March 19, 2019 • Van Williams

Tech Skills That Will Increase Your Value Without Breaking the Bank


Did you know that employers are willing to pay higher wages for over 500 technical skills that don’t require a certification? It’s not surprising that a career in IT offers some of the highest-paying opportunities available. However, keeping up with the constant changes in the technology industry can be challenging. While you’ll probably want at least a few entry-level IT certifications to get started in the field and distinguish yourself from other job seekers, your IT career doesn’t depend on certifications alone. In fact, a lot of tech managers prefer IT candidates with hands-on experience over a list of credentials.

That’s good news, because investing in advanced certifications can be an expensive endeavor. Instead of emptying your bank account to get certified, consider learning one of the following non-certified tech skills. According to Foote Partners’ most recent IT Skills and Certification Pay Index, all these skills grew in market value during the first part of 2018 and are on track to increase in 2019. Developing these affordable tech skills will allow you to increase your value without additional expense.

Risk Analytics and Assessment

In businesses across many industries, the study and evaluation of risk is a key focus in 2019. Thanks in part to regular news stories about data breaches, fraud, and corruption, the field of risk analytics and assessment is entering its prime. As computing power and analytical techniques have grown, businesses can now develop profound and useful insights from their vast mountains of data. However, they need skilled employees who can incorporate these insights and information to better identify and alleviate risk.

Preventing the misappropriation of assets, bribery and fraud, theft of data, and money laundering are top-of-mind issues for the financial services, government and utility industries. In fact, according to the aforementioned Foote Partners’ report, the global fraud detection and prevention market is expected to grow from $16.62 billion to $41.59 billion by 2022.  That’s some serious market potential and opens the door to increased demand for the non-certified tech skills that can support this growth.

As a result of this market expansion, tech employees with risk assessment skills can expect a pay premium of 17 percent of their base salary. Learning about predictive and adaptive analytic techniques, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and big data all improve your ability to assess risk and prevent fraud. Developing these affordable skills is one of the best ways to increase your value and expand your IT career opportunities.


You might not have heard this term before, but you probably have heard about blockchain technology. While blockchain is best known in relation to Bitcoin, the technology actually has applications far beyond the financial services sector. Secure databases by design, blockchain systems are great for recording transactions, managing identity and proving origin. Essentially a shared digital ledger, blockchain technology has the potential to completely transform the way organizations conduct business.

Previously, building blockchain applications required a background in coding, cryptography, and mathematics; skills that were expensive and time consuming to develop. However, Ethereum, the most popular open-source, public platform for blockchain-based distributed computing, is quickly changing the technology. Giving developers the tools to build decentralized applications, blockchain systems are being created and deployed faster than ever.

If you want to get into the blockchain game, learning how to build apps on Ethereum is the best place to start. This affordable tech skill will also increase your value with pay premiums of 16 percent on base salaries.


Most of us are familiar with the use of encryption and decryption to send coded messages and information. Cryptography efforts during WWII, for example, are particularly well known. Today, cryptography is on the frontlines of a new battle: the fight over cybersecurity. Designing algorithms, authentication systems, and code that can’t be compromised, cryptosystems are used to guarantee security while still providing certain functionalities.

Some of the best-known cryptography systems and programs include RSA encryption, Schnorr signature, and PGP, while more complex cryptosystems involve signcryption and electronic cash. Free training courses on cryptography are available online, and developing these tech skills is certain to increase your marketability. In fact, cryptography is currently undergoing a bit of a resurgence. The skillset has doubled in value since 2010 and, according to the Foote Partners’ IT Index, has one of the highest market value increases of all non-certified tech skills.

Data Governance

The last few years have seen a significant rise in the adoption of data governance systems, yet some people still believe that data governance is only focused on data quality management. In reality, data governance is the overall availability, usability, integrity, and security of data. As unstructured data has grown and new regulations like the GDPR and CCAR have taken effect, the data governance market has boomed, growing from $1.3 billion in 2018 to an expected value of $3.5 billion by 2023.

For IT employees looking to expand their influence and improve business insights, data governance and data warehousing skills are a great asset. To learn more about collecting and managing data from varied sources, you can start by exploring a Data Warehousing Tutorial. While the technical skills needed for data governance range from data storage and assessment to data use and protection, soft skills like communication and persuasion are also important. With a market value increase of almost 7 percent in the first half of 2018, data governance is proving to be an affordable tech skill with a bright future in 2019.

Looking for a position where you can utilize your unique tech skillset? Our team can help you find the perfect opportunity.


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