Technology is always changing, and so is the business of technology. From the latest innovations to the unicorn of the moment, it can be hard to keep pace with all the fluctuations and transformations.

One thing does not change, however: Tech is an important and growing employment sector, adding 1.5 million jobs since 2010. In fact, tech accounts for almost 10% of all jobs in the US economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And at the heart of it all is Silicon Valley, a place synonymous with start-ups and cutting-edge technologies and home to giants such as Apple and Google.

And this year, growth was the name of the game. In fact, tech job postings in Silicon Valley on Indeed rose by 12.9% between November 2017 and November 2018. This is different from last year, which saw a 5.4% decline of the same type of job postings.

Of course, 2018 saw its share of tech-related headlines, ranging from security concerns to self-driving cars to the latest from the world of start-ups. But what lies in store? To take the pulse of the job market, we analyzed jobs, salaries and companies using Indeed data in the Bay Area to assess the state of the innovation capital of the world.

Here's what we found.

Engineers and product-related roles in high demand

To identify which roles are the most in demand, we looked at all tech job postings in Silicon Valley and listed the 20 with the biggest share.

The top 20 most in-demand tech jobs in Silicon Valley.
This table features the most in-demand tech roles in Silicon Valley in 2018: 1) Software test engineer, 2) Senior product manager, 3) Quality assurance engineer, 4) Technical program manager, 5) Machine learning engineer, 6) Cloud engineer, 7) Principal software engineer, 8) Firmware engineer, 9) Software engineering manager, 10) Operations analyst, 11) IT security specialist, 12) Product owner, 13) Senior data analyst, 14) Principal product manager, 15) Technical product manager, 16) Senior design engineer, 17) Information technology manager, 18) Senior application engineer, 19) Business intelligence analyst, 20) Hadoop developer 

Though engineers dominate the list — they make up half of the top 20 — product-related roles account for a further one-quarter of the roles. The job in highest demand this year is software test engineer; this role jumped up from number eight on last year’s list.

The second most in-demand role is senior product manager. This is a crucial role that not only oversees products but serves as the bridge between tech, business and design. An interesting standout is IT security specialist (#12).  In this age of serious data and security breaches, companies are moving to bolster their defenses against cyber criminals.

The top skill listed in Bay Area tech job descriptions was Java, with over one in four (27%) tech job postings in the Bay Area seeking it. This was followed by Python (25%) and JavaScript (18%) — further evidence of the high demand for engineers.

Top Silicon Valley tech roles are well paid, but cost of living soars

Silicon Valley is famous for high salaries, but given that the Bay Area is the most expensive place in the country to rent a home, the cost of living is a crucial factor for anyone chasing a tech dream there. That being the case, we wanted to learn about the top-paying jobs in Silicon Valley.

Our analytics team took the average of the posted salaries for tech positions on Indeed to come up with our list of the 20 highest-paid tech jobs.

The top 20 highest paying tech jobs in Silicon Valley in 2018 and the average annual salary.
Indeed identified which job titles had the highest salaries by analyzing the salaries listed in job postings for job titles within the technology category on Indeed in the "San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (CA),San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA)" metros from January 2018 to October 2018.

Engineers dominate the list of top-paid tech jobs, accounting for nine out of 20 on our list. However, the highest-paid tech job in Silicon Valley this year is the only one that doesn’t fall into the engineer, architect or developer categories: director of product management.

With an annual salary of $186,766, this role has snuck up from the number-two spot last year, demonstrating the value Silicon Valley places on people who can combine both a technical and a business skill set. Senior reliability engineer — a role that manages risk and ensures websites and platforms perform reliably — placed second, commanding a salary of $181,100.

There is a huge buzz surrounding machine learning, of course, and this year we saw “machine learning engineer” climb from 13th place last year to number eight, with an annual salary of almost $160,000. These professionals are at the forefront of working with artificial intelligence (AI) and recently topped our ranking of jobs that most frequently require AI skills. In fact, postings for AI-related roles almost doubled on Indeed between June 2015 and June 2018 — and it appears salaries are growing to meet demand.

Of course, these high salaries are not always what they seem, as the cost of living in the Bay Area is so high. According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the income needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $99,960; in San Jose, $81,240; and in Oakland, $74,200. Anybody looking for a high-salary job in Silicon Valley will need to factor information such as this into account.

Apple continues to lead hiring in Silicon Valley

But which firms placed first for hiring in 2018? To identify this, we looked at which companies had the most job openings for tech roles posted on Indeed in 2018.

The top 20 companies hiring for tech roles and the percentage of tech postings in the Bay area in 2018.
Indeed identified which companies were hiring the most by identifying which companies had the most job postings for roles within the technology categories on Indeed in the "San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (CA),San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA)" metros from January 2018 to October 2018.

Topping our list for the second year in a row is Apple, which accounted for 4.2% of all tech job postings in Silicon Valley in 2018. As the first public company to be worth $1 trillion, Apple has a huge and growing staff and has recently focused on increasing jobs related to hardware, editorial content and Siri, the voice-activated digital assistant.

Following closely behind is Amazon, retaining last year’s number-two spot with 3.41% of tech job postings. Even though Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, this tech behemoth is growing in Silicon Valley and other parts of the US. The company recently announced it will split the location of its second headquarters (HQ2) between northern Virginia and New York, adding as many as 50,000 jobs.

Coming in third is a company not traditionally associated with tech: big-box retailer Walmart, which made up just over 2% of all tech job postings in Silicon Valley. Walmart jumped 10 places from last year’s number 13 rank, beating the likes of even Google (#4), Facebook (#5) and Salesforce (#8). Walmart’s interest in tech goes beyond its ecommerce sector; the firm has increased hiring for tech roles and uses innovative technology in their supply chain. For example, recently it developed a technology called “Eden” to inspect produce for freshness.

Who’s doing the most hiring in each metro area?

Silicon Valley is large enough to encompass multiple metropolitan areas. So we took a more detailed look at the top three companies that are hiring for the most tech jobs in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

Three cities in Silicon Valley hiring the most tech roles and the top 3 companies in those cities hiring the most tech roles.
Indeed identified which companies were hiring the most by identifying which companies had the most job postings for roles within the technology category on Indeed within each of the following individual metros, "San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (CA),San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (CA)," from January 2018 to October 2018.

The companies doing the most hiring in San Jose were Cisco, PayPal and eBay. In San Francisco, Salesforce, which just built the city’s highest skyscraper, topped the list, followed by Amazon and Twitter. In Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, a health-care company, is hiring for the most tech jobs, followed by music-streaming company Pandora and Marqeta.

What lies in store?

No doubt we can expect technology to continue to advance and surprise us and for new players to jump into the hiring game. We’re excited to see what changes will occur in the tech world in the next year. As always, we’ll keep our eyes on the trends and report back on the implications for hiring.

Raj Mukherjee is SVP of Product at Indeed