PLEASE REVIEW THE MORE RECENT VERSION FOR MARCH 2010.

Last week I took a look at the “traditional” programming language job trends. Today, I wanted to take a look at some “web 2.0” languages, Ruby and Rails, Python, PHP, JavaScript, and Objective C. The idea behind this is to see what the trends are for those languages typically used for more dynamic web sites and the hot area of iPhone programming. Just like last week’s job trends, I compare results from both Indeed and SimplyHired.

First, let’s look at the Indeed trends for the web 2.0 languages. Because Indeed gives us over 4 years of trend information, you can really see how these languages are being adopted.

Javascript has the most obvious growth trend starting back in July of 2005. At that point, more dynamic interfaces were being developed using JavaScript and Ajax, and the demand for these skills is continuously increasing. PHP has also shown a solid growth trend, with a big bump coming in January 2008. The other languages are all growing nicely with Python showing a higher growth rate in the past 18 months as well. The Objective C trend line is interesting (and a bit hard to see). There is a significant bump in July 2008, which coincides with the iPhone 3G launch. However, the trend quickly dropped into a much slower growth.

Now, let’s compare the Indeed trends to SimplyHired trends. SimplyHired gives us just under 2 years of data, but this can show us the more short term fluctuations in the trends.

Ruby, Rails, Python, Php, Javascript, Objective C trends

The first thing we notice here is the dramatic dip at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. This occurred in the “traditional” language job trends as well. SimplyHired does show JavaScript’s growth trend to be similar to Indeed’s, meaning rapid growth. PHP has a decent growth trend, but does seem a bit flat this year. You can also see the same jump in growth in January of 2008. Python had a fairly slow growth rate prior to the beginning of this year, but it is definitely recovering very well. Ruby and Rails are growing, but they are growing much slower than the others. Again, Objective C has an interesting trend line. It was growing slowly until April of this year when it saw a huge bump. This coincides with the SDK 3.0 launch (check the iPhone OS history on Wikipedia). Because of that large bump, the trend for Objective C is going down, but my guess is that it is just a normal correction and we will see the trend move upward soon. Interestingly, Objective C is shown to be as popular or even more popular than Rails. Obviously, this is a little misleading because Rails goes with Ruby, but many job descriptions will list iPhone SDK as the requirement as opposed to Objective C. If you look at the same SimplyHired trend with IPhone included, you will see a fairly significant growth pattern.

What does all of this mean? Well, we can see that the demand for dynamic web interfaces is not slowing down. If you are mostly a “server side” developer, i.e. Java or C#, it may be a good idea to add some JavaScript to your skills. The PHP and Python demand also show that web development is an ever increasingly demanded skill as well. The demand for Objective C and iPhone development shows that mobile development is likely growing, but not as quickly as the hype has made it seem. As “smart phones” become more prevalent, I am sure we will see a huge growth trend in all things mobile, including Objective C. It will be interesting to see how these trends change over the next year.
All data provided by Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. My apologies to both for my slight resizing of the images and poor layout.