Top Tech Skills to Snag the Perfect Job: 2021 Analysis of 900+ Careers

A deep analysis of tech skills for over 900 jobs based on data derived from the authoritative O*NET OnLine site, including salaries & educational requirements for different industries.

Bart Turczynski
Editor-in-Chief
Top Tech Skills to Snag the Perfect Job: 2021 Analysis of 900+ Careers

Meet Brenda, the coffee shop owner. You see her every day ("One caramel latte, please.") and probably think her job doesn't require many tech skills. And that's where you are wrong. 

 

In the 21st century, it's hard to find a job that doesn't require technical literacy. For Brenda, it's cash register software, accounting applications, and an email client. For you on the other side of the screen, it's at least an Internet browser and MS Office / Google Workplace suite.

 

We at ResumeLab took one for the team and pored over the stats for 900 occupations across more than 500 industries to find the most in-demand tech skills. This wealth of information came from an excellent resource: O*NET OnLine—a comprehensive aggregator of occupational data sponsored by the Department of Labor.

 

Whether you’re just getting started on the employment path or years into your career, you’ll find helpful tips and intel, so you can snag a more lucrative position. 

 

This mammoth data deep dive is delivered to you to equip you with information on:

 

  • Trendiest tech skills for all jobs
  • Job clusters and the relevant tech for each grouping
  • Which jobs have strong projected growth/tons of predicted openings
  • Low prep, decent pay 
  • $$$—top three highest paying jobs and the tech skills needed for them
  • Tips on including tech skills on a resume
  • A decline in STEM—grave risk to our nation

 

technical skills

 

 

Top Tech Skills Across the Board

 

Certain software is needed for most of the jobs out there. Knowing these can be an asset for many jobs. 

 

Of course, every job requires distinct skill sets. For some, tech plays out as running simulations for atomic collisions using gemcWeb, but for others, it means utilizing building information modeling software to create a new home. 

 

For most of us, it’s just spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets.

Of course, if you want to work, or are currently employed in a specialized field, the software you use may not be on this list, but don’t despair!

 

Please do read ahead as we’ll show you the top skills for every career cluster.

 

Top 20 Most Commonly Used Types of Software (and how often it’s required for 900+ jobs)

  1. Spreadsheets—used for 403 jobs
  2. Database user interface and query—used for 334 jobs
  3. Email—used for 259 jobs
  4. Analytical or scientific—used for 188 jobs
  5. Medical—used for 126 jobs
  6. Enterprise resource planning—used for 108 jobs
  7. Computer-aided design—used for 104 jobs
  8. Graphics or photo imaging—used for 104 jobs
  9. Word processing—used for 100 jobs
  10. Office suite—used for 81 jobs
  11. Accounting—used for 64 jobs
  12. Operating system—used for 58 jobs
  13. Development environment—used for 57 jobs
  14. Computer-based training—used for 55 jobs
  15. Project management—used for 52 jobs
  16. Map creation—used for 48 jobs
  17. Object or component oriented development—used for 381 jobs
  18. Industrial control—used for 34 jobs
  19. Web platform development—used for 32 jobs
  20. Internet browser—used for 31 jobs

 

As Spock said, "It is the lot of 'man' to strive no matter how content he is." Keep reading, and you might just want to strive for a new job! 

 

Live Long and Cluster 

 

Occupations can be grouped into career clusters. A cluster is a group of professions in the same field of work that require similar skills. 

 

We analyzed clusters and cross-referenced the top technical skills needed for those groupings. 

 

Knowing your cluster can show a path to other career options. It empowers you to choose the correct educational and professional pathway.

 

Career pathways consist of positions you hold as you grow in your field. You may move vertically up to more advanced positions, or you can move laterally into equal but different roles if you decide to specialize in something else. 

 

The clusters from our analysis: 

 

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources 

 

Pathways: natural resources; environmental, food products & processes; plant; agribusiness; animal; and power, structural & technical systems.

