The Top 5 Skills For Tech Jobs

The tech industry continues to create jobs at an astounding pace, with nearly one open position for each tech job seeker nationwide according to the ZipRecruiter Opportunity Index. As the tech industry grows and the demand for workers rises, tech jobs are spreading out of more established job markets like Silicon Valley and Seattle, and many tech jobs no longer require a college degree.

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That makes getting a tech job a real possibility for millions of people who were previously shut out of the industry because of where they lived or the fact that they lacked a college degree.

Still, it can be a daunting challenge for people looking to break into the tech industry to figure out what kind of job skills they will need. We analyzed ZipRecruiter’s 8 million active job postings to find out what the top 5 in-demand tech skills are, and where these skills could be learned:


You may never have heard of JavaScript, but you’ve definitely visited a site on the internet which was built on the technology. Fully 95% of all websites use JavaScript, which was first developed in the 1990s by Netscape to add interactive functions to sites (think “like” buttons, etc.) While other popular codes of the era have found themselves dumped in the dustbin of software development history, JavaScript’s versatility and easy to learn syntax have ensured its continued popularity.

Where to learn it: all code camps offer JS training, and many community colleges or extension programs also have crash courses in JavaScript development. If you’re on a budget, there are also a number of free online courses which teach JS.


Like JavaScript, HTML is one of the cornerstones of the web, with over 80% of all sites using the technology. HTML provides the code which creates your favorite websites, providing a framework for the structure of sites and originally the look and feel of them as well. HTML has largely been replaced by HTML5, which modernizes the original code to allow video streaming and animations without having to rely on insecure or slow-loading plugins.

Where to learn it: like JS, HTML is one of the most popular courses offered by code camps, community colleges, and trade schools. There are also plenty of free online courses which can teach you the fundamentals of HTML.


If you’ve heard the term Big Data, you’re probably familiar with the hype around the value that the collection and analysis of billions of data points can provide. SQL (often pronounced “sequel”) is a way for programmers to use questions, known as “queries”, to comb through massive amounts of data. Here at ZipRecruiter we use SQL to generate useful insights into the labor market which we can share with job seekers and employers – in fact, that’s how we got the data for this blog post.

Where to learn it: Since SQL is more complicated than JS or HTML, and requires some math and statistics ability, many people prefer taking a class from a code camp, community college, or continuing education program. For those ready to brave it on their own, their are also free online self-guided courses.

Front End Design

Front end design is actually four skills in one: HTML, JavaScript, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and design. Previously these skills may have been split up between a number of developers, but as internet engineering has progressed over the years it’s become possible for sole programmers to handle relatively complex website designs. Adding the design skill into the mix prevents the kinds of friction that can arise when a designer and a front end engineer apply different approaches to web development. It’s become a popular job for people who like to use both the creative and analytical sides of their brain.

Where to learn it: you can learn front end design skills at code camps, community colleges, and even some art and design schools. Because the role requires training in a number of different skills, there is a deeper time commitment than with HTML, SQL, or JS.

Communication Skills

Not all of the most in-demand skills have to do with coding. An analysis of our job postings (using SQL!) previously found the top prerequisite across all industries is having great communication skills, and in tech they rank right below the top software skills. Communication skills are crucial to effective business operations and even more so for highly technical tasks like building and running websites.

Where to learn it: as a soft skill, the ability to communicate clearly and accurately is not as easy to teach or learn as hard skills like coding or engineering. That said, many community colleges and continuing education programs offer classes on business communications. You might also consider joining an organization like Toastmasters or taking an improv class to help you hone your communications skills.

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