Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, instant messaging was quickly becoming a primary internal communication channel for organizations of every size and type. For companies distributed across multiple time-zones, the ability for employees to send asynchronous, secure messages is especially vital. As a result, technologists who have the ability to build out and help maintain enterprise-caliber message systems can command strong compensation. 

So just how much demand are we looking at? According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, jobs that involve enterprise messaging will grow 8 percent over the next 10 years, where “enterprise messaging” is defined as “a set of published enterprise-wide standards that allows organizations to send semantically precise messages between computer systems.” That’s applications talking to applications, in other words. 

Burning Glass suggests that the median salary for technologists specializing in enterprise messaging is $97,000 per year. With experience, that salary rises quite a bit, as demonstrated by the following chart: 

Enterprise messaging remains a very specialized segment, as you can see from this breakdown of how many technologist roles ask for skills related to it (however, these percentages may enjoy some healthy growth in years ahead): 

With Burning Glass, we can also expand the definition of “enterprise messaging” to include business-oriented social networking platforms and tools designed for workers to communicate with one another (such as Yammer, RSS, SMS, UCCX, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and more). When we focus on tools which can be defined as “human messaging,” the predicted number of related jobs increases to 32.3 percent over the next 10 years. 

A Complex Job 

From a user perspective, secure text messaging seems like a straightforward concept—you send a note from your smartphone or PC, and a colleague receives it. On the backend, however, it’s enormously complicated, especially in a business context. For starters, technologists who specialize in this arena must ensure that all messages are encrypted when in transit via public networks. 

As part of the encryption issue, technologists must ensure that the platform can authenticate senders and content, in order to prevent any nefarious actors from interfering with messages while in transit. These kinds of security concerns impact device-to-device or application-to-application communication as much as human messaging. 

Beyond that, enterprise messaging involves all the complications of consumer-based messaging: efficient routing between parties, and policies over who can read what. For example, defense firms that build highly secure platforms for clients such as the Department of Defense must ensure that only people with the right security clearance can receive and read certain messages by default. In a similar vein, companies that deal with highly sensitive information (such as medical-devices firms) must ensure their systems are secure enough to transfer patient data in a way that conforms with the law. 

Fortunately, many of the platforms that allow sysadmins, IT managers, and network administrators to set up these services also have administration dashboards that allow granular control over the various aspects of security and policy. But as with any complex platform, it’s key that technologists working on these systems work out precisely what they want to achieve before implementation.