The most in-demand (and valuable) programming languages

A new study reveals that Java developers make the most while JavaScript programmers are the most wanted

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People choosing to enter the glamorous world of computer programming often wonder what language(s) make the most sense to learn. As I’ve written before, Python is a popular choice for beginners, for a number of reasons. But what languages will offer you the best chance at getting hired or will offer the highest salaries?

A new study by Carl Joseph and Terence Siganakis of MS Gooroo sheds some light on the value of different programming languages in the current job market. Joseph and Siganakis looked at technology job advertisements from January through June 2014 in the United States, Great Britain and Australia. They analyzed listings for just over 300,000 jobs which required one or more of a dozen or so well-known languages.

They had a number of interesting findings. Here are my three big take-aways from their results:

  • Jobs requiring Java are the highest paying - The average salary for Java jobs across the US, Great Britain and Australia was about $84,000 (in U.S. dollars). The next highest paying jobs were those requiring Ruby/RoR, VBA and Objective-C, all close to what Java positions paid.

  • JavaScript is the language most in demand - Jobs looking for people skilled in JavaScript were, far-and-away, the most plentiful, mentioned in about 14% of the job listings. C# programmers were the next highest in demand (9%), followed by Java coders (8% of listings). As I wrote last week, JavaScript is the top programming language choice among startups, so this isn’t so surprising.

  • Jobs requiring niche languages are in lower demand and pay less - Clojure, Haskell, Lisp and Fortran ranked the lowest in terms of both demand and pay. As the authors pointed out, though these languages are popular among developers (e.g., Clojure and Haskell, for example, are popular on GitHub), “They don't however offer stable employment (yet).”

If you poke around MSGooroo you’ll find some other interesting salary/jobs data by programming language. The site presents a more detailed breakdown of pay and demand for different languages within the U.S., Great Britain and Australia. Within the U.S., for example, Java will increase your salary by about $9,300 a year, while having JavaScript on your resume will boost your pay by about $6,700 annually.

It’s well worth reading their full analysis, including nicely detailed disclosures on their methodology. Have at it!

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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