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Ten Most In-Demand Software Technologies for 2013

The most common question I’m asked when speaking to professionals in the software industry is “What technologies are most in demand these days?”  The influx of new technologies is happening more rapidly than ever before, and engineers are always eager to hear whether their skill set is current, or in danger of becoming out-of-date.

While it’s easy to answer this question anecdotally, I thought it would be interesting and valuable to do an analysis of the jobs the Software Technology Search division at WinterWyman has taken so far in 2013.  Some of the results were to be expected, and others came as a surprise. Of the many hundreds of jobs our group has worked on in 2013, here is the breakdown by technology:

1. Java (including all related open source frameworks) – 28%

2. Web UI (Javascript, AJAX, JQuery, Backbone, Angular, etc.) – 14%

3. C# – 11%

4. Ruby – 10%

5. Python – 9%

6. Mobile (both iOS and Android) – 9%

7. Full Stack Web App Development (Javascript, node, etc.) – 6%

8. PHP – 5%

9. C++ – 5%

10. Scala – 3%

As Expected

It’s no surprise that Java leads the pack. Java has dominated demand in the Boston tech market for a number of years.  Web UI engineers are also in high demand and they are certainly some of the most coveted engineers in the market today. Ruby and Python are in strong demand due to the speed with which you can build and deploy cutting edge web applications with these technologies.  Mobile development continues to grow due largely to the fact that industry studies show that by 2015 there will be more mobile web users than PC web users.

Surprising

In contrast, I was surprised Java made up only 28% of the mix of jobs. As recently as two years ago, Java accounted for more than 50% of the demand we were seeing from our clients. This drop goes hand-in-hand with the showing that technologies such as Ruby and Python have made this year. They have taken some of Java’s ‘market share’ and are now seen by many as viable technologies for building industry strength web applications. Engineers also see them as attractive technologies to learn and use.

I was also surprised by the increase in demand for C#/.NET, and this demand has been skewed towards the latter half of 2013. I believe this increase is related to an uptick in hiring by mid and large companies. Most of the demand earlier in the year had been driven by start-ups who are more apt to use open source technologies and frameworks. A larger percentage of mid and large size companies are using the .NET stack, and as hiring picks up for them, we see more .NET jobs.

Best Advice

Technology changes at a rapid pace, and over the last few years that pace seems to be light speed. Demand for older technologies does not rapidly go away, but the demands of the market ebb and flow. Software engineers who are interested in being current should stay as involved as possible in new trends. Attend industry events, read books, encourage collaboration at work and contribute to open source projects whenever possible. If you can increase your exposure to new technologies, you are more likely to be aware of trends and less likely to get caught with an out-of-date skill set.

Photo Credit: Web Software QA