Highest Demand Programming Languages in March 2015

March 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm 3 comments

ProgrammingLanguageListingsOnDiceA question that I hear frequently is: “Which programming language (or languages) should I learn? Usually the person asking is a student and what they really mean is, “What programming language will get me a job?!” My usual answer is that it’s more important to focus on learning concepts (like: inheritance, composition, polymorphism, data structures, design patterns, etc.) because these are pretty much the same regardless of language. If you learn C# in-depth, and then get a job where you need to use Java, you should be able to apply the concepts you know (and even a lot of the syntax) and pick up Java quickly. But, of course, you would still want to choose a language that is at least in the top dozen, as far as job demand.

In order to get an idea of which programming languages are most in demand by employers, I did some searching on Dice.com, which is perhaps the best place to look for tech jobs. Here is what I found:

Rank Programming Language Job Listings on Dice
1 SQL 23,018
2 Java 16,848
3 JavaScript 12,101
4 C# 7,856
5 Objective-C 6,256
6 Python 5,838
7 C++ 4,913
8 Perl 4,118
9 PHP 3,152
10 Ruby 2,917
11 Visual Basic 2,037
12 C 1,494

(3/28/15: Revision, using a better set of search terms I got a higher number of VB jobs)

It is interesting to compare these rankings with the widely cited TIOBE Index of programming language popularity. TIOBE measures the popularity of languages by: the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors and statistics from popular search engines. They put a disclaimer on their ratings that these are not necessarily the best programming languages. And in addition, it should be noted that these are not necessarily the languages most in demand by employers. This month’s ratings show these as the top 12 most popular languages:

  1. C
  2. Java
  3. Objective-C
  4. C++
  5. C#
  6. PHP
  7. JavaScript
  8. Python
  9. Visual Basic.NET
  10. Visual Basic
  11. F#
  12. Perl

Notice that many of the same languages appear in the top twelve, but they are ranked quite differently! Especially SQL, this didn’t even make the top 12 in the TIOBE ranking (partly because they list T-SQL and PL-SQL separately, but even combined, they would have ranked #12).

So, should I tell all my students to just learn SQL? No, I tell students to learn the full stack of languages you need for web development. In our College’s degree program that would be: C#, JavaScript, and SQL (along with HTML and CSS). But it could just as well be Java, JavaScript, and SQL. There are obviously other languages you could substitute for c# or Java, but that’s a topic for another post (what languages should be taught in college). The great thing about learning the web programming stack of languages is that you will then have a set of skills that can be leveraged to do just about any other kind of programming: mobile, enterprise, probably even embedded. And one of the main things you discover working as a programmer is that you have to keep learning! What will be the highest demand language of tomorrow? I don’t know, but I’ll be ready to learn it!

Addendum: Highest Demand Programming Languages in Oregon

Since I live and work in Oregon, I thought I’d check the Dice listings for Oregon. They turn out to almost exactly mirror the national statistics:

Rank Programming Language Job Listings on Dice
1 SQL 262
2 Java 225
3 JavaScript 167
4 C# 154
5 Python 124
6 Objective-C 102
7 C++ 95
8 Perl 88
9 PHP 52
10 Ruby 52
11 Visual Basic 20
12 C 20

Entry filed under: Programming. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Why my next PC will be a Mac! Learn to Write iOS Apps!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mehdi  |  March 28, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Reblogged this on Apple Lover.

  • 2. Twisted Inspiration  |  March 28, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Unfortunately it’s not always just about languages. Frameworks, tools, etc. also have to be learned and used, so if, for example, you started with Java and now get a C# job, you might lose many advantages you had because your knowledge of all the frameworks, etc. is useless in that new job. So, while being open to new possibilities is of course desirable, so is specialization.

  • 3. Mark Greenwood  |  April 6, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Saw this post on LinkedIn… nice to find your blog! Been a long time, hope you’re doing well!


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