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Database user interface and query—needed for 23% of jobs
  • Spreadsheets—needed for 15% of jobs
  • Analytical or scientific—needed for 14% of jobs

 

Architecture & Construction

 

This cluster includes transportation operations, facility and mobile equipment maintenance, logistics planning and management services, transportation systems/infrastructure planning, and management & regulation. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Spreadsheets—needed for 17% of jobs
  • Database user interface and query—needed for 14% of jobs
  • Computer-aided design CAD—needed for 9% of jobs

 

Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

 

Pathways: Journalism & broadcasting; performing arts; visual arts; printing technology; and telecommunications

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Graphics or photo imaging—needed for 19% of jobs
  • Video creation and editing—needed for 12% of jobs 
  • Web page creation & editing—needed for 9% of jobs

 

Business Management & Administration

 

Pathways: operations management; administrative support; general management; human resources management; and business administration management.

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Database user interface and query—needed for 16% of jobs 
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP—needed for 15% of jobs 
  • Email—needed for 12% of jobs

 

Education & Training

 

Pathways: teaching/training, professional support services, administration, and administrative support. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Computer based training software—needed for 22% of jobs 
  • Word processing—needed for 15% of jobs 
  • Email—needed for 13% of jobs 

 

Finance

 

Pathways: insurance; securities & investments; business finance; banking services; and accounting. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

 

  • Financial analysis—needed for 17% of jobs 
  • Database user interface and query—needed for 14% of jobs 
  • Enterprise resource planning—needed for 14% of jobs 

 

Government & Public Administration

 

Pathways: governance; regulation; public management & administration; planning; revenue & taxation; and national security. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Database user interface and query—needed for 25% of jobs 
  • Spreadsheets—needed for 14% of jobs
  • Email —needed for 14% of jobs 

 

Health Science

 

Pathways: therapeutic services; diagnostic services; support services; health informatics; and biotechnology research & development. 

 

Top 3 software skills:

  • Medical—needed for 31% of jobs 
  • Spreadsheet—needed for 22% of jobs 
  • Email—needed for 14% of jobs

 

Hospitality & Tourism

 

Pathways: restaurants & food/beverage service; recreation, amusements & attractions; lodging; and travel & tourism.

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Spreadsheet—needed for 19% of jobs
  • Database and user interface and query—needed for 15% of jobs
  • Email —needed for 13% of jobs

 

Human Services

 

Pathways: counseling & mental health services; family & community service; early childhood development & services; and consumer services.

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Spreadsheet—needed for 22% of jobs
  • Database and user interface and query—needed for 12% of jobs 
  • Medical —needed for 12% of jobs 

 

Information Technology

 

Pathways: information & support services; network services; programming & software development; network systems; information support & services, programming & software development; web & digital communications; and web & digital communications.

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Development environment—needed for 24% of jobs 
  • Web platform development—needed for 22% of jobs 
  • Object or component oriented development—needed for 11% of jobs 

 

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security

 

Pathways: law enforcement; legal; emergency and fire management; security & protective; and corrective services. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills: 

  • Database user interface and query—needed for 24% of jobs
  • Spreadsheets—needed for 15% of jobs 
  • Email —needed for 9% of jobs

 

Manufacturing 

 

Pathways: production; maintenance, installation, & repair; manufacturing process development; and quality assurance.

 

Top 3 software skills for the manufacturing cluster for all occupations:

  • Spreadsheets—needed for 23% of jobs
  • Email—needed for 12% of jobs
  • Database user interface and query—needed for 9% of jobs

 

Marketing

 

Pathways: professional sales; marketing management; merchandising; marketing research; and marketing communications. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Database user interface and query—needed for 15% of jobs 
  • Customer relationship management—needed for 10% of jobs 
  • Graphics or photo imaging —needed for 8% of jobs 

 

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM)

 

Pathways: science & technology and engineering & math. (Shocker!)

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Analytical or scientific software—needed for 30% of jobs 
  • Computer-aided design—needed for 13% of jobs 
  • Development environment—needed for 12% of jobs

 

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

 

This cluster includes transportation operations, facility and mobile equipment maintenance, logistics planning and management services, transportation systems/infrastructure planning, and management & regulation. 

 

Top 3 Software Skills:

  • Spreadsheet—needed for 19% of jobs
  • Database user interface and query—needed for 15% of jobs
  • Email —needed for 8% of jobs 

 

Trendiest Tech Skills Across all Occupations

 

Technology is evolving and growing exponentially. Therefore, the tech skills that are hot today might not be a few years down the road. 

 

Case in point, according to Moore’s Law, about every 18 months, computer processing speed doubles. 

 

In 1971 there were less than 10,000 transistors that fit into a microprocessor. In 2019, over 39 billion MOSFETs (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors) could fit into a microprocessor. 

