Software

Most in-demand programming languages: Is Java having a comeback?

Java was the skill that programming community hub Stack Overflow says grew most rapidly in the second half of the year in the UK and Ireland.

The programming language Java, enterprise favorite and Android staple, has seen a surge in interest among employers in the UK and Ireland.

Java was the language that saw the biggest rise in-demand from businesses during the second half of the year in the two countries, according to The Developer Ecosystem report by programming community hub Stack Overflow.

Stack Overflow analysts looked at which programming languages are mentioned most often in UK and Irish job listings on the site, as a way of gauging how sought after languages are among employers.

Web development language JavaScript remains the most in-demand language in the two countries, although Python is increasingly being sought, with it overtaking C# as the third most-requested skill. Stack Overflow attributes this rise to a "surge in development of machine learning and AI in the UK".

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Image: Stack Overflow

The site also analyzed how many developers had viewed Java and other programming language-tags, looking at figures from the UK and Ireland, as a way of gauging overall popularity.

Similar to the rise in job postings, Java also enjoyed an uptick in visits during the second half of the year, following a period of its share of visits on the site declining or being flat. Overall, Java remains at fourth place among the most-visited programming languages.

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

Somewhat surprisingly, given the use of Java in writing Android apps, there has been a significant decline, 13%, in Android developers across the UK and Ireland. However, it's worth noting Java isn't the only programming language used to write Android apps, with the Google-backed Kotlin growing in popularity.

Topping the list as the most popular language, as elsewhere in the world, was Python. The rise of Python is, in part, due to its flexibility, with the language used regularly by web and desktop developers, sysadmin/devops, and more recently by data scientists and machine-learning engineers.

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Image: Stack Overflow

Other notable findings in the report include the fact that highest growth of any developer population in the UK and Ireland is in Edinburgh, where numbers have grown by 8%, followed closely by the area surrounding Birmingham at seven percent.

Stack Overflow is the world's largest online community of software developers with over 14 million questions asked, and more than 50 million professional and aspiring programmers visit Stack Overflow each month.

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About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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