The coding skills that will get you hired in 2015

Gareth Halfacree

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Whether you’re hiring a programmer or learning to code, knowing which languages are topping the charts and which skills are the most sought-after will give you a valuable insight into where you should be concentrating your efforts.

Learning a programming language, students are told today, is the route to a successful and lucrative career. The trouble comes when trying to choose a language. There are so many and they’re not all made equal when it comes to finding jobs  or, indeed, for employers finding staff.

Popularity

Highly popular languages are typically more versatile than less popular niche languages, and basing a project on a popular language means finding new staff is easier.

It should come as no surprise, in a world which is becoming increasingly cloud- and app-powered, that a VisionMobile European App Economy 2015 report shows Java as the most popular programming language throughout Europe, after the HTML5 web markup language. An analysis of the GitHub code repository service by US analyst firm RedMonk shows this is not a local trend: Java tops the tree globally, as does the similarly-named but unrelated dynamic language JavaScript.

Those looking for programming jobs will likely find themselves performing a test, and an analysis by CodeEval suggests that Python – a popular language in education – is by far the most popular in that context.

Mobile

Knowledge of which is the most popular language must be tempered with an understanding of which is the most suitable for a given task, however, particularly when hiring staff. With many companies turning to mobile app development, a different picture emerges: Vision Mobile reports that the popularity of Apple’s iOS platform has resulted in 180,000 iOS-related jobs in the UK alone, and these require quite a different language profile.

Where JavaScript reigns supreme on the web and Java for projects requiring cross-platform portability, Apple’s Swift  based on C and Objective-C – is becoming increasingly popular. Despite having been introduced only four months before the VisionMobile report was compiled, it ranked as the sixth most popular language in Europe – a placing that is likely to rapidly rise.

Skill Sets

Technology projects don’t rely on languages alone, of course. Staff are required to have various skills. In its 2015 Jobs Report, the Linux Foundation discovered that the open-source operating system was in high demand with 97 per cent of hiring managers looking for knowledge of the platform. Other sought-after skills include knowledge of cloud computing platforms, while a developer survey from Stack Overflow suggested that knowing Git, more than any other version control system, would stand a job-seeker in good stead.

When it comes to programming, as in life, companies and prospective employees alike should carefully consider their choice of language.

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