Huntsville was earned the title of number one fastest-growing tech city by ZipRecruiter and according to Bloomberg, also boasts the third most technical workforce in the country.

The third place to consider is another contender for the Silicon of the Midwest, which is Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines is a particularly interesting case for young IT professionals, as after a widely successful state campaign to recruit and attract millennials it is now officially the fastest growing city in the midwest. Other recent accolades that demonstrate its value to IT professionals are its listing as one of the best places for entrepreneurs to live in 2017 by Livability, and then ranked as among top cities for tech hiring.

With the future set only to bring more and more technology, the horizon offers more opportunities for IT professionals than ever before. And whether it is the knowing the skill set itself, or knowing how to think of the technology trends that value them, or where to best make use of them, hopefully this article will serve as a springboard in preparing you.

Author's Bio: 

Entrepreneur, Psychologist, and Writer with Mox Page