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If you’re looking to boost your market value, advance your career, and earn more money in the coming year, the best advice is to follow the money.

Specifically, CIOs’ long-term investments in cloud services, cyber and information security and Big Data/data analytics have boosted the fortunes of professionals who possess subject-specific skills and knowledge over the past 12 months, according to the IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index from Foote Partners LLC. And next year promises a lot more of the same.

However, perhaps the biggest “a-ha!” moment from Foote Partners’ recent surveys is the fact that employers are beginning to offer premium pay not only for hard skills, but soft skills too, according to chief analyst David Foote.

“With companies shifting to hybrid or remote work models and adapting their cultures, they are prioritizing soft skills over technical skills when they interview candidates and award premium pay,” Foote said. In response to the trend, Foote Partners will start tracking the value of in-demand soft skills in 2023.

As of October, here are the roles and skills that gained (and lost) value over the last 12 months and are positioned to continue down the same path in 2023.

Jobs and Skills Trending Upward

Cloud

The migration toward the cloud is driving up the demand for cloud network architects, DevOps engineers, cloud developers, cloud engineers and cloud security professionals.

In fact, spending on public cloud services soared in 2022, and Gartner projects that it will increase 21 percent to $592 billion in 2023. As a result, the market value for the 111 non-certified cloud skills tracked by Foote Partners increased 3.2 percent on average over the past 12 months, earning average pay premiums equivalent to 10.7 percent of base salary. The non-certified skills earning pay premiums of 16 percent to 19 percent include:

Even better, the 90 cloud-related certifications tracked by the firm are bucking the overall downward trend for tech certs, gaining 0.7 percent in market value over the past 12 months. The certifications earning pay premiums of 10 percent to 11 percent include:

Information/Cybersecurity

Despite the best efforts of cyber professionals, millions of records were exposed worldwide through data breaches during the third quarter of 2022, a 37 percent increase from the previous quarter. Given the ongoing threats and investments to thwart cybercrime, it’s no wonder that security architects and IT security managers as well as developers and other technologists with extensive cybersecurity knowledge appear well-positioned to come out ahead in 2023, even if the economy slumps.

The market value of the 53 non-certified security skills tracked Foote partners increased 3.7 percent on average over the past 12 months, with security auditing, security architecture and models and Azure Key Vault garnering 19 percent pay premiums.

The top paying certs, Okta Certified Developer, Infosys Security Engineering Professional and GIAC Security Expert (GSE), all garnered premium pay equivalent to 12 percent of base salary.

Data Analytics and Engineering

With a booming growth rate of 30.7 percent, the global big data analytics market is  projected to be worth $346.24 billion by 2030, boosting the fortunes of data engineers, business analysts and data analysts.

In fact, the market value of the 141 non-certified big data related skills tracked by Foote Partners increased 2 percent on average over the past 12 months, with Big Data analytics, bioinformatics, data engineering, data strategy and data architecture garnering pay premiums ranging from 18 percent to 20 percent.

Although the 70 big data-related certifications decreased an average 2.35 percent in market value over the past 12 months, they continue to garner average pay premiums of 7.2 percent, making them well worth the investment. Moreover, the leaders, SAS Certified Professional: AI and Machine Learning and AWS Certified Data Analytics – Specialty, are commanding 10 percent premiums above base pay.

Customer/User Experience/Design

The past year has also seen customer/user experience grow in importance as competition in a softening economy heats up, Foote explained: “Customers have gotten savvier and now expect a seamless experience.”

When you consider that businesses receive $100 in return for every dollar spent on providing a good experience, it’s easy to see why UI/UX designers with exceptional skills are in such high demand.

The non-certified skills growing in market value and commanding premium pay ranging from 13 percent to 15 percent of base salary include user experience/user interface, user-centered design, usability research/human factors research and user acceptance testing.

Soft Skills

Showing inclusivity in the workplace or displaying excellent collaboration, time management, listening, stress management or presentation skills or taking an automation-minded approach to problem-solving and ownership can potentially increase your current income or even earn you a promotion. Bottom line: companies are hiring for soft skills and training for hard skills.

Digital Transformation

Enveloping all of the above trends is the ubiquity of digital transformation. The sheer number of projects is driving up the demand… and the market value of project managers and program managers.

The market value of the 143 non-certified digital-related skills tracked by the firm increased 3.5 percent on average over the past 12 months, and are earning an average cash pay premium equivalent to 12.1 percent of base salary. The 38 digital-related certifications have increased an average 4.2 percent so far in 2022 and are commanding average premium pay equivalent to 7.6 percent of base salary.

Jobs and Skills Trending Downward

Programming

Not all programmers will see their market value continue to slide. But thanks to the rise of low-code/no-code solutions there will be fewer jobs for people who formerly coded repetitive and ubiquitous functions.

SEO Optimization Experts

Plugins and tools are taking over, decreasing the demand for SEO specialists. Going forward, SEO will be part of a larger role.

Systems Administration

With cloud and SaaS solutions becoming normalized software delivery platforms in businesses, the need for administrators and systems experts is lessening.

Database Administration

Between the cloud and improved databases, much of the work that DBAs used to do has transferred to other areas or is being handled by data engineers.

Quality Assurance

Software QA is being increasingly done by developers and continues to be automated, causing pure QA as we’ve known it in the past to go away.