The programming skills bringing the dollar bills

Natali Vlatko
Cash image via Shutterstock

The annual Salary Survey from has arrived, and with it, the skills you need to perfect in order to make the big bucks. Cassandra, Java and JavaScript pros – you’re in for a surprise.

The 2015 Salary Survey from tech-job site has revealed the hottest tech salary trends, from top salaries by job title to the tech skills you need to bag a six-figure paycheck.

After surveying 23,470 IT professionals, Dice were able to narrow down the highest-paying tech skills and highlight what we already know about getting that dream job: experience counts too.

Salaries are on the rise

It’s no surprise that tech salaries have been on a steady increase for some time now, with the upward trend set to continue. While salaries rose slightly, satisfaction with wages declined. Half (52%) of the technology professionals surveyed were satisfied with their compensation in 2014, down from 54 percent in 2013.

Shravan Goli, President of Dice, commented on the salary satisfaction slump:

As demand for technology professionals rises and highly-skilled talent is harder to find, the pressure is being reflected where it counts: paychecks. Still, tech pros are less happy with their earnings, signaling to companies that in order to recruit and retain the best candidates, offering more will be necessary.

In order to chase a better wage, 37% of those surveyed anticipated changing employers in 2015, with other factors also influencing their decision:

  • 44% want better working conditions
  • 33% want more responsibility
  • 18% want a shorter commute
  • 17% anticipate losing their current position

The top motivators in tech are also somewhat revealing, with Dice asking its IT dudes: “What was the primary motivator your employer provided you in 2014?” While increased compensation made the cut, more interesting and challenging assignments also garnered a mention, along with flexible working hours and the anticipation of a new title or promotion.

The skills at the top of the game

Moment of epic realisation: working with open-source software can earn you a six-figure salary – that is, if you’re a developer who’s head-to-toe deep in Cassandra, the free and open source NoSQL database. Cassandra comes in at number 2 in the top 10 highest paying tech skills, with an estimated worth of $128,646 per annum.

If you’re expecting Java or JavaScript to be amongst the higher ranks, then prepare to be disappointed: they don’t even make the Top 100. However, that isn’t to say Java devs are slumming it, with salaries still netting six-figures with $102,889 per year. JavaScript fairs a little lower, coming in at $94,346. Wondering about Angular? It clocks $103,006 per annum.

The top spot goes to Platform as a Service (PaaS), which peaks at $130,081 per year. With cloud computing a huge trend right now in app development, every tech vendor and hosting company wants in on the action. MapReduce rounds out the trifecta, with the rest of the top 10 looking like this:

  1. PaaS – $130,081 p/a
  2. Cassandra – $128,646 p/a
  3. MapReduce – $127,315 p/a
  4. Cloudera – $126,816 p/a
  5. HBase – $126,369 p/a
  6. Pig – $124,563 p/a
  7. ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) – $124,262 p/a
  8. Chef – $123,458 p/a
  9. Flume – $123,186 p/a
  10. Hadoop – $121,313 p/a

The report also touches on the negotiating process when looking at overall salaries, advising recruiters and managers to dig deep into skills benchmarking. When skills such as Ruby on Rails, Javascript, Ember.js, Node.js, jQuery, CSS and Bootstrap are seen as must-haves, an offer should take these skills into account, with the report suggesting that recruiters could push the salary range for said position in that geographical market:

The negotiation process will go smoothly when you do your homework and are open and upfront with your salary range. Keep in mind: candidates with in-demand skills are well aware of their market value and will likely want to negotiate if they feel they can do better.

Several new tech skills were also added to the survey that didn’t feature in last year’s report: PaaS, Chef and Flume are among them, which shot straight to the top of the tech-skill salary rankings. Other notable mentions go to Solr, Arista and Redis, coming in at 17th, 25th and 46th respectively.

The full 2015 Salary Survey features a breakdown of U.S. tech salaries by state, top salaries by job title (spoiler: IT Management) and the top tech metros. Read the rest of it here.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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