The Most In-Demand Programming Languages for 2020

most in-demand programming languages

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Software development is a continuously evolving field. There is just too much to know—with changes taking place too quickly—to be an expert at everything. Selecting the right areas of expertise to focus on will allow you to take high-paying jobs for projects that spur your interest.

The good thing about programming languages is that it’s not difficult to pick up a new one once you are familiar with the fundamentals of coding. So why not cram a new language, put up some projects on your GitHub, and give yourself a shot at landing a sweet new gig?

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most in-demand programming languages going into 2020.

Which programming languages are truly “in-demand”?

It’s tempting to simply add up all the job listings for each language to come up with a list of those most “in-demand”, but this approach could be misleading. If the goal is to set yourself apart from the crowd and gain a strategic advantage in the job market, you want to go where demand is not swamped with over-supply.

The Big 3 most popular languages are currently:

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • Java

Knowing one of these languages will make you eligible for the largest number of job openings, but it will also put you up against the most competition.

Another way to look at demand is to consider the programming languages that can command the highest salary relative to a programmer’s total years of experience. The most recent Stack Overflow user survey contains an interesting chart plotting median salary against average years of programming experience for developers using a number of languages.

We find that JavaScript and Java give developers slightly below-average earning potential when compared to programmers with an equal number of years under their belt. Python developers fare better, with an above-average median salary level of around USD $63,000.

So if you want to pick up one of the top 3 overall languages and still stay ahead of the supply curve, then Python would be your best bet.

On the other hand, you could consider one of the following 7 languages to gain skills that can put you “in-demand” with employers—setting you up with the best possible earning potential even if the total numbers of job openings might not be as large.

  • Go
  • Rust
  • R
  • Clojure
  • Elixir
  • Ruby
  • Scala

go language

Go

Go, or Golang, was developed by Google and first appeared in 2009. The idea behind the creation of Go was to have a statically-typed language with the efficiency of C++ but with the readability of Python or JavaScript. Aside from Google, some of the other companies using Golang are Uber, Fabric, Sendgrid, and Medium.

rust language

Rust

Rust has been voted the “Most loved language” by Stack Overflow users for each of the past 4 years. With a syntax similar to C++, Rust is focused on safe concurrency and high performance. A few of the larger companies using rust are Postmates, Sentry, and Dropbox.

R programming language

R

The R programming language is used mostly in data analysis and statistical software, along with graphics. Some of the top companies using R include Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Ford, and Uber.

clojure

Clojure

Clojure was by far the highest-paying overall language, with developers around the world earning just under USD $90,000 per year on average. It’s a general-purpose functional language that runs on JVM (Java Virtual Machine). Some of the major companies using Clojure include Soundcloud, Groupon, and Weebly.

elixir lang

Elixir

Elixir is another general-purpose functional language, only it runs on the Erlang Virtual Machine. It’s designed for building scalable applications. Some companies using Elixir are IBM, Goldman Sachs, and Lonely Planet.

ruby lang

Ruby

Ruby is a dynamically-typed general-purpose programming language. It’s used in many web applications. Major companies using Ruby include Airbnb, GitHub, Shopify, and Groupon.

scala programming language

Scala

Like Clojure, Scala runs on JVM and provides interoperability with Java. It combines object-oriented and functional programming. Some notable companies using Scala are Netflix, Twitter, Airbnb, LinkedIn, and The Guardian.

Become proficient in one of the above 7 languages, and you’ll be in a good position to command a top salary from one of the hottest companies.

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