The essential 10 programming languages developers need to know this year

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Curious what the top programming languages are this year? Coding Dojo has made it easy by scouring job ads to see which languages are popping up the most on Indeed.com.

Ease of learning, potential salary draw, longevity and demand are all factors that developers consider when they’re looking for a new language to study. 

Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, said, “We track which programming language cropped up most often in job descriptions and compare it to previous years. For the first time every language has dropped due to COVID. With so many people out of work due to COVID and layoffs, this year’s report has important insights for anyone looking to train for a new or more lucrative job in tech.”

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Demand for developers

He said, “Since 2017, the number of jobs has been steadily rising for most languages. This year, only three languages dipped below 2019 levels, which are C++, Perl and PHP. The strength of the other languages indicate the programming industry and demand for developers are holding strong.”

Some of the older languages such as SQL, Java and C++ are still on the list because a lot of older applications are built by those languages and legacy systems are hard to change to a different language. But Wang’s recommendation? “I think the language right now that’s really important to learn is Python.” 

Here are the top 10 programming languages that employers are seeking in job postings in 2021:

  1. Python (70,497 worldwide job postings)
  2. SQL (69,033)
  3. Java (59,369)
  4. R (55,978)
  5. Visual Basic (54,253)
  6. JavaScript (49,724)
  7. C++ (35,034)
  8. C# (27,525)
  9. Objective C (25,082)
  10. Ruby (13,279)

Fourth industrial revolution

Wang said, “We are in the fourth industrial revolution. Everything is powered by AR, VR, data science, machine learning and coding. Python not only can help you to code applications, but also is one of the foundation bedrock languages for data science and machine learning. So that’s why Python covers multiple different spectrums of technology application. That’s why it’s one of the most versatile languages to learn, and it’s also easy to learn as well.”

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While Coding Dojo didn’t look into the salary potential of each language, Wang said Python will ensure a developer of a high-paying career, while learning a simpler language such as Ruby will put them in a lower paying job. 

“Ruby is a great language to prototype, but it’s not really a sophisticated thing to learn, it’s almost like learning how to punch a calculator. Anybody can do it. So the pay of a Ruby job may be like, I would say, 50 grand to 60 grand per job, that kind of thing, it’s not really something you want to hang your career off,” Wang said.

This is the ideal time for people to learn a new programming language, or to learn their first programming language, Wang said, “We need to retrain and up-skill and re-skill our workforce so it can answer the calls of the technology era.”

“Businesses have been asking for more and more Python developers since the beginning of 2018. The number of jobs has skyrocketed. This year it took the top spot from SQL. This is great news for Python developers, or those looking to start a new career. Python is one of the most beginner friendly languages to learn and a much easier path into software development,” he said. 

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