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38 tech skills that will land you a $120,000-plus salary

There’s no question that the tech industry is filled with high-paying jobs. But it’s also an ever-changing job market. One day a skill is hot and the next it’s not.

Job site Dice.com recently published its 2016 Salary Survey, which named the highest-paying tech skills.

Dice surveyed 16,301 IT professionals in the fall of 2015 to come up with this list.

Of course, skills alone won’t always guarantee a high salary. Work experience counts, too. But if you’re considering which skills to flaunt on a resume, or which new skills to learn this year, this list is a very good place to start.

No. 38: Matlab is worth $120,182

Mathworks at Texas State University/Facebook

MatLab is a programming language from MathWorks that is popular with engineers and scientists worldwide. MathWorks is a company that makes computer software for the engineers and scientists.

Pay for jobs involving MatLab has climbed 17.8% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 37: MicroStrategy is worth $120,184

MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor

MicroStrategy is a company that makes analytics software, a category of software that used to be called 'business intelligence' but now is called 'big data.'

All things big data are in vogue and there's high demand for people who can write enterprise apps built on various MicroStrategy products.

Pay for jobs involving MicroStrategy has climbed 10.2% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 36: Groovy is worth $120,484

Groovy-language.org

Groovy is a programming language that builds on the strengths of the popular Java programming language but has additional features inspired by other popular languages like Python and Ruby.

Groovy makes it easier for Java developers to write apps using these updated programming techniques.

Pay for Groovy-related jobs has climbed almost 12.4% over last year, Dice says.

No. 35: HP-UX is worth $120,930

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

HP-UX is Hewlett Packard's version of the UNIX operating system.

It is used to power HPE's most powerful servers that typically run a company's most important business applications, such as databases.

Pay for jobs involving HP-UX has climbed 13% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 34: Jetty is worth $121,525

Eclipse.org

Jetty is software for web applications written in the popular computer programming language, Java.

While such software is usually used to serve websites and apps to people over the internet, Jetty has become popular for machine-to-machine communications, often within a larger software app.

Machines connected to the internet is a huge trend and a growing part of the internet, known by the term 'Internet of Things.'

Pay for jobs involving Jetty has climbed 7.5% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 33: PMBok is worth $121,731

Project Management Institute

PMBOK stands for 'Project Management Body of Knowledge' and it is embodied in a book produced by the Project Management Institute, home of many certifications for project managers.

PMBOK is essentially a system of project management.

Pay for jobs involving PMBOK has climbed 8.5% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 32: Informix is worth $123,023

Informix users group

Informix is a database owned by IBM that is making a resurgence in popularity.

That's because IBM has revamped it for the 'Internet of Things' market, a fast-growing new tech sector. IoT is where everyday objects get sensors and join the internet.

Pay for jobs involving Informix has climbed 19.6% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 31: Hbase is worth $122,386

Apache Software Foundation

Hbase is one of many projects based on the popular Hadoop technology.

Hadoop is a way to store all kinds of data across many low-cost computer servers. Once that data is stored using the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Hbase can sort through that data and group bits of data together, somewhat similar to how a traditional database organizes data.

Although Hbase remains a high-paying skill, pay for Hbase-associated jobs declined -3.2 over last year, Dice says.

No. 30: Hibernate is worth $123,948

Hybernate.org

Hibernate is a popular tool for the Java programming language that helps Java applications work better with databases.

Hibernate is free software. Its creator, Gavin King, works for open source software giant Red Hat. That means Hibernate is included in one of Red Hat's more popular software products, JBOSS.

Pay for Hibernate-associated jobs has climbed 10.7% over last year, Dice says.

No. 29: Korn shell is worth $123,738

Korn shell is a scripting language used with the Unix and Linux operating system.

Both of these operating systems are often used for a company's most important applications.

Pay for jobs involving Korn has climbed 10.4% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 28: Redis is worth $122,023

Redis.org

Redis is a very popular open source project that allows programmers to store important information in a computer's memory, where it can be accessed almost instantaneously.

