Fastest Growing Skill Requirements

Talent Skill Trends

The above infographic is based on an Indeed 10-year snapshot of the fastest growing skills required in job postings. The report looks at the fastest growing skill requirements over a decade. These 10 skills have the highest rate of growth compared to anything else when everything is framed within 10 years.

The picture is a lot different with a shorter time frame. Quarterly growth from the first to second quarter of 2015 shows a resurgence of more traditional skills like writing and graphics taking center stage as the fastest growers.

Fastest Growing Skill Requirements Over the Last Decade

HTML5 is much more capable than it’s predecessor. Many have taken to removing Adobe Flash from their browsers. Nobody wants cumbersome plugins running in the background taking up valuable processing power. That’s what Chrome tabs are for.

Mongo DB is the document-based database system whose robust infrastructure helps developers to run circles around traditional relational databases.

iOS, Android and Mobile App categories need no explanation. You’re probably reading this on your phone right now.

Puppet is helping large, aged enterprises to deploy software changes in a cavalier fashion not unlike a startup.

Conversely, Hadoop is helping startups to structure their data storage in a way that rivals the scalability and efficiency of older, established brands.

jQuery is in high demand because the web is built mostly out of the HTML and Javascript that it interacts with. Luckily for recruiters, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a web developer who doesn’t know jQuery. It’s one of those things that everyone can agree on.

PaaS is a vital piece for agile programming. Since both startups and enterprises alike are attracted to anything that quickens the deployment process, it should be no surprise that PaaS is among the top 10 alongside Puppet.

Businesses these days use Social Media to tell everyone about the wonderful things they have built with these technologies. It is the most cost-effective and measurable platform where today’s audience and customers are more engaged than ever

Indeed’s 10-year snapshot paints an extremely tech-heavy picture. Aside from social media, every one of these skillets requires intense technical study to acquire. But that’s not news. Most recruiting firms are all aware of the tech skills gap ever present in the market.

When we explore a shorter timeframe, new skills come to light. Elance allows users to examine job posting data on a quarterly basis and indicates a possible shift in employer needs that emphasizes more traditional skills.

Fastest Growing Skill Requirements Q1 to Q2 2015

Skill Demand Growth Spurts (1)

In this infographic based on Elance data, we can see the fastest growing skills on a quarterly time frame instead. One major takeaway from it is that 4 of the 6 skill requirements are relatively non-technical. This is a departure from Indeed’s 10-year snapshot where 9 out of 10 of the skills call for a programmer of some kind.

Script Writing, Copy Writing, 3D Design and Computer Graphics do not require programming knowledge like the other dominant skills, which may be a relief to recruiters weary of contacting engineers who are often happy with their position.

This research indicates that there are some emerging areas to look at which have little to do with knowing any code. Perhaps there is more opportunity on the horizon that doesn’t involve a tiresome search for the right full-stack programmer. Instead, these job types are highly correlated with marketing positions, mostly.

That’s not to say that the dominating programming skillets are going away. It means that they’re not the only ones to focus on.

The Fastest Growing Skill Requirements Q1 to Q2 2015

Producing video is essential for most business websites these days. Video gets you higher SEO value, and it gives you a chance to show off your product by immersing 2 of the 5 senses. Script Writing is a vital step in this process to ensure the highest conversions and good branding.

Copywriting is a valuable skill because it’s part of the content marketing strategy that is in vogue these days. Content is a powerful tertiary reason for people to visit a site. Industry leaders have learned that attracting the right people with relevant content is one of the best and cheapest ways to generate more conversions online.

Computer Graphics are a major part of the content growth strategy as well. Employers have come to understand that they can greatly improve the effectiveness of their social media campaigns when the content links to an in-house source. This is contrary to the typical social media campaign which utilizes a lot of 3rd party content to add to the online conversation, all while failing to direct clicks to their own website as they do.

3D Design is an outlier in this group because it has less to do with marketing and more to do with a concurrent growth spurt that happened in game design. However, It still has some place in a marketing mix, so it’s not completely negligible.

