As we all know, it seems like new programming languages are created every week. But which ones aren’t worth wasting your time on?
I looked at actual listings on Dice to try to spot some trends. In late April, I searched both the entire set of job listings as well as specific job titles to see what skills companies were actually looking for. Here’s what I found.
As to skills to jettison from your resume, Fortran, Cobol and to some extent Visual Basic aren’t needed by themselves anymore. They appear infrequently in job titles, a giveaway that few hiring managers are focused on them. While you can still find a few positions that require these languages (for example, a Cobol developer in MasterCard’s data center outside of St. Louis), for the most part these languages are dead and forgotten.
Visual Basic was the surprising one of this set, showing up in only 13 of the titles of more than 700 listings. So one recommendation would be not to focus on VB other than as a means to an end to entering the entire .NET Microsoft universe.
iOS developers are in moderate demand. Theirs is a specialized field, given that the number of entries in overall job descriptions match up with the number of mentions in the actual job titles. But Android developers are twice as popular, which isn’t surprising given the market growth in Android phones and tablets.
Despite all that you hear about Big Data, the concept is, curiously, not appearing as much as you might expect: The term showed up in less than 50 job titles. As another data point here, the fact that Hadoop is mentioned only 10 percent of the time that it is listed in the job description indicates it’s still specialized.
Note, though, that you can’t always go by job titles alone. For example, cloud expertise really involves a number of skills and familiarity with a number of platforms. Look at the job postings and you’d think knowledge of Amazon Web Services isn’t in all that much demand. While only 16 job titles mentioned AWS explicitly, that doesn’t mean companies are moving away from it. It simply indicates they’re not looking for someone to focus on it exclusively.
To check my informal analysis, I also looked at InterviewStreet.com, a tool used by a growing number of employers to screen for potential programming talent. Its coding challenges cover 16 different programming languages, including C, C++, Java, C#, Python, PHP, Ruby, Perl, Javscript, Haskell, Scala, Clojure, SQL, MySQL, R and Go. As you can see, there are a number of newer languages here as well as the old chestnuts.