Top 6 Programming Languages for Software Developers and Engineers

It’s a good time to become a software developer or engineer. Even companies well outside the tech industry have recognized the value of bringing programming in-house to create both customer-facing apps and internal services. The unemployment rate for IT occupations overall hit 2.4 percent in March, compared to 6 percent nationally for all occupations.

If you’re interested in becoming a software developer or engineer, you’re probably wondering which programming languages are most important to learn for the role. The good news: Many companies rely on a variety of programming languages to accomplish their mission-critical tasks. Even better news: These languages are generally widely used, meaning there’s lots of documentation out there if you’re looking to learn (and troubleshoot your own code).

Which programming languages are most often cited in job postings for software developers and engineers? To answer that question, we turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country: 

In addition to these programming languages, many software developer/engineer job postings also call out skills such as software development principles and various frameworks. There’s likewise a heavy emphasis on “soft skills” such as teamwork and communication; if you reach the interview stage for a software developer/engineer job, the hiring manager or recruiter will no doubt ask you about times you’ve collaborated successfully with others, so make sure you have good teamwork stories ready. 

If you’re looking for documentation on JavaOracle (which purchased Sun Microsystems, which created the language in-house) maintains a forum where you can ask questions and review what others are doing; there’s also a handy tutorial site. As you might expect, Java developers can turn to a prominent sub reddit for help and tutorials, and InfoWorld also has lots of continually updated information about the language on its dedicated page

Those who want to work on their Python skills, meanwhile, can visit Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. Datacamp (whose Introduction to Python course includes 11 videos and 57 exercises), Udemy (which offers a variety of free introduction courses, including one for “absolute beginners”), and Codecademy also have Python instruction. 

When you learn a programming language, it’s always worth keeping an eye on how it’s evolving, such as new versions and frameworks. For example, if you’re curious about Python’s growth, check out this interview with Pablo Galindo, a Bloomberg software engineer, Python core developer, and one of five members of the 2021 Python Steering Council.