Employers want JavaScript, but developers want Python

Employers also want developers skilled in React.js, Angular, and Node.js—but fewer developers have those skills

When it comes to which programming languages are in demand by employers, JavaScript, Java, Python, C++, and C—in that order—came out on top in a recent developer survey. Developers, however, want to learn languages like Python, Go, and Kotlin.

A survey of developers by technical recruiter HackerRank, conducted in October, found no gap between languages employers want and what developers actually know, with JavaScript barely edging out Java. But as far as which languages developers prefer, Python is the language developers most want to learn—and many already know it, HackerRank found.


HackerRank also queried about which languages developers were planning to learn next. The top languages developers said they will learn were—in order—Go, Python, Scala, Kotlin, and Ruby.

HackerRank noted that language preference varies by industry. Java, for example, has been favored in financial services for years, while C dominates in hardware development.

HackerRank also found gaps in JavaScript frameworks between what employers want and what developers know:

  • The React JavaScript UI library had the biggest delta between employers and developers, with about 37 percent of employers wanting React skills but only about 19 percent of developers having them.
  • For Angular, the gap was less, with about 39 percent of employers wanting Angular skills and roughly 32 percent of developers having them.
  • For Node.js, the gap was about  38 percent to 30 percent.

Of the 39,441 developers surveyed, 7,000 were also technical hiring managers, whom HackerRank also questioned about recruiting.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Developers are getting started early. More than a quarter of developers surveyed wrote their first code before age 16.
  • Problem-solving skills are the most-sought by employers, more than language proficiency, debugging, and system design.
  • While 67 percent of developers have computer science degrees, about 74 percent said they were at least partially self-taught.
  • On average, developers know four languages but want to know four more.

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