Software

Forget the most popular programming languages, here's what developers actually use

Companies are seeking developers with strong programming skills rather than traditional education, according to a Triplebyte report.

When it comes to hiring software engineers, Bay Area companies are seeking candidates with strong skills and proficiency over traditional experience and education, according to a Monday report from Triplebyte offered exclusively to TechRepublic.

High demand for developers in the Bay Area has led salaries to climb, the report found. As of June 2018, the average salary offer for an engineer on the Triplebyte platform was $153,547, compared to $131,122 the year before. Engineering salaries increased by 7% between January and August 2018 alone, the report found.

The report is based on an analysis of nearly 2,000 job offers made over the past two years through the Triplebyte platform.

SEE: Hiring kit: Python developer (Tech Pro Research)

"While demand for technical talent is high across the board, where things truly get competitive is when a candidate demonstrates the natural drive to learn new programming languages and approaches, beyond the most commonly used ones, to deepen their knowledge and become an expert engineer," Harj Taggar, CEO of Triplebyte, said in a press release. "These types of candidates don't always come in the traditional packages. Often, they are self-taught, in non-technical roles or even hobbyists."

Here are the top five most popular programming languages, according to software engineers:

1. Python

No surprise here: Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages in the world, as it is increasingly used in a wide range of developer job roles and data science positions across industries. While it remains in pole position on this list, its growth may be slowing a bit this year, according to GitHub data.

2. Ruby

Ruby was once the darling of the developer community, and, according to this data still is. However, other reports have shown Ruby's popularity plummeting in recent years, with some coding schools even dropping the language from their curriculum.

However, "Python and Ruby are not surprising at all," Taggar told TechRepublic. "Especially over the last decade, they're the most popular languages for engineers who are working on web applications and software, which is increasingly the bulk of software engineering that's happening."

Python and Ruby are also the languages of the two most popular web frameworks, being Django and Ruby on Rails, respectively, Taggar said. Both languages are concise, are easy to read, and allow developers to code quickly, Taggar said.

SEE: Hiring kit: JavaScript developer (Tech Pro Research)

3. JavaScript

JavaScript has become increasingly popular over the past five years, in response to the changing nature of web application use, Haggar said.

In the past, when you clicked a link, it required a full page refresh. Today, websites are much more responsive, and don't require you to refresh the page when you click to expand an article, for example, Haggar said.

"Browsing a website has almost started feeling like using a desktop software application because it's so quick," Haggar said. "That's all come from JavaScript and frameworks like React, that allow you to build these beautiful experiences where you can click and you can see things happen immediately."

4. Java

The rise of Java correlates to the rise of mobile devices, Haggar said. "Java is essentially what you need to know to be an Android engineer," he added.

Java also came in no. 2 on the PYPL Popularity of Programming Language Index this year.

5. C++

The proliferation of mobile has also led to the rise in C++, which is often used for iOS development, Haggar said. C++ came in at no. 4 on the PYLP list as well.

While these were the five most popular programming languages among developers, interestingly, the strongest performers on technical evaluations were for the less popular languages of Rust, Go, and Lua, the report found.

While few companies use Rust, Go, or Lua as their primary language, an engineer who is proficient in one of these is likely someone who enjoys the craft of engineering, and spends their own time developing expertise in these languages, Haggar added.

"If I were hiring engineers, even if I knew that I wanted to use Python, I might pay attention to the people who know Rust, Go, and Lua, because that might be an indication that they're very strong engineers," Haggar said.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Python, Ruby, and JavaScript are the most popular programming languages among software engineers. — Triplebyte, 2018
  • Engineers who can code in Rust, Go, and Lua can be among the most technically proficient. — Triplebyte, 2018

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/scyther5

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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