Top 10 Developer and Engineering Skills Employers Will Look for Going into 2012


Job listings give a view into company strategy and the direction of the overall market. Indeed is a job listing service that provides excellent analysis of top job skills.

For our purposes, we looked at Indeed’s top 10 listings to give a glimpse into the top 10 developer and engineering skills that employers are looking for going into the new year.

  1. HTML5
  2. MongoDB
  3. iOS
  4. Android
  5. Mobile app
  6. Puppet
  7. Hadoop
  8. jQuery
  9. PaaS
  10. Social Media


Employers have 183 job postings for Web developers. Microsoft and Amazon have the most jobs posted. HTML5 is still in its infancy but should remain the #1 most popular job for 2012. Employers are weaving in HTML5 as a requirement for both developers and engineers. Web developers, Web designers, front-end developers and software engineers  have the most job postings.

Here are the preferred qualifications for a software development engineer to build Web apps for the Kindle Cloud Reader team:

  • Experience building complex software systems that have been successfully delivered to customers and maintained across several major/minor releases
  • Knowledge and implementer of professional software engineering practices & best practices for the full software development life cycle, including coding standards, code reviews, source control management, build processes, testing, and operations
  • Experience in communicating with users, other technical teams, and management to collect requirements, describe software product features, and technical designs
  • Driver of technical initiatives, designs, and architectures or complex software products/services or that span across multiple groups
  • Experience with web services
  • Mastery of the tools of the trade, including a variety of modern programming languages (C/C++, Java, Javascript, PERL, Web Services).  Active experience with HTML5 and CSS3 technologies
  • Experience with Agile development methodologies such as SCRUM or XP


Large providers will increasingly need people with NoSQL database skills as they build out their infrastructures. That’s illustrated by Apple, which is looking for an iCloud Software Engineer with  knowledge of NoSQL databases such as MongoDB and Cassandra.

Consider joining a small team writing the software which forms the foundation for some of our most exciting iCloud products and services. We are looking for an extremely capable engineer who has a strong background in web services development, and who has built high-performance, scalable and extensible systems. In this highly visible position, the successful candidate will collaborate with cross-functional engineering teams to define and implement some of the core backend platform frameworks and systems that will power next generation Apple web services.


A stealth startup needs an iOS developer for a Farmville style game but centered around sports. eBay is looking for developers out of its Portland, Or. office to build iPhone and iPad apps.  The Ubermedia team wants developers to build Java-based iOS apps.  iOS will remain the hottest operating system in the coming year as the iPad continues its dominance in the tablet market.

Companies such as Coupa will follow an established trend in developing apps for the iOS followed by Android.

iOS Job trends:


Amazon and Google are the top two companies looking for people with Android experience. The postings reflect on the two companies’ strategy over the next year. Amazon has 482 Android development jobs available. Most of the postings are for work developing its Android tablets.

Google has 165 jobs available. What can we read from the tea leaves about Google’s plans? A focus on Google TV for one thing and as part of that another push to attract developers. One job opening would entail writing public facing APIs for developers. Hmmm…what might those APIs be?

And what’s this about augmented reality?

We are seeking a Front End Engineer for client development with mobile devices and the web. Project incorporates augmented reality mapping, geo-location, and real-time interaction. Come join our small, fast-moving team based in San Francisco and Mountain View!

Mobile Apps

The positions available for Mobile apps show the broader market penetration for mobile apps. This is a trend that will sure to grow in the year ahead as mobile apps become as important or eve n more important than Web apps. Thus general acceptance is reflected in the posts such as this one I saw on ODesk. Love it:

Does anyone out there want to help me create my birthday present?

I have decided that I want an iphone and android app for my birthday. This is what it would look like:

Very little graphics. There will be a simple shape. It will “glow”.


People get into the app. They bring up this shape. They can type info into these shapes. The shapes can be saved. People can create/save up to 20 of these shapes. When they are done with these shapes, they are released up to the sky.

So… they need to be able to save info.

I would like someone who can do both iphone and android. When you apply, please let me know if you can do both.


My colleague Klint Finley wrote a post today about why Big Data necessitates DevOps. In another post about open-source startups he makes the point that Puppet has become virtually synonymous with DevOps in the same way that Amazon Web Services has become synonymous with cloud.  It’s also true that virtualization has scaled to such an extent that automation is a requirement that has to become part of the IT equation. Developers need to know more about operations and operations has to know more about the apps developers are building.

Here are the top five DevOps titles listed on Indeed:

Linux Systems Administrator (25)
Systems Administrator (23)
Systems Engineer (21)
Linux Administrator (21)
Senior Systems Engineer (21)

Nokia has 6o job postings. It looks the company will invest heavily in a multi-tenant infrastructure in 2012.

A job description for a principal technical lead role:

Essential requirements include a proven track record of designing and supporting consumer internet infrastructure technologies, holding a role as a service architect or senior systems engineer. This role will operate within a highly matrix environment which requires strong stakeholder management and communication skills.

A major part of this role will be working very closely with key stakeholders who include Nokia IT and the Technology Strategy Architecture teams, as well as the Service Operations teams, in ensuring the technologies we select match our requirements for scalability, cost efficiency, availability and reliability


We recently looked at the top 10 employers who are looking for people with Hadoop skills. Here’s the most current breakdown:

Amazon (54)
eBay (47)
CityGrid Media (37)
Hortonworks (34)
Yahoo! Inc. (32)
Facebook (31)
Twitter (22)
Proteus Technologies (21)
Microsoft (21)
Apple (21)


The salary level for people with JQuery skills shows the overall demand for people with talents in front-end development. There are 577 jobs on Indeed for people with JQujery skills that pay more than $80,000 per year. Here are some of the more common job titles:

Front End Engineer – JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS – e-Commerce (8)
LAMP Developer – LAMP Programmer – PHP Developer – PHP, LAMP (6)
Front End UI Guru – JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX Software Engineer (4)
PHP Developer – LAMP Developer – Interactive Gaming Agency (4)
PHP Developer – MVC, mySQL, Agile – High Traffic Internet Firm (4)

For example, here’s a posting for a front-end UI guru.


The PaaS category is a new one to the top ten. And this is where the big guns are hiring. According to Indeed, there are about 400 jobs listed for people with PaaS skills that pay more than $100,000.  These are senior level position with companies such as China’s Huawei, HP and EMC.  For example, EMC is looking for a principal solutions architect with experience in data fabrics. Huawei is seeking a vice president of cloud solutions. And HP is hiring a chief architect for cloud server automation.

Social Media

I am surprised to see this category in the top 10. But on the other hand, we write a lot about the social influence on the enterprise which is generally more broadly defined as social media. The positions listed are primarily for marketing managers. The most technical job listings are for Web developers.


I had a recent conversation with Erica Brescia, CEO at BitNami. Our conversation turned to the job market. She said how difficult it is to find talented developers and engineers. It reminded me how tight the market is across the tech sector for technical and non-technical positions. Developers and engineers are in high demand but so are marketing managers and in our world, good writers to cover the tech space.

Expect that trend to continue into 2012 as the market shows no signs of slowing down.