These are the 10 skills to learn if you want to advance in a career
In the tech industry, as in life, change is the only constant.
Whether you're just starting out, you're angling for a better gig, or you're just trying to thrive right where you are, it's important that you're up-to-date with the latest technologies — or else you may already be behind the curve, as the hot new tech du jour replaces the old and busted.
"We see technologies being replaced by new technologies," says Julia Silge, a data scientist with Stack Overflow, the online hangout where programmers go to ask each other questions and find new careers.
On Thursday, Stack Overflow is releasing its ranking of the technologies for which demand by employers grew the fastest between 2015 and 2016, as told by the job postings on the Stack Overflow Careers site. The report also includes a few technologies that shrunk over the same period.
If you're trying to stay fresh and hone the right programming skills, these are the technologies to focus on:
Here's the chart showing the overall trends from the last year. You may notice one big theme: Demand for cloud computing skills is growing mightily. Stack Overflow's Julia Silge says it's a reflection of the increased complexity of the modern IT department.
Here's a breakdown of the fastest-growing skills:
#10: Automated tests — In a world where Facebook or Google are constantly updating their websites behind the scenes as often as twice a day, there's a high demand for developers who are skilled at the tools for automating software testing and finding bugs before they get in front of users.
#9: Go — Invented at Google for its own large-scale systems, Go is a programming language designed to build software that's stable and resilient.
A poster in Facebook's Tokyo HQ. Business Insider
#8: DevOps — This one's a little esoteric. But a few years ago, the DevOps movement sprung up as a push to put developers (the dev part) and operations (ops, the people who manage servers) a little closer. Companies like Facebook and Google use DevOps techniques and tools to constantly "ship" code.
#7: Microsoft Azure — Microsoft's cloud computing platform lets customers pay by the minute for access to fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power. While it's still the #2 cloud overall to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure is gaining tons of ground in larger businesses.
#6: Quality Assurance (QA) — Automation will only take you far enough, and sometimes you need real humans to methodically test software and make informed, insightful reports back.
#5: Systems Administrators — As software keeps on eating the world, demand has never been higher for people who can work with the IT department to wrangle servers and software.
#4: Apache Spark — Spark is a tool for analyzing lots and lots of data at high speed. As companies begin to invest in the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, Spark plays a key role.
#3: Ansible — When you're hosting lots of servers in a public cloud platform like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or the Google Cloud, it's hard to manage all of them. Tools like Ansible let developers set up a configuration and quickly clone it everywhere.
#2: Docker — It's currently a boom time in Silicon Valley for so-called "software containers," a technology that lets you move code between your own laptop and massive cloud platforms. And Docker is very much the standard.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook
Wang He/Getty Images
As for the skills that are sinking, including JQuery and WordPress...it's a sign that, especially when it comes to building software for the web, things are changing fast, and you need to keep up.
And as a bonus, here's Stack Overflow's advice for job-seekers, taken from a blog: "The areas showing the highest demand relative to the number of developers available (in other words, the demand heavily outweighs the supply of qualified candidates in these fields) are backend web/cloud, iOS, Android, and DBA/SQL [databases]."