What Are the Next Big Developer Skills?

The latest data from Dice suggests that employers want software developers who’re experts in well-established technologies such as .NET , C++ , and HTML . But IT is a rapidly evolving field, which begs the question—what will the employers of tomorrow want, skills-wise, from developers?

Before taking a stab at that question, it’s worth examining the particular skills currently in demand by employers. On Dice, hiring managers searched thousands of times between January 1 and April 15 of this year for software developers, engineers, architects and leads. Of the most sought-after skills and qualifications for those roles, the top 40 included: 1. Java / J2EE 2. .NET 3. C++ 4. C# 5. Senior 6. SQL 7. HTML 8. C 9. Web 10. Linux 11. WPF 12. JavaScript 13. SDLC 14. Python 15. Test, Tester, Testing 16. Embedded 17. ASP.NET 18. Oracle 19. HTML5 20. PHP 21. SharePoint 22. Unix 23. RWD 24. Mobile 25. Ruby 26. Security 27. Database 28. XML 29. Perl 30. Agile 31. Android 32. CSS 33. Computer Science 34. Network 35. iOS 36. Websphere 37. Spring 38. QA 39. MVC 40.

“Today’s biggest needs surround the core, but it will change as the next generation of technologies realize their promise,” wrote Shravan Goli, president of Dice. What are those next-generation technologies? Let’s take a look at some emerging trends: Wearable Electronics: If the rise of smartphones helped define the last decade, the nascent field of wearable electronics—including “smart watches,” as well as bracelets and earbuds capable of measuring biometrics—could very well influence how we live and work over the next 10 years. If those electronics transform into a burgeoning market on the scale of tablets or smartphones, thousands of app developers could profit from building software for even tinier screens, or even no screens at all. Wearable electronics could present some fascinating UI puzzles for anyone willing to take them on. For example, what’s the ideal icon for conveying to a “smart bracelet” wearer that they have 10 urgent emails waiting for them? Can you build a map for display on the inside of a sunglass lens that doesn’t distract a driver from the road? The tech pro capable of executing on such ideas (and many more) may profit immensely in this category.

Internet of Things”: Manufacturers will produce just over 6 billion Internet-enabled devices in 2014, and the general expectation is that billions more will appear over the next several years. Picture all those devices streaming data back to companies for analysis, and you’ll have some idea of the opportunities that await those developers and engineers with expertise in sensors, embedded systems , and Big Data applications capable of digesting unstructured data generated by hardware in the “real world.” Substantial investment in “Internet of Things” startups has already begun .

Drones and Robots: Google has acquired seven robotics firms over the past twelve months. Facebook is reportedly interested in flying drones that can help extend the Internet to the developing world. Tech firms’ interest in weaving robots and drones into the fabric of everyday life could generate jobs in everything from robotics design and engineering to software support . In other words, this Top 40 list could look very different in a few years.

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What Are the Next Big Developer Skills?