Coding Trends – which languages are most in demand?

One of our favourite things about technology is its velocity: From the world-changing (self-driving cars, 3D printed limbs) to the wonderful everyday consumer products (4G, Virtual Reality), our world is constantly in flux.
This partially explains why tech companies’ language preferences are constantly evolving too. Web pages, apps and demands for mobile grow more complex. Meanwhile, software developers and tech companies use (and augment) some languages over others. So preferred languages evolve, rise and fall.

Here are some coding trends we’ve noticed in recent times…

The Hot Tickets
One of the most popular languages with our students (if not the single most popular) is Python. A recent survey by the IEEE (Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) ranked languages based on industry trends, employability and popularity in open source communities. Python topped the list overall and was also number one in trending and open source.
The same survey ranked Java number one for employability, followed by C and then Python.

Python’s surge is based on a few factors, chief of which is probably its usability. Relatively easy to learn and practice, the language is used by (among others) Google (where its inventor Guido Van Rossum used to work), Facebook, Dropbox (where van Rossum now works) and NASA.

Java (not to be confused with Javascript) is still a hot property. The language is favoured for very large web back-end projects and can be used across multiple platforms. It’s also a common language for teaching the principles of software engineering. That said, it’s not ideal for small projects and – in the eyes of many software developers – is unnecessarily complicated.

On a different survey, by Stack Overflow, Javascript was the most popular language among coders, followed by SQL, Java, C# and Python.

The Falling Stars
Just like in every other industry, coding and IT is beholden to trends and changes in demand. Once promising languages like Visual Basic are now becoming obsolete. Others, like Cobol and Fortran are not in mainstream use. Cobol is only favoured by some corners of the financial industry while it’s mainly research institutions that opt for Fortran.

In truth, once a language hits a certain threshold, it can take decades to truly die. But obviously, the more broadly popular a language is with coders, their departments and their employers, the better it is for students to learn.

Tips for the Future
Javascript is probably the most popular language on the planet right now, while Python is continuing its rapid ascent.

When preparing for such industry changes, nothing beats curiosity: A coding career is a combination of following your own passions and aptitudes, and adapting to what’s required. This could mean reacting to industry trends, or even learning to use a language that a team or project is using.

We wouldn’t ask anything of our students that we wouldn’t do ourselves: We augment our courses in collaboration with employers and in tandem with their needs. And just like the industry itself, our curriculum is constantly evolving.