Traditional Programming Language Job Trends – February 2011

It is that time again, time for the job trends for traditional programming languages. Just like the last update, we are only looking at Java, C++, C#Objective CPerl and Visual Basic. I know people will complain about some other language not being included, but I am trying to find a good way to determine what languages should be included in this list. So, let’s start the show.

First, here is a look at the job trends from

It looks like there is continued growth in the past 6 months, which is good for the industry as a whole. Java, C#, Perl and Objective C all continue to see nice gains. Visual Basic is starting to flatten out again after trending upward slightly at the beginning of last year. C++ has now been surpassed by C#, as it is finally starting to decline in demand. As more development moves away from native Windows applications, .Net and SharePoint are likely helping C# demand.

Now, let’s look at SimplyHired’s short term trends:

After the most recent low point in August 2010, it looks like demand for most languages is increasing again. Oddly enough, Visual Basic seems to be going against the trends and is the only language with a real decline in the past 6 months. Java continues strong demand, while C++ and C# follow almost identical trend lines. Perl has increased a bit, but is mostly flat over the past year. One significant difference here is that Objective C still shows very little demand when compared to the same graph from Indeed.

Finally, here is a review of the relative scaling from Indeed. This provides an interesting trend graph based on job growth:

Here we can see the growth of language demand without the graph flattening effect that the number of Java jobs has on other languages. One thing is clear, Objective C demand is exploding. C# is showing a solid growth trend while C++ is finally decreasing. Perl and Java are following the same growth pattern, which is likely due to their usage in traditional enterprise applications and could be a good trend to follow for overall industry growth. Even though Visual Basic’s trend went up, it is still showing negative growth.

What does all this mean? Java and Perl continue to have solid demand and seem to be showing us what large enterprise demand looks like. The transition to C# continues, and we can probably say that C# is the language to use for Windows based development. C++ still has plenty of uses, but demand is moving elsewhere. Objective C continues to grow like a weed as more development goes to iOS applications.

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7 thoughts on “Traditional Programming Language Job Trends – February 2011

  1. Hi Rob,

    This is not a complaint since these are the keys trends, but perhaps you could put together something similar for the some of the newer languages, like python, ruby, scala, etc. It would be interesting to see how they are doing relative to each other. What would also be neat is to see how the older languages are progressing like COBOL (and COBOL accessories like RPG), lisp, smalltalk, etc. Again I wouldn’t mix them with your current list, but on their own they reveal a lot about the nature of software development.




    1. Paul,

      Actually, I do have a similar post coming on what I currently call “Web & Scripting” languages. The last update is and all of my job trends posts can be found using the navigation tabs at the top of the page. In the last web/scripting post, I did look at Ruby and Python (and others), but Scala was not on the list yet. I am trying to find a way to get a good list of languages to look during each post. TIOBE is not entirely helpful in this respect. I did include COBOL in one of the earlier job trends posts, but there was minimal demand and it just ended up being clutter.


  2. Hi Rob,

    What I was really curious about, was how the three different groups relate to each other. I know there are still a lot of COBOL (and COBOL accessories) systems running, and that web 1.0 and 2.0 system represent a big market, but I don’t have any idea how they all relate to each other, or back the main-stream technologies like Java and C# (and are they actually main-stream?). Three lines would be interesting: legacy, main-stream, upcoming. That might just show our adoption curve for technologies (or at least the employment opportunities 🙂

    Anyways, the trends are always facinating, so keep up the good work.



    1. Paul,

      I saw the demand for COBOL and it was truly minimal, especially when compared to Java, C++ and C#. However, you have an interesting idea with your comparison between mainstream and upcoming/rising languages. That could be an interesting view of things, I would just need to find the right way to present things.


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