Programmers use it for databases, or to cache frequently-accessed data, or to handle messages between apps.

No. 27: Solr is worth $124,036

Apache Software Foundation

Solr is a free and open-source enterprise search platform that is extremely popular with large websites.

Some of its users include eHarmony, StubHub, and Best Buy, plus many others.

Pay for big Solr-associated jobs has climbed 5.7% over last year, Dice says.

No. 26: Documentum is worth $124,138

EMC Documentum is an 'enterprise content management' system, meaning it lets enterprises store and search for all kinds of documents.

While big-data options like Hadoop are the new-age way of dealing with data, Documentum remains a popular tool in industries that still use a lot of paper or electronic forms, like legal, medical, insurance, and so on.

Pay for Documentum jobs has climbed 8.4% over last year, Dice says.

No. 25: CMMI is worth $124,265

CMMI is a sophisticated method for performance management. It helps companies predict costs, create schedules, and ensure quality.

There's a whole CMMI culture that can train someone on the CMMI models and how to use them.

Pay for CMMI-associated jobs has climbed 7.6% over last year, Dice says.

No. 24: webMethods is worth $125,292

Software AG

webMethods is a product from Software AG known as a 'middleware.'

It's a server that lets a company host all kinds of other software services. It's famous for what's known as 'integration' services, such as mapping one kind of software format to another, or running application programming interfaces that let two apps talk to each other.

Pay for webMethods jobs has climbed 14% over last year, Dice says.

No. 23: ABAP is worth $125,589

SAP founder and chairman, Hasso Plattner

ABAP stands for the 'Advanced Business Application Programming' and it's the software language developed by SAP used for building business applications on top of SAP's software.

SAP makes a very popular suite of financial applications and it's been pushing into mobile apps and the database market. Businesses often want to write custom apps that make use of the data stored in SAP. Developers also write commercial apps for SAP.

Pay for ABAP-associated jobs has climbed 1% over last year, Dice says.

No. 22: Netezza is worth $126,035

Netezza is a big data analytics device that IBM bought in 2010 for $1.78 billion.

Its particular niche is an area of big-data called enterprise data warehouses. That's where a company stores massive amounts of information in one machine, and not spread across many machines as other big-data technologies (like Hadoop) often do.

Pay for Netezza-associated jobs has climbed over 13% over last year, Dice says.

No. 21: Docker is worth $126,131

Docker
Docker founder and CTO Solomon Hykes.

Docker is a hot startup that has created a technology called 'containers' that programmers love.

Containers allow a developer to set up all the conditions a program needs from the computers and infrastructure it will run on, such as controlling memory, CPU, and disk usage.

And then, when the program moves from the programmer's computer to a cloud computing service, all that stuff is setup and the program performs well.

This is the first time that Docker has landed on Dice's hottest skills list.

No. 20: R is worth $126,249

(image url='http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a7/Mandelbrot_Creation_Animation.gif/400px-Mandelbrot_Creation_Animation.gif' link='lightbox' size='secondary' align='right' nocrop='true' clear='true')Companies these days are all about saving hoards of 'big data' and then analysing them for insights, a field called 'analytics.'
R is the language of choice for that sort of thing, for statistical analysis and graphics/visualisation. And it's seeing a huge surge in popularity.

Pay for R-associated jobs climbed 9.7% over last year, Dice says.

The Mandelbrot image, above, was written in R.

No. 19: SOA is worth $127,268

SOA is actually an old term for a software concept that's grown more popular thanks to cloud computing.

It stands for 'service-oriented architecture' and practitioners of it write their code in small bites, making little 'services' that can be shared among multiple apps. Instead of every cloud app needing its own way of dealing with passwords, for instance, a 'password service' can be shared by many.

Pay for SOA-associated jobs has climbed over 7% over last year, Dice says.

No. 18: Fortran is worth $127,359

IBM
IBM100 - System 360

Fortran is a really old computer language, birthed in the days when computers used punch cards, and it rose to fame during the mainframe era.

