IT Jobs 2013: Top 10 Programming Languages In-Demand

Aggregate posts from the leading job boards indicate the best programming languages to land a job in 2013.

Programming Skills in Demand

With IT budgets at a five-year high, progressive organizations are developing new software systems and applications to boost performance, reduce costs and expand their reach across a fast-growing digital marketplace. The resulting increase in programming and development projects has placed computer programmers among this year's most sought-after professionals (IT or otherwise)., a leading resource for IT executives, along with job board aggregator,, analyzed programming and development job offers across the top job boards to determine this year’s hottest programming languages. We built on this top-notch analysis to identify some of the key factors driving workforce demand for each language.

Here are the most marketable programming languages in 2013:

  1. SQL

    With nearly 100,000 job offers, SQL (Structured Query Language) development is this year’s hottest programming skill. It's no surprise that a language designed to edit and query data claims the top spot in today’s data-driven tech industry; while SQL alone can't handle the massive, unstructured "big data" sets mined by giants like Google and Facebook, many businesses will get their data fix using SQL to develop and analyze the corporate database for actionable intelligence. Trending job titles for IT professionals with SQL skills include business analyst, database developer and data scientist.
    • SQL Jobs: 98,454
    • Average Salary: $90,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: New York City | Washington D.C. | San Francisco | Boston | Chicago
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft Corporation | J.P. Morgan Chase | Amazon | Dell | Disney
  2. Java

    The Java programming language is a perennial favorite among developers for its power and versatility. Java – the basis of Android applications – is one of the two leading mobile development languages. (the other is Objective C – the main language behind iOS apps). As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to change the way we live, and Android remains the world’s dominant mobile OS, demand for Java programmers will flourish. Java's marketability goes well beyond mobile; IT job board reports one in five of its 77,000+ posts mention a need for Java knowledge. 
    • Java Jobs: 66,485
    • Average Salary: $95,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: San Jose | New York City | Washington D.C. | San Francisco | Boston
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft | Deloitte | Hewlett Packard | Amazon | eBay | Disney
  3. HTML

    HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) controls the basic structure of web pages, and in conjunction with CSS and JavaScript forms the key building blocks of the World Wide Web. As record numbers of public and private organizations continue to bring their products and services online, HTML (and its latest revision, the feature-rich HTML5) will remain one of the most essential and sought-after programming skills.  
    • HTML Jobs: 45,456
    • Average Salary: $81,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: New York City | San Francisco | Washington D.C. | Boston | Los Angeles
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft | eBay | Amazon | Disney | IBM | AT&T
  4. JavaScript

    JavaScript adds interactive elements to websites, such as animated menus or dynamically populating search boxes. Demand for talented JavaScript developers is driven in part by the growth of modern web applications that depend on JavaScript to process data and interact with the server via a JavaScript implementation known as AJAX. Working knowledge of the JSON and jQuery JavaScript libraries are also in top demand.
    • JavaScript Jobs: 43,189
    • Average Salary: $81,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: Washington D.C. | New York City | San Francisco | Boston | Mountain View
    • Top Companies Hiring: Salesforce | Microsoft | IBM | Yahoo! | Amazon | Disney | Dell
  5. C++

    Originally designed as an enhancement to the venerable C code, C++ is a programming language that "communicates" exceptionally well with hardware. This is one of the traits that has made C++ popular among computer programmers who specialize in the development of operating systems, video games, desktop applications, device drivers and other hardware-intensive applications.
    • C++ Jobs: 32,018
    • Average Salary: $94,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: New York City | Washington D.C. | San Francisco | Boston | Chicago
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft Corporation | J.P. Morgan Chase | Amazon | Dell | Disney
  6. C#

    Created by Microsoft to work within its .Net framework, C# (pronounced C-Sharp) has evolved into a flexible and powerful programming language. Microsoft technologies are (and will continue to be) ubiquitous in enterprises and SMBs; key programming projects driving C# demand include custom SharePoint development, Windows application development and the creation of cross-platform web apps.
    • C# Jobs: 31,936
    • Average Salary: $91,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: New York City | Seattle | Atlanta | Boston | Chicago
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft | Allscripts | Amazon | Dell | HP | Intel
  7. XML

    XML, short for Extensible Markup Language, is used to create common information formats so data can be consistently shared via the Internet, private intranets or applications. In today’s increasingly interconnected marketplace, XML has countless uses, including connecting dynamic web pages and applications to information held in databases, and syndicating web content via RSS feeds.
    • XML Jobs: 31,431
    • Average Salary: $92,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: San Francisco | New York | Washington D.C. | Atlanta | Boston
    • Top Companies Hiring: Microsoft | Dell | JPMorgan Chase | Amazon | AT&T | SAIC
  8. C

    The C programming language was released in the early 70’s, and remains one of the most widely used languages to this day. As I write this, C sits atop the Tiobe programming community index, a respected independent ranking of programming language popularity based on global web searches. C powers a lot of the essential software we use every day, such as operating systems and device drivers. C is also a common starting point for new programmers, owed to its simplicity, elegance and power.
    • C Jobs: 24,801
    • Average Salary: $93,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: NYC | San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | Santa Clara
    • Top Companies Hiring: Qualcomm | Microsoft | Dell | Amazon | Intel | HP | Digi-Key
  9. Perl

    Perl is a versatile programming language with a wide range of modern applications. One of its most well-known uses is in the development of graphical user interfaces (GUI – pronounced “gooey” in tech parlance). Other key career opportunities for Perl programmers include video game design, bio-informatics and email-handling applications.
    • Perl Jobs: 20,579
    • Average Salary: $93,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: New York City | San Jose | San Francisco | Seattle | Boston
    • Top Companies Hiring: Yahoo! | Amazon | Intel | Dell | Qualcomm | eBay | Raytheon
  10. Python

    Python, the code behind mega sites Google and YouTube, is an extremely lightweight and efficient programming language. Global job boards are showing a huge spike in job offers for front-end web developers with Python programming skills. Python’s human-friendly syntax also make it one of the easiest languages to learn, and a great first language for programming beginners with web development aspirations.
    • Python Jobs: 19,627
    • Average Salary: $83,000
    • Top Cities Hiring: Mountain View | Seattle | Boston | New York City | San Francisco
    • Top Companies Hiring: Intel | Amazon | Google | Yahoo! | EMC | eBay | Dell Computers

Rounding out this year's most sought-after programming languages, with 18,000 to 12,000 job listings apiece, are PHP, Objective-C, AJAX, ASP.NET and Ruby, respectively. 

It's worth mentioning that even though they appear on this list, HTML and XML are technically "scripting languages," not programming languages. SQL's classification as a programming language is also hotly contested among developers, but we'll save that debate for a future entry.

Subject Matter Expert Contributor

Programming Subject Matter ExpertMark Lassoff is a world-class author, keynote speaker and instructor in the software development domain. With over a decade of experience teaching beginner to advanced systems and applications development courses to Fortune enterprises, cutting-edge startups and everyone in between, he easily understands the impact of emerging technologies and the skills that programmers need to succeed.



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