Data Science skills are necessary to make great insights out of a swath of data. A good data scientist can use defined metrics and run an algorithm to organize and classify any data set. Whether that’s half a million tweets or some astronomical number of email messages, they can make sense of it all.

Data Mining is often implicit in the data science field. With everybody living their lives publicly on the web, it is very feasible for these programmers to write a data scraper that processes what it collects through a database to help develop meaningful insights.

PayPal founder Peter Thiel once said that “Big data is often dumb data.” Which means having a huge base of data is worthless without a data scientist laboring to categorize what it means using carefully-written algorithms.

Quarterly Growth Rates and Relative Growth

Copywriting had a much larger gain than any of the others with an additional 30,000 jobs added on Elance alone. Computer Graphics, the next largest growth from the Elance sample, saw 15,957 jobs added in one quarter. This implies a much greater need for marketing types in the market than there was at the beginning of the year.

Data Mining made one of the largest jumps when compared with it’s own previous numbers it posted an additional 37% than it was previously. However, this is only 1,081 jobs and only makes for 2% of the job growth when combined with the other 5 categories.

Conversely, when compared to it’s previous numbers, demand for Computer Graphics skills only grew 17%, yet it’s additional job postings made up more than a quarter of the total jobs added in all 6 skill categories.

The biggest individual jump was made in Script Writing which had a 43% increase. However, it is still in 3rd place for overall as it accounted for only 11% of total jobs added.

Skills Overlap of 10-year and Quarter Growth

There was some overlap in the two datasets studied. On the technical side, the short-term growth spurts of Data Science and Mining implicitly require some of the fastest growing long-term skills like MongoDB and Hadoop to pull off adequately. These technologies are more formidable in the face of big data. Other long-term skills like jQuery or Mobile aren’t as closely correlated with the short-term spikes we have seen.

Long-term demand for Social Media is directly connected to the short-term spike in Computer Graphics and Copywriting jobs. As more employers seek to make content in-house in an effort to improve site rankings, this trend will likely continue. Also, since YouTube is considered a social network, it makes sense to mention the short-term growth of Script Writing as part of the overall Social Media category as well.

Indeed’s 10-year growth rate data squares well with the quarter growth rate information from Elance.

Supply Surplus (Based on TalentFeed Metrics)

There’s more than enough candidates out there to fill all the job postings covered, but some positions will be more difficult to fill than others.


With supply in excess of 1.4 million people who claim to have skills in Social Media, it will certainly be no problem finding someone that can participate in this role.


It is apparent that 3D Design, Android, and jQuery positions will be some of the easiest to fill with each offering 200,000+ qualified candidates. iOS, Data Mining, and Copywriting jobs will be marginally similar as they each have 150,000 in supply.


Computer Graphics, HTML5, Data Science and Scriptwriting positions should only be moderately difficult to fill with each having a 40,000-100,000 candidate pool.


Candidates with PaaS, MongoDB, Hadoop, and Puppet skills will be the toughest in the group to fill as there are less than 20,000 in each category.

In Conclusion

A 10-year snapshot of the fastest growing skill requirements tends towards tech-savvy candidates, but when you examine a quarterly snapshot there is an emphasis on more traditional skills like writing and design.

In the short term, there is a more pronounced need for marketing and creative types as well as programmers who specialize in both data scraping and infrastructure to interpret the data captured.

Long-term skill requirements growth hasn’t changed at all since the beginning of this year. It will be interesting to speculate if and when the short-term growth found through Elance will one day make it onto the Indeed’s list to be among the fastest growing skill requirements of the decade.

headshotAbout the Author: Christopher Murray writes about SaaS web applications in sourcing, marketing and HR. He’s also a volunteer at Gangplank Chandler where he handles event promotions, coding mentorship, blog editing, and newsletter drafting. He frequently contributes content to HiringSolved‘s blog and is an occasional guest writer for RecruitingDaily

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