But mainframes haven't exactly died, and people knowledgeable about Fortran are harder and harder to find. Fortran is still in wide use in science and research areas.

Pay for Fortran-associated jobs has climbed 24% over last year, Dice says.

No. 17: OmniGraffle is worth $127,392

OmniGraffle is a diagramming tool just for Macs and iOS -- like the Mac version of Microsoft Visio.

It may seem odd that such a tool could be a high-paying skill. But it's also a popular tool for complex diagramming tasks like website wireframes and graphic design.

Pay for OmniGraffle-associated jobs has climbed 11% over last year, Dice says.

No. 16: SDN is worth $127,464

VMware
VMware's Martin Casado is considered the father of SDN

SDN stands for software-defined networks and it's a new way to build corporate networks. It relies on software to do many of the function that used to be done by networking hardware switches and routers.

SDN technology is being offered by every major network hardware provider, by a slew of startups, and by VMware. It's an especially popular way to handle the networking part of a cloud computing data center.

Pay for SDN-related jobs has climbed 12% over last year, Dice says.

No. 15: UML is worth $128,198

A collage of UML diagrams.

Software today is really complicated.

Enter the Unified Modelling Language (UML). This is a visual language for turning complex software designs into an easier-to-understand diagram.

Pay for UML-associated jobs has climbed 12% over last year, Dice says,

No. 14: Hadoop is worth $128,888

Doug Cutting, who created Hadoop while at Yahoo, now works for Cloudera

Hadoop is a super important technology at the center of the whole 'big data' craze.

Hadoop is open source software used to gather and store vast amounts of data and analyse it on low-cost commodity hardware. For instance, banks may use Hadoop for fraud detection, and online shopping services could use it to analyse customers' buying patterns.

Pay for Hadoop-associated jobs has climbed 6% over last year, Dice says.

No. 13: Hive is worth $129,400

Apache Software Foundation

Hive is another skill in high demand because of the big data craze and the popularity of a tech called Hadoop.

Hadoop is a way to store all kinds of data across many low-cost computer servers. Hive provides a way to extract information from Hadoop using the same kind of traditional methods used by regular databases. (In geek speak: it gives Hadoop a database query interface).

Pay for Hive-associated jobs has climbed 7% over last year, Dice says.

No. 12: NoSQL is worth $130,290

MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria
Dev Ittycheria, CEO of noSQL database maker MongoDB

NoSQL is a new kind of database that is part of the big data phenomenon.

NoSQL has sometimes been called the cloud database. Regular databases need data to be organised. Names and account numbers need to be structured and labelled. But noSQL doesn't care about that. It can work with all kinds of documents.

There are a number of popular noSQL databases including Mongo, Couchbase, and Cassandra.

Pay for noSQL-associated jobs has climbed 9.9% over last year, Dice says.

No. 11: Sqoop is worth $130,865

Sqoop has also become a highly desirable skill thanks to the big data craze.

It's a free and open-source tool that lets you transfer data from popular big-data storage system, Hadoop, into classic relational databases like the ones made by Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.

It's a command-line interface tool, meaning you have to know the commands and type them directly into the system, rather than click on them with a mouse.

Pay for Sqoop-associated jobs has climbed 14.5% over last year, Dice says.

No. 10: TcL is worth $130,906

Electric Cloud
UC Berkley professor John Ousterhout (front blue shirt) created TcL. He poses with his startup team at Electric Cloud

TcL, pronounced 'tickle,' stands for Tool Command Language. It's a scripting language that is both easy to use and powerful. It is open source and known for its helpful community.

Scripts written in TcL can run on Unix, Macs, and Windows devices (including Windows Mobile).

Pay for jobs involving TcL has climbed 17.5% in the last year, Dice says.

No. 9: Puppet is worth $131,121

Puppet Labs
Puppet Labs founder, CEO Luke Kanies

Puppet is 'IT automation' software from Puppet Labs, one of a handful of young companies ushering in a huge new tech trend called 'DevOps.'

