Coding Languages Every Developer Should Learn in 2018

Coding Dojo came to its findings by analyzing the hundreds of thousands of job postings that contained the name of a programming language on job search engine Indeed.com.

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One of the world’s largest coding bootcamps, Coding Dojo, has released an objective analysis of the most in-demand programing languages of 2018.

Coding Dojo came to its findings by analyzing the hundreds of thousands of job postings that contained the name of a programming language on job search engine Indeed.com. It found that Java is the most in-demand followed by Python and JavaScript.

“Software development is a dynamic field,” Speros Misirlakis, Coding Dojo’s Head of Curriculum, wrote in a media advisory to eWEEK. “New programming languages, frameworks and technologies can emerge, become popular, and then fade away in the course of a few years. Developers need to constantly be learning new skills to stay relevant.

“At Coding Dojo, we’re continually evaluating which programming languages are in high demand from employers so we can prepare our students to enter the job market. There are many ways to measure a programming language’s popularity, but we believe examining job demand is most useful because it shows developers the skills to learn to improve their career prospects.”

Data for Research Gathered on Indeed.com

To accomplish that, Misirlakis said, Coding Dojo analyzed data from job website Indeed.com on 25 programming languages, stacks and frameworks to determine the top seven most in-demand coding languages as the business moves into 2018.

This analysis is based on the number of job postings for each language. Some languages, such as Swift and Ruby, didn’t make the top seven because they have lower job demand, even though developers love them. You can read the results of similar analyses from 2016 and 2017.

Here’s Coding Dojo's 2018 list, with languages named in order of demand:

No. 1:  Java 

Java decreased in popularity by about 6,000 job postings in 2018 compared to 2017, but is still extremely well-established. Java is over 20 years old, used by millions of developers and billions of devices worldwide, and able to run on any hardware and operating system through the Java Virtual Machine. All Android apps are based on Java and 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Java as a server-side language for backend development. Java Enterprise Edition 8 and Java 9 both launched in September 2017 as the Eclipse Foundation took over managing Java EE from Oracle.

No. 2:  Python

Python grew in popularity by about 5,000 job postings over 2017. It is a general-purpose programming language used for web development and as a support language for software developers. It’s also widely used in scientific computing, data mining and machine learning. The continued growth and demand for machine learning developers may be driving the popularity of Python.

No. 3:  JavaScript

JavaScript, the grandfather of programming languages, is roughly as popular today as it was in our last blog post. That’s no surprise to us – JavaScript is used by more than 80% of developers and by 95% of all websites for any dynamic logic on their pages. Several front-end frameworks for JavaScript such as React and AngularJS have huge future potential as IoT and mobile devices become more popular, so we doubt we’ll see JavaScript drop in popularity anytime soon.    

No. 4:  C++

C++ changed very little in popularity from early 2017 to now. An extension of the old-school “C” programming language, C++ is usually used for system/application software, game development, drivers, client-server applications and embedded firmware. Many programmers find C++ complex and more difficult to learn and use than languages like Python or JavaScript, but it remains in use in many legacy systems at large enterprises.

No. 5:  C#

C# (pronounced “C sharp”) went down slightly in demand this year. C# is an object-oriented programming language from Microsoft designed to run on Microsoft’s .NET platform and to make development quicker and easier than Microsoft’s previous languages. C# 7.2 came out in November, adding several new features geared toward avoiding unnecessary copying. C#, like C++, is heavily used in video game development, so aspiring video game developers would do well to learn both of them.

No. 6:  PHP

PHP, a scripting language used on the server side, moved up to No. 6 in our ranking from No. 9 last year. Most developers use PHP for web development, either to add functions that HTML can’t handle or to interact with MySQL databases.

No. 7:  Perl

Perl dropped by about 3,000 job postings and stayed in seventh place in our analysis. Perl 5 and Perl 6 are both chugging along; Perl continues to be popular for system and network administrators and as a glue language.

Up and Comers

These are the languages that haven’t made it onto the top seven yet but have been growing in use and popularity in 2017. Keep an eye out for them in the future.

  • Swift: Swift, the programming language for iOS and macOS that Apple release in 2014, came in at No. 14 on the list. This may be partially because many job posting ask for “iOS” experience without naming specific languages. Swift has been growing steadily in popularity since it launched, according to IEEE Spectrum and Stackify.
  • R: R came in at No. 11 on the list, but we expect to see it climb in our ranking in the next few years. It’s rising in popularity in both international and U.S. search rankings and was the “least-disliked” language on a Stack Overflow survey this year. Its growth may be due to the growth of big data analysis jobs.  
  • Rust: Although Rust ranks low on the list, it has been steadily growing in popularity according to Google Trends data.

Other Technologies Developers Should Know

These software frameworks or technologies aren’t technically programming languages but are still important for developers to know in 2018 and are commonly advertised technical skills for developers found on Indeed.

  • SQL: SQL is the standard query language for storing, retrieving and manipulating data in databases. It’s not technically a programming language since it lacks looping and other basic functions, but extensions like PL/SQL have added some of these. SQL is in extremely high job demand, with more than 30,000 more job postings mentioning it than our top programing language, Java. If you only have time to learn one new technology in 2018, this is the one to pick.
  • .NET: .NET is Microsoft’s platform for desktop, web, mobile, gaming and IoT app development. It was released to the open source community in 2016 and is used by the C#, Visual Basic and F# programming languages. .NET Core, a cross-platform .NET implementation, extends .NET to iOS, Linux, and Android. Many Windows applications run on .NET, making it extremely prevalent in the business world; Coding Dojo expects it to become more popular now that it’s become open source.
  • Node.js: Node.js is an open source runtime environment that allows JavaScript code to be run on the server side, allowing web developers to use one language for an entire web application. Node.js was the 12th most-popular technology in our analysis, not good enough to make the list but enough to show a solid demand for these skills. Coding Dojo recommends that any JavaScript developers spend some time with Node.js to make themselves more well-rounded, even if they focus on the client side.
  • MEAN: The MEAN stack (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS and Node.js) ranked 18th in the Coding Dojo analysis. Using the MEAN stack allows you to create an entire application using JavaScript, which is simple, quick and highly versatile. Learning MEAN will give any developer a strong background in one of the most common and active programming languages in the world.
Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...