There are many routes to success in technology. The startup founder route may be the most mythologized, but countless professionals can earn their ticket in technology if they have the right skillset.

Indeed, great technology leaders often combine more than one of these skill sets, and many of the greatest are those who combine tech skills with business savvy. There are five particular, needed skillset areas that standout now. Master them, and it will dramatically improve your chances of earning a place in the tech world, or enhancing one you already have:

1. IT Architecture

"IT architecture" hardly sounds sexy, but it underlies almost all major successful projects. Tech companies - large and small - are particularly interested in enterprise architects, as enterprise software continues to become more important.

"Currently we see a massive demand for in this order of greatest to least: Data Engineers, Front End Web Developers, Machine Learning (programing in R) hands on VP of Eng with scrum experience," said Tiffany Roesler, CEO of the technology recruiting firm Is Possible in Tech.

2. Cloud Security

Software and cloud security, once viewed as impossible by proponents of the social share revolution, has become vital. Large companies, which once outsourced most of their IT security to large firms like Symantec and their programs, are relying more and more on building in-house cloud security teams to take ownership of protecting their data.

3. Programming

Although the app creation space isn't as hot from the startup side as it was a couple years ago, many mid-size and larger companies are looking to upgrade their apps in order to make them functional, constant use offerings rather than mobile gimmicks. Enterprise apps are also significantly growing in demand; both as startups and from corporations building more and more internal applications. Programmers with proficiency in more than one language, as well as iOS specialists, are in particularly high demand.

"While salaries for each of these positions are not dramatically different (depending more on individual skill level and past experience), we hire 5x to 10x more programmers than cloud security, IT architecture or project management positions. But technical skills, of course, are just one part of our hiring criteria; mission and culture fit also make a huge difference!," said Justin McLeod, CEO of Hinge.

4. Data Analytics

The future and the "Internet of Things" belong firmly to data. Ultimately, the future of most successful startups will be determined by how well they garner their users' data, and what they learn from it, while still protecting their users' privacy. This is a skill-set whose demand will not go away anytime soon; even if the startup bubble bursts, data analytics will still be a very high demand skill-set.

Full stack is where the highest demand is at (both architecture and programming) and competent cybersecurity is hard to find.  More and more professional services companies are finding data analysts to be more relevant as well," said Chris Steer, a partner at the recruiting firm Entrequest.

5. Project Management

As many burgeoning startups get bigger, they are expanding into multiple businesses and product lines. In particular, many companies that started as single-app ideas are now pushing the envelope hard to evolve into businesses that have multiple product channels and can develop their own ecosystems. This has made project managers, particularly those who are businesspeople first but 'speak the language' of software engineers, an ever-more in demand position.

Published on: Feb 18, 2016