Employer Demand High for Most Popular Programming Languages

Which programming languages do employers want technologists to know, and what does that demand say about the technology industry as a whole?

Turning to Emsi Burning Glass, we can track employer demand for programming languages (among other tech-related skills) over the past 90 days. The following chart represents that breakdown, along with the number of job postings mentioning that language during the period:

That SQL takes the top spot on this list should come as no surprise to anyone monitoring the demand for technologists. SQL allows technologists to modify a database’s index structures, retrieve information, and create new tables, among other functions—all of which are intensely valuable when dealing with companies’ wealth of data. Many businesses simply can’t operate without SQL knowledge. 

In addition, SQL can prove a lucrative language to know. According to Emsi Burning Glass, SQL developers earn a median salary of $92,504, with the profession projected to grow 11.5 percent over the next decade. 

Java is also a must-have skill at many companies, especially considering the mountains of legacy code written in it. If you’re totally new to programming, consider learning Java; it’s useful for everything from building mobile applications to dealing with servers, and its “write once, run anywhere” (WORA) design means it can run on any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM)

Meanwhile, Python continues to find its fans within specialized fields such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.), which would raise its profile if it wasn’t already an immensely popular generalist language. 

Keep in mind, of course, that popular programming languages aren’t necessarily the highest-paying ones (and some relatively obscure, specialized languages pay quite a bit, on average). That being said, knowing the ultra-popular languages can open up all kinds of opportunities, as there’s always a demand to maintain legacy code and build new apps and services in those languages.