Main image of article Tech Unemployment Ticked Upward in June

The tech unemployment rate hit 2.3 percent in June, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s a small but notable increase from May, when the rate was 2 percent. (Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent last month.)

“The usual balancing act of weighing short-term monthly fluctuations in the data with longer-term projections comes into play,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a note accompanying the firm’s analysis of the BLS data. “The latest tech employment figures do lag some, but the underlying fundamentals remain unchanged. All signs point to a continuation of the growth trajectory for the tech workforce.”

Within the tech sector itself, the job count increased by 5,348 in June. Top occupation categories included IT and custom software services and systems design, PC, semi-conductor and components manufacturing, cloud infrastructure, and data processing and hosting. In other words, from hardware manufacturers to data-analysis firms, companies everywhere still need specialized tech talent for a variety of projects. 

If you’re just breaking into tech for the first time—or looking to change specialties within the profession—keep in mind that certain in-demand specializations can translate into big pay bumps. Analyst firm Foote Partners’ IT Skills Demand and Pay Trends Report, released quarterly, recently broke down some tech skills with the largest pay premiums, including (but not limited to) data architecture, DevSecOps, security architecture, site reliability engineering, risk analytics, and DataOps.

Mastering highly specialized tools and programming languages can likewise unlock hefty pay. According to the latest Dice Tech Salary Report’s breakdown of the highest-paying technologies, top-paying tech includes MapReduce (average annual salary: $146,672), Golang ($145,672), Elasticsearch ($143,619), and Chef ($143,188). Many of these languages, tools, and platforms help tech professionals build out vital cloud and data infrastructure—the tech spine of many a modern enterprise.