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By Kerri Anne Renzulli
May 16, 2016
Photograph by Jeff Harris for Money; Prop styling by Renee Flugge

One good way to increase your pay: Make sure you’ve got the skills that employers pay more for.

For Money and compensation data and software company PayScale.com‘s exclusive analysis of the 21 Most Valuable Career Skills, we wanted to help the most Money readers, so we looked specifically for skills correlated with higher pay across a broad range of occupations. But sometimes, for any single job, there’s one team member who’s making an extra chunk of change simply by having this year’s hottest skill.

Currently, that skill is Scala — a popular programming language with a wide range of applications, from analyzing biological data to building Twitter. Employees who identified Scala as a core job skill earned 22.2% more than their peers, holding constant such factors as job title, experience, age, and location.

Indeed, of the 25 skills that showed the greatest such payoff, 23 of them are somehow technology related — whether a coding language, a software program, or a technological approach.

Want to earn more money than your peers without being a tech expert? The other two slots on the list were examples of financial expertise: mergers and acquisitions, at No. 7 with a 17.2% pay premium, and equity management, one run lower with a 16.7% higher salary.

What follows is the full list of skills, along with each one’s correlated pay bump.

To see full coverage of Money’s Best Career Skills 2016, click here.

Rank Skill Pay Boost
1 Scala 22.2%
2 Cisco UCCE/IPCC 21.1%
3 Go 20.0%
4 Natural Language Processing 17.9%
5 Apache Spark 17.7%
6 Algorithm Development 17.3%
7 Mergers and Acquisitions 17.2%
8 Equity Management 16.7%
9 Kernel Development 15.6%
10 Hybrid Systems 14.6%
11 Splunk 14.3%
12 MapReduce 14.2%
13 Apache Hive 13.1%
14 Apple Xcode 13.0%
15 Ruby on Rails 12.9%
16 Apache Cassandra 12.8%
17 NoSQL 12.6%
18 Amazon Web Services 12.6%
19 Hadoop 12.5%
20 Ruby 12.3%
21 Puppet 12.0%
22 Machine Learning 11.9%
23 Objective-C 11.7%
24 iOS SDK 11.4%
25 Oracle Learning Management System 11.4%
Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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