 

It's truly astonishing. 

 

And those exponential advancements are made possible by using technology software and programs. Check out a selection of 20 of the top tech software skill sets below.

 

(There are 186 in total, but we hand-picked 20, which are needed across many occupations.)

 

technical skills

  

Hey, I know how to use YouTube! Guess I’m geekier than I thought. 

 

Supernova Jobs

 

technical skills

 

Any roulette player worth their salt would advise against betting on what the future holds during a pandemic.

 

Based on the data from O*NET OnLine, predictions have been made regarding occupations that are expected to grow faster than average and have a ton of openings.

 

These “Sunny Outlook” occupations are projected to have an employment increase of 5% or more OR have 100,000 or more jobs available between 2019-2029 nationwide. 

 

The jobs which have both the 5% increase and the 100,000+ jobs are more than “Sunny”—they’re Supernova

 

Try to guess what occupations will have tremendous growth. Go ahead. 

 

Medical staff are sorely needed. Hmmm…not surprising during a pandemic. Anything related to nursing is in high demand, whether it’s of the acute, critical or registered variety. 

 

Home health aides? Check!

 

Here’s a sampling of five jobs that are forecast to have an employment increase of 5% or more and at least 100,000 jobs available to apply for from 2019-2029. (Salary and number of employees data from 2019.)

 

  1. Acute care nurses
    • $73,300 median annual salary 
    • 3,096,700 employees 
    • Predicted growth—faster than average (5% to 7%) 
    • Projected job openings—175,900

 

  1. Advanced practice psychiatric nurses
    • $73,300 median annual salary
    • 3,096,700 employees 
    • Predicted growth—faster than average (5% to 7%) 
    • Projected job openings—175,900

 

  1. Fast food and counter workers
    • $22,740 median annual salary
    • 4,047,700 employees
    • Predicted growth—much faster than average (8% or higher)
    • Projected job openings—826,600

 

  1. Online merchants
    • $73,570 medial annual salary
    • 1,361,800 employees
    • Predicted growth—Faster than average (5% to 7%)
    • Projected job openings—128,000

 

  1. Software developers
    • $107,510 median annual salary
    • 1,469,200 employees
    • Predicted growth—Much faster than average (8% or higher)
    • Projected job openings—131,400

 

technical skills

 

A Sweet Deal: Jobs that Require Low Prep but Have Decent Pay

 

Baseball fans may have heard of Roger Maris. He’s best known for setting a single-season home run record in 1961 with 61 home runs. 

 

Nobody broke that record until 1998

 

If anybody can speak to what it takes to succeed, it’s him. 

 

Maris famously said: “You win not by chance, but by preparation.”

 

Well, there are some cases in which little educational preparation brings in some winnings, in the form of a nice wage. 

 

Here are profiles of jobs and the tech skills needed for them in which the applicant either doesn’t need a high school diploma or a HS diploma/GED is the only requirement and pays above $50,000

 

It’s certainly true that construction workers are raking in the dough! 

 

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers 

  • Project management
  • Word processing 
  • Accounting 
  • Construction Software Center EasyEst, DevWave Estimate Works
  • Microsoft Word, Wilhelm Publishing Threshold
  • Job costing 

Average salary $50,560 

 

Terrazzo Workers and Finishers

  • Accounting
  • Project management 
  • Spreadsheets 
  • Intuit QuickBooks, Sapro Systems Paymee
  • CPR Visual Estimator, On Center Quick Bid
  • Microsoft Excel

Average salary $56,340

 

Rotary Drill Operators, Oil, and Gas

  • Database user interface and query
  • Industrial control 
  • Spreadsheets 
  • Drilling software Tubular Database, Pason WellView Field Solution
  • CAPSHER Technology SureTec, Drilling DrillPro
  • Microsoft Excel

Average salary $57,070

 

Structural Iron and Steel Workers

  • Project management
  • Accounting 
  • Cost estimating, Project scheduling
  • Turtle Creek Goldenseal (software)

Average salary $59,170

 

To get into the upper echelon of earners though, some higher education is often required. 

 

technical skills

 

Want to be a High Roller? Have to Get Educated

 

Being loaded sounds appealing, doesn’t it? 

 

The occupations which had the highest pay were all in the “do no harm” health field. 

