On a regular basis, various websites and analyst firms offer their breakdowns of the world’s most popular programming languages. The methodology for determining those languages differs from site to site; for example, Stack Overflow asks developers about those they most “love” or “hate.” But when it comes to actual work, which languages do technologists actually use?
To answer that question, we turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Based on its analysis of postings over the past 90 days, we can tell you that the languages used in a professional context are exactly the ones you’d expect, based on those languages’ overall popularity. Check out the list:
It’s no surprise that SQL tops this list. SQL (structured query language) was originally created as the standardized language for relational database management, and over the decades it’s become one of the most vital parts of many companies’ technology stacks. Those who want to work with data and databases also need to learn SQL’s several offshoots and derivations, which include NoSQL.
Throughout 2020, we’ve seen SQL pop up again and again as one of employers’ most in-demand skills. Why is this? For starters, companies recognize that wrangling, cleaning, storing, and analyzing data is more important than ever for long-term success—and they need to hire the data analysts, data scientists, developers, and other specialists who can execute all those tasks. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many companies’ strategies, forcing them to rely heavily on data to make the right strategic calls going forward.
Java, meanwhile, has remained hugely popular for more than 25 years, benefitting in many ways from a virtuous cycle: Having built so many apps and services in the languages, companies must continue to maintain that code base. Java also benefits from its “write once, run anywhere” (WORA) design, which means it can run on any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM)… and that it can evolve to meet companies’ ever-changing tech stacks.
If you’re curious about Java, it’s also well worth learning Kotlin, which has exploded in popularity ever since Google named it a “first class” language for Android development. Beyond Android, Kotlin is eyed by at least some developers as an eventual replacement for Java, although that moment is likely quite a long way off.
Whatever languages you choose to pursue, the ones listed above clearly have a sizable following among employers, which ensures they’ll prove valuable for quite some time to come.