DevOps is when the developers creating software ('dev') and the teams responsible for deploying that software ('ops) use speedy techniques so they can deploy technology as fast as it's released.

Puppet helps them automate tasks that keep computer servers running efficiently.

Pay for Puppet-associated jobs has climbed 9.2% over last year, Dice says.

No. 8: MapReduce is worth $131,563

MapReduce has been called 'the heart of Hadoop.'

It's the way that Hadoop stores all kinds of data across many low-cost computer servers. To get meaningful data of Hadoop, a programmer writes software programs (often in the popular language, Java) for MapReduce.

Pay for MapReduce-associated jobs has climbed 3.3% over last year, Dice says.

No. 7: Pig is worth $132,850

Apache Software Foundation

Pig is yet another hot skill thanks to popularity of 'big data' projects based on of a tech called Hadoop.

As we've mentioned, Hadoop is a way to store all kinds of data across many low-cost computer servers. Pig is a programming language that lets you extract information from Hadoop find answers to questions or otherwise use the data.

Pay for Pig-associated jobs has climbed 6.7% over last year, Dice says.

No. 6: Chef is worth $136,850

Chef
Chef Software CEO Barry Crist

Chef is 'IT automation' software from Chef Software, one of a handful of young companies ushering in a huge new tech trend called 'DevOps.'

DevOps is when the developers building applications ('dev') and IT people deploying them (operations or 'ops') work together to use speedy techniques so they can deploy technology as fast as it's released. Chef helps IT professionals automate tasks that keep computer servers running efficiently.

Pay for Chef-associated jobs has climbed 10.8% over last year, Dice says.

No. 5: CloudStack is worth $138,095

cloudstack

Cloud computing is a big trend and there's a battle over the different 'cloud operating systems.'

Several of them are free and open source, but they're mostly built by vendors who want to sell a commercial version along with cloud computing software or equipment.

One such example is CloudStack, run by the Apache Software Foundation (keeper of many open source projects) and backed by Citrix, who sells a commercial version of it.

Pay for CloudStack-associated jobs has climbed 20% over last year, Dice says.

No. 4: OpenStack is worth $138,579

OpenStack

Another free and open source cloud computing operating system is OpenStack, and by most accounts, it's the one that's winning.

Many vendors are supporting it and selling their own commercial versions of it, such as IBM, HP, Red Hat, Ubuntu, lots of others.

Pay for OpenStack-associated jobs has climbed 19.4% over last year, Dice says.

No. 3: PaaS is worth $140,894

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

PaaS, or 'Platform as a Service,' is a type of cloud computing. It's a way to host everything a developer needs to write an app, which, once written, would live on that PaaS cloud.

PaaS is a huge trend right now in app development, with every big tech vendor, every hosting company, and every maker of app development tools looking for game in the PaaS market.

Meanwhile, every programmer is also writing more and more apps for the cloud.

Pay for PaaS-associated jobs has climbed 8.3% over last year, Dice says.

No. 2: Cloudera is worth $142,835

Cloudera cofounder and chief scientist Jeff Hammerbacher

Cloudera is a company that makes an extremely popular commercial version of Hadoop.

Although Hadoop is a free and open-source project for storing large amounts of data on inexpensive computer servers, the free version of Hadoop is not easy to use.

Several companies have created friendlier versions of Hadoop, and Cloudera is arguably the biggest.

Pay for Cloudera-associated jobs has climbed 12.6% over last year, Dice says.

No. 1: Cassandra is worth $147,811

Business Insider
Prashant Malik, creator of Cassandra

Cassandra is a free and open source 'noSQL' database.

That's a kind of database that can handle and store data of different types and sizes of data and it's increasingly the go-to database for mobile and cloud applications. Apple uses Cassandra in a big way to store over 10 petabytes of data. Netflix uses it, too, among many others.

Pay for Cassandra-associated jobs has climbed 14.9% over last year, Dice says.

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