 

Seeing as it takes 6.5 years of PhD training and 4-5 years of postdoctoral research on average to get the “post doc” status, it’s often about 10 years before a person with a biomedical PhD is ready to begin their first genuine job. This can actually take longer if they decide to go with the academic tenure-track research path.

 

Plus, those exorbitant student loans will take some time to pay off for most students. 

 

Then, there are all the bodily fluids you’ll have to contend with. 

 

Sound appealing? 

 

If this hasn’t given you pause yet, you may be cut out for a job in the medical field! 

 

The highest possible salaried professions in the data we scrutinized (again, we didn’t look at rock stars and professional athletes) were:

 

  • Anesthesiologists— $261,730 
    Requirements: post doc, + medical software

 

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons—$237,570
    Requirements: post doc + graphics/photo imaging and medical software

 

  • Prosthodontists— $220,840 
    Requirements: post doc + graphics/photo imaging and medical software

 

  • Psychiatrists— $220,430
    Requirements: post doc or doctoral degree + graphics/photo imaging, medical software, and accounting software

 

  • Orthodontists— $230,830
    Requirements: post doc + scheduling, medical, and graphics/photo imaging software

 

Just so you know, I’m drooling too. 

 

Getting a Master’s degree is often the means to getting a good-paying job, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more than those who have only a high school diploma under their belt. 

 

technical skills

 

The most successful people know the importance of a slick resume. Next, you’ll find out the best way to get that job with the required tech skills.

 

Don’t Disappoint the Bots—Tout Your Tech!

 

Now, imagine you’re an AI bot scanning resumes for relevant words for an anesthesiologists position. Anesthesiologists need to use the following software:

  • Email
  • Medical—such as MEDITECH and EDImis Anesthesia Manager
  • Presentation 
  • Spreadsheets
  • Word processing

 

What would you do if those skills were not on the resume or if they were obscured in some way? 

 

No dice. 

You want to please the bots and the recruiter. 

 

Ready to rock-n-roll? 

 

Essentially, you just need to: 

 

  1. Know the specific technical skills they want.
  2. Show how you’ve used them to achieve great things.

 

How to include them? In the skills section, qualifications summary (if applicable) and in the descriptions under any positions in which you used those programs/software.

 

When you add it to your skills, you can word it like so:

 

  • Hard Skills: Adobe photoshop, coding, database knowledge

 

You stand out by showing them you’re a rockstar. 

 

Take this example:

 

Results-driven programmer and net security advisor with over 6 years of experience. Strong C++ and cloud skills. At Cloudlove, increased customer satisfaction by 35%. Reduced phishing attacks by 20%.

 

Yes, it’s a tech skills example for someone in the IT realm, but you can cater your resume to fit your particular job. Always emphasize the skills they are looking for and the results it brought to your company.

 

Remember to throw in a dash of the software and programs you use here and there on the resume itself that are required with a stat on how it improved work. 

 

And, voilà!

 

Of course, the tech skills on a resume applying for a STEM position would be heavy as a herd of elephants. 

 

Speaking of which, if you’re applying for a STEM job, don’t bother listing the basics us regular folk put on our resumes, such as Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentation software. 

 

You’re beyond that. 

 

And here’s a section dedicated to you because you’re special. 

 

Grab the STEM and Don’t Let Go

 

Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) occupations are expected to experience rapid growth in the coming decade. Lots of the trendiest technology is needed for these positions. 

 

technical skills

 

Technology and engineering are among the top fields in the United States. 

 

But, and there’s a big but...

The hard truth: not enough Americans are employed in STEM occupations. We’re reaching crisis level. 

 

There’s a shortage of Americans getting degrees in these fields. This bodes poorly on our economic well-being. Even our national security can be at risk, as well. 

 

You see, Americans were on a serious STEM mission after the launch of the Sputnik by the Russians in 1957, the first artificial Earth satellite. The space race was on. 

 

We landed on the moon a little more than a decade later—an amazing achievement. 

 

But, in the 1980s, STEM proficiency began to decline, causing concern. Now, our greatest competitor is China. The number of international students enrolled in science and engineering degree programs is growing, while the number of Americans in those programs is declining. 

 

A lack of researchers and educators qualified to share knowledge of critical science and engineering topics means we’ll have a serious shortage which would have major knock-on effects on our economy and standing among other industrialized nations. Why?

