The 7 Most In-Demand Programming Languages of 2018

Software development is a dynamic field. New and in-demand programming languages, frameworks and technologies can emerge, rise to fame, 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.

To accomplish that, we analyzed data from job website on twenty-five programming languages, stacks and frameworks to determine the top seven most in-demand coding languages as we move into 2018. This analysis is based on the number of job postings for each language. Some languages like 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 analysis from 2016 and 2017 on our blog.

Here’s our list, in order from most to least in-demand.



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.


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.


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 over 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.


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.


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 towards avoiding unnecessary copying. C#, like C++, is heavily used in video game development, so any aspiring video game developers would do well to learn both of them.


6. PHP

PHP, a scripting language used on the server side, moved up to number six in our ranking over number nine last year. Most developers use PHP for web development, either to add functions that HTML can’t handle or to interact with MySQL databases.


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 and 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 our 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 number 14 on our 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 number 11 on our list, but we expect we’ll see it climb in our ranking in the next few years. It’s rising in popularity in both international and US 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 our 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 over 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 made open-source 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 and we expect it to become more popular now that it’s become open-source.
  • Node: Node.js is an open-source run-time 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 twelfth most-popular technology in our analysis, not good enough to make the list but enough to show a solid demand for these skills. We recommend 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 eighteenth in our 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.

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23 thoughts on “The 7 Most In-Demand Programming Languages of 2018

  1. Um…yeah…I’ll take this list with a grain of salt. Here’s some of the languages that I know about.

    If you do Web, then LAMP and MEAN are your friends. If I’m doing a Windows application, then C++/C# is the way to go. I don’t think that Python is in high enough use to warrant it’s position on the list. It is easy to use though and worth learning. C/C++ is still in strong use today.

    Java’s only claim to fame is that it is cross-platform. It’s similar to C++ but with some differences. The really big drawback with Java is that it’s slow because it’s an interpreted language. Some of the schools are now teaching OpenGL with Java… Really? So you are going to use a high-speed graphics API with an interpreted language? Perhaps on mobile devices…

    But for what I do: System Software and firmware, the languages of choice are C and assembler. Sometimes C++ to make things more elegant on the system side, but never in firmware.

  2. According to this website python jobs are increaing rapidly but java is the most popular language.So I am learning java and python.

  3. Nice one, have always wanted to learn more about the programming language sespecially the PHP and I find this article very useful and educative. I appreciate your work and I look forward to more of this.

  4. Overall this is a “good” analysis except we are in the early months of 2018 and some language “age” discrepancy.
    I was welcomed into the programming world in 2003 – 15 years ago! There are some explanations needed here.
    C/C++ are still needed like COBOL (yes, surprise! Surprise!) in the mainframes environment such as older insurance and banking organization.
    Java remains the king as it works with main programming language with some touches of C++ since it runs almost on anything including this pc and this item you are reading this posting on, it be an iPad, a laptop, a PC or smart phone… maybe even your TV (or a toaster).
    Python and R: There should not be a #2 ranking and unranked type of difference! They are highly in demand these days with Big Data, Business Intelligence, Scientific research, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning etc… are growing. I would say both should be high in demand in the coming years. Pearl? PHP?… they are on the way out… Of course they will survive long enough like COBOL nevertheless, they are on the way out.
    JavaScript. It’s not going anywhere. It’s also possibly the easiest language available. Yet, don’t learn it in hope of finding a job purely with this language. Many programmer like myself are expected to know it along with the REAL programming languages such as C#, C++ and Java. It’s like a mandatory add-on item for any programmer. Many consider it as a script, not a language. To me, any code/script your write to tell a computer to interpret is a language.
    C#: I’m not sure why it’s going down. I was thinking since the Microsoft’s .NET environment platform is growing in demand with large organizations and MS has not plan to change that, I thought it would grow exponentially by now. Then again, it’s is still too early for a new language like C# to grow like that. So, I’m pretty sure it’ll stay around for decades to come with modest growth.
    Things to consider: In my opinion, I would advise potential programmers to learn a combination of high-level /solid programming languages (Java, C#, C++) along with the new comers like R. Not only that, SQL works well with most languages and essentially all enterprises. So, consider SQL! Finally, I would say learn any language that is used to develop some of the well-known SRM, CRM, ERP etc, like Dynamics AX (X++ on Morph-X environment), SAP FI or FICO (ABAP/ ABAP4 language), Oracle EBS (PL/SQL). Did I say “SQL”?. Of course most of them use a combination of different languages. But, if you learn the above languages, you’ll be in a good position to be on the “high-demand” side!
    I know this is not a complete list of what I’ve on my mind! Sorry! If you know your entry, let me know I can send a complete guide to your preference.

  5. What about Ruby/Rails? Often times I keep seeing how in-demand this language is in many IT job postings….

  6. I would say the language you want to learn needs to depend on what you want to do. All programming is not the same. Network programming is a different skill and programming language from web development or desktop development. I would never create a desktop app for windows using Java. I wouldn’t even create a web site using Java. I would use Java for devices, servers, and some network. If you look at the stats, there are more people using C# for web development than Java. However, the current skills for web development will probably transition to AngularJS, React, or NodeJS. You should tune your skills appropriately.

  7. Is which java is preferable to study ?…and which is useful in software field or IT?..could you give some suggestion to me..

  8. How is JavaScript the “grandfather of programming languages”? It has been first introduced in the same year as Java & PHP, and is more recent than Python, Perl, & C++.

  9. Despite the fact that even straight “ANSI” SQL has functions and most flavors of SQL allow for at least one type of User Defined Functions and most have the ability to loop AND things like SELECT are actually a loop (“Pseudo-Cursor”) behind the scenes that can normally be taken full advantage of as a loop without actually having to write a loop, it’s interesting that people still don’t recognize SQL as a “language” per se`. I suspect it’s the folks that think SQL and relational database engines are just a place to store data and don’t really know SQL much beyond what their ORMS can provide for them or the 5 basic statements.

    It’s actually an amazing language and the better renditions of it provide truly amazing features even without bolt-ons such as Haddop, R, Python, PowerShell, SSIS, SSRS, SSAS, SSSB, etc. Others complain that it’s slow compared to languages like C#, etc, but that’s only because people frequently don’t know how to use it correctly and they’re totally unaware of all the error checking and logging that it does behind the scenes, all things that would make typical C# code that does the same thing run much slower and still without the same robust environment it provides.

    While you still may disdain using it, it IS the language of data and, if you get good at it (and I’m not talking about most people’s paltry definition of “good”) and can get the wicked, nasty-fast, very high performance out of it that it’s easily capable of, you’ll be in very high demand.

    Unfortunately, most people that think they’re good at it, are not, simply because they’ve not actually spent much time to actually learn what it is truly capable of doing. Real life examples of the Dunning–Kruger effect are easy to come by. Just round up a dozen or two resumes where people claim knowledge of SQL and especially “performance tuning” and then find someone that truly has the skill and understands the art to interview them. It will also clearly demonstrate why so many people don’t think of SQL as a language. 😉

  10. Can I borrow your crystal ball?

    “Java decreased in popularity by about 6,000 job postings in 2018 compared to 2017”.

    I am just wondering how else you know how many Java job postings there are going to be in 2018.

  11. Perl included but not Ruby. I don’t know where you’re getting your data from but it’s definitely bad data.

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