Web And Scripting Programming Language Job Trends – August 2011

August is one of the months that I devote to job trends. Last week I focused on the trends for traditional languages like C++ and Java. Today, we return to what I call the web and scripting languages. You may be wondering what I mean by “web and scripting languages”, and my list currently includes RubyPythonPHPJavaScriptFlex and Groovy. I dropped Rails from the last trend post due to Ruby finally outpacing Rails and trying to keep the languages distinct from frameworks (and obviously including Grails for Groovy). If you think I should be including another language, please let me know in the comments.

So, here are the trends from Indeed.com:

JavaScript demand is still huge compared to the other languages, but it has much slower growth in the past six months. I do not expect this to continue because the adoption of HTML5 will mean even more demand for JavaScript knowledge. All of the languages have shown much slower growth over the past six months, so it looks like this is more industry related than language specific. PHP jumped a bit before stabilizing while Python looks like it will overtake Flex before the next update in February. Ruby continues its upward trend as it grows out of its Rails framework. Groovy still lags behind the other frameworks, but is still showing solid growth.

Now, let’s look at the short-term trends from SimplyHired.com.

SimplyHired shows a little more recent growth in JavaScript when compared to the Indeed trend, but the general plateau for the past few months is similar. Flex has shown a large spike in the past two months, which is completely different than the Indeed trend. Based on a review of the job listings, it looks like SimplyHired has more unrelated jobs, or noise, for Flex than Indeed, so this could explain the difference. The other languages are showing a similar slowing trend since the beginning of the year. Interestingly, PHP, Python and Ruby are showing similar trend lines since the end of 2010, which likely points to the maturity of web development as an industry. Groovy’s trend is much slower than the others here, just like the Indeed graph.

Lastly, we have the relative trends for job growth from Indeed.com. This shows an interesting perspective of the job trends, comparing percentage growth as opposed to percentage of all postings.

I love this graph because it shows not just demand, but where the industry is trying to move. Groovy was not showing a lot of job demand, but its growth is much larger than the other languages. Ruby is also showing a very strong growth trend, when compared to the other languages except Groovy. Given that Ruby is already a well-established language, this rate of growth is fairly impressive. All of the languages are showing a stabilization in the last month or two, which is similar to the demand trends above. Python continues to grow rapidly, outpacing PHP and JavaScript. Flex is basically not growing at this point and will likely see a downward trend as HTML5 adoption increases.

All of these trends are pointing to the stabilization and maturity of web development. For years, there were questions about what languages to use because there were so many. Now, you can see that these languages have shown strong growth over the years and in the case of Ruby and Groovy outgrown their web frameworks, Rails and Grails. The one interesting long-term trend to watch is the influence of HTML5. Given that HTML5 includes several new and interesting JavaScript APIs, and includes much functionality that could replace Flash, and Flex, there could be some significant changes in these demand and growth trends. It will be interesting to see if HTML5 affects PHP and the other languages.

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6 thoughts on “Web And Scripting Programming Language Job Trends – August 2011

  1. Great article Rob.
    I’m thinking of switching from Java to more of a Web scripting language and your post has provided me with some valuable information.


    1. David

      You may want to look at the other job trends posts, in the Job Trends category. Learning scripting languages is a good idea, but moving completely away from Java may not be a good thing. Do some research on your general area or type of development to determine which language may have the best job prospects. Thanks for reading!


  2. “you can see that these languages have shown strong growth over the years and in the case of Ruby and Groovy outgrown their web frameworks, Rails and Grails”

    How is this seen? I am particularly interested in Grails and it’s usage/growth or lack thereof. It does seem to have jumped the shark a year ago.


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