What’s causing this decline? 

 

The Root of the STEM Problem

 

A scant 16% of American HS seniors are interested in a STEM career. Just about half who do choose to go to college for a STEM degree will actually work in a related career. 

We need to turn this around. Now.

 

This shortfall is due to a twofold issue: young kids not being instilled with a love of STEM subjects and a profound lack of support and empowerment for minorities and women. 

 

Essentially, education is a leaky pipeline that loses a lot of potential STEM talent. 

Nationally, women make up 57.3% of bachelor’s degree recipients overall but only 38.6% of STEM bachelor’s degree recipients.

 

And an alarming fact:

Most leave in their mid to late thirties. 

 

We contacted Kathleen Amm, Director of the Magnet Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which operates under the Department of Energy. 

 

She offered the following sage counsel: 

“In terms of skills, I would say have a curious mind and be willing to always learn new areas and be flexible. Early in your career, go deep in one area, learn how to communicate effectively to different groups— anyone from your mother to a technical colleague to a venture capitalist or lab director.

It is not just about doing great science or engineering, it’s about being able to have others understand the impact. Also, helping each other out and supporting each other in networking groups like our own Brookhaven Women in Science is an incredible way to make connections and overcome challenges together.”

Useful advice from a well-established, highly educated, female professional in her science field.

 

Bottom line: If you have an interest in STEM, please stay the course despite the setbacks. The country needs your perspectives in those fields. Hang onto that STEM.

 

Last Word

 

We set out to provide you with the intel to get the best job possible. 

 

Because we want you to succeed. 

 

We know that every job requires tech skills, and it’s critical that you know which ones are relevant and to know what occupations are out there to choose from. 

 

Insufficient facts will not help you make an informed decision. 

 

We also wanted to go facts-heavy, so you were not left in danger of missing the full picture. 

 

In summary: 

  • There are jobs that require little preparation but can provide a decent salary. 
  • There are employment positions that require significant education and training yet provide a mediocre wage. 
  • The software knowledge essential for a job often includes email, word processing, and spreadsheet know-how. Other mandatory tech skills vary based on the position. 
  • STEM has a shortfall of qualified candidates; it’s a risk to our country’s standing among industrialized nations and our national security.

 

The analysis also showed how crucial it is to devote much more energy and resources to STEM education to become the world leaders we have been in the past. If you’re inclined towards these fields, go for it! 

 

The data was cultivated and examined with job seekers and potential career switchers in mind. 

 

The goal was to assist you in making a wise choice.

 

Look at all your options, and even consider (re)location, (re)location, (re)location. As we also learned, the state you live in may be a huge factor in how much you get paid. 

 

We hope you’ve taken a self-reflective pause to look at your tech skills, educational level, position, and salary. 

 

You have the intel now to decide if this is where you want to be and, if not, make an informed change. 

 

Methodology

 

We analyzed data regarding 902 occupations and cross-referenced it with stats on the tech skills and educational requirements needed for those positions, salaries, and forecasts for those positions. The data originated from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration and was compiled by O*NET Online. O*NET OnLine is based on national averages and interviews with people in those positions. 

 

Limitations

 

We obtained the data for this study from O*NET OnLine. It is a highly reputable source, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy.

 

The salary information is based on a mean and a national average, and this can vary widely depending on the state. 

 

Percentages have been rounded up. 

 

Fair Use Statement

 

Don't miss the chance to share these findings—–you might regret it! If you think your audience will be interested in this information, you can share it for noncommercial reuse. All we ask in return is that you link back to this page so that your readers can view the full study.

 

Sources

 

Rate my article: technical skills
Thank you for voting
Average: 5 (12 votes)
Bart Turczynski
Bart Turczynski is a career expert and the Editor-in-chief at ResumeLab. His career advice and commentary has been published by Glassdoor, The Chicago Tribune, Workopolis, The Financial Times, Hewlett-Packard, and CareerBuilder, among others. Bart’s mission is to promote the best, data-informed and up-to-date career advice on ResumeLab’s blog as well as through numerous online communities and publications. At ResumeLab, Bart manages a large team of career experts and editors in delivering top-quality, unique content. Bart’s life-long passion for politics and strong background in psychology makes all the advice published on ResumeLab unique, accurate, and supported by detailed research.

Was it interesting? Here are similar articles