The Top Programming Languages Employers Want From You

Posted by Ashley Jones

Having the right skillset is a tried and true key to success for any career. And as technology evolves and new skills become in-demand by employers, savvy professionals make it a point to continue learning to stay abreast of what’s relevant. While many developers are game to learn new programming languages, knowing which are most popular among employers can help you prioritize which to tackle first.

There’s a lot of information and varying opinions to field when trying to determine which programming languages are most popular at any given time. Most articles will name Java, Python, and other contenders from Rust to Kotlin or Swift—the list goes on and on. There’s tons of programming languages to choose from, each with their own advantages, which can make it difficult to pinpoint which one is right for you and worth pursuing next.

But knowing what’s hot in the market, specifically from an employer standpoint, can help you move your career forward in the right direction. According to a report1 based on Burning Glass Nova2 data, these are the six programming languages that employers want most:

  1. SQL
  2. Java
  3. JavaScript
  4. Python
  5. C#
  6. C++

This list was compiled from Burning Glass Nova data, which captures and analyzes 3.5 million active job postings daily, from more than 45,000 sources. When tracking job postings that require programming languages, SQL came out on top with over 196,000 job postings naming it as a requirement over a three-month period. Even in sixth place, C++ saw over 50,000 job postings that called it out as a requirement.

If you’re fluent in any of the programming languages listed above, the odds of finding employment opportunities that meet your skillset are promising. And if you’re just starting out in the industry, these are great prospects to set your sights on as you build your repertoire.

Employers need these particular programming languages for good reason, as these are some of the most widely used languages on the market. With their popularity comes a great amount of online documentation to help you solve problems along the way as you gain your footing. And there are numerous schools and bootcamps that can also help you get up to speed. If you take the time to learn these languages and continually stay up to date on them, your future job search will thank you.

When you do find yourself in job search mode, be sure to update your resume to highlight the programming languages in your wheelhouse. Many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will be searching for specific words in your resume such as Java or C++ to determine if you fit the requirements of the job. So pay attention to the requirements noted in each job posting you apply to and make edits to your resume accordingly, to avoid the infamous ATS black hole.

It’s always best to talk about your skills in terms of your accomplishments whenever possible. But if you’re in a technical field, including a short list of the most critical technologies for the job is fine, along with the number of years experience in each. Also keep in mind that your resume should be forward thinking to the job you want, so don’t feel you need to list every programming language you’ve ever touched. Focus on the skillset you want to use in your next job and what will help sell you as the best candidate.

And finally, while hard skills like programming languages are necessary for a developer, don’t discount the value of soft skills—they’re always in demand. Skills like communication, problem solving, collaboration, and leadership will take you far in your career, as employers are increasingly on the look out for candidates with these non-technical skills. As technology advances and techniques and processes continually change, a particular hard skill you were hired to perform can become obsolete overnight. However, soft skills will always have value, regardless of the changing landscape that surrounds us. So keep both hard and soft skills in mind as you progress in your career and look for new opportunities to grow.

1 Top 7 Programming Languages That Employers Really Want
2 Burning Glass Nova


  • Ashley Jones

    Ashley Jones is ClearedJobs.Net's blog Editor and a cleared job search expert, dedicated to helping security-cleared job seekers and employers navigate job search and recruitment challenges. With in-depth experience assisting cleared job seekers and transitioning military personnel at in-person and virtual Cleared Job Fairs and military base hiring events, Ashley has a deep understanding of the unique needs of the cleared community. She is also the Editor of ClearedJobs.Net's job search podcast, Security Cleared Jobs: Who's Hiring & How.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 04, 2020 8:00 am

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