How many jobs are available for Enter programming language here?

Monday, July 27, 2009

This was the simple question I wanted to answer. The impetus behind this is to know where best to focus my learning energy. As a programmer, technologist, etc., and, as the plethora of languages that all appear to have similar goals and do the same things pervades the landscape, I feel I need to periodically look up from the microscope and peep the rest of the world from 30,000 feet, especially today. Historically, maybe I could enter a field, a craft, and be happy there until I am old and gray, updating my skills every so often. But, the reality is that as programmers all this is changing very fast, and it takes agility and the ability to learn quickly to keep up with it. I would even go so far as to say it also takes a strong desire to adapt. Bottom line, though I have personal tastes and a few distastes for programming languages, I need to put food on the table. I'm sorry, but the "I love the simple elegance of brainf*ck" doesn't ensure that my family's medical bills are paid. For me, it's much easier to adapt my own skills to a rapidly changing market than to attempt to change the market to my personal preferences. So, this is what I did. I simply entered various arbitrary programming languages into the main search at Dice and Monster. I specified no other search criteria, so, the term exists either in the title or other meta data about the job. I'm sure this creates some noise, but if we can suspend and accept the concept of random sampling, this provides some interesting results. Note that the results here are from Dice, but Monster's results were similar.
Keyword Hits
Java 8817
.NET 5205
C# 4265
HTML 4138
C++ 4121
JavaScript 3889
Perl 3066
VB 1877
Python 1118
SAS 1099
Flex 853
Ruby 607
Cobol 477
ColdFusion 346
Fortran 84
Groovy 69
Haskel 15
Obviously, I am not a statistician and I certainly do not have the resources to pay for a Gartner consultation - I barely have the time to update my resume. However, based on my naive searches and lack of any domain context, is it fair to conclude that if I know Java reasonably well, I am more employable? Of course, this is the demand side of the equation. What about the supply? Addendum (August 4, 2009): My friend Raj sent me this insightful excerpt from Chad Fowler's The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development:


Steve Withington said...

Hey, where's ActionScript? While we're at it, what about Smalltalk? : )

billy said...


actionscript = 398
smalltalk = 10


jalpino said...

Did you happen to search on "Cold Fusion" also? Sometimes recruiters don't know any better.

David said...

I think it's also important to consider (at least) two things:

1) Competition for positions. Development has become a commodity, the more available resources there are to a job, the less that job's going to pay. Simple economics, even with skilled positions.

2) Who is using the technology. Is it a small company, or a Fortune 500 corporation? Not saying one is necessarily better than the other, but it is a factor, and it can affect the pay scale.

A midsized company using LAMP adds up to a priority of low cost. They aren't likely to splash out on developer salaries to compensate for the use of open source software.

Just a thought to add to the equation.


billy said...

@David, good points. there're certainly a number of variables involved and no simple answers. i'm begining to believe that one's adaptability and technical diversity is a key strength in the market.

Marc Esher said...

I'd like to see this graph with another graph overlaid on top of it:

"How happy are you in your current job?" broken down by technology.

I'd also like to see that same question broken down in terms of "how many technologies do you get to play with at work?". For me, the more languages I get to explore, the happier I am.

I love CF, but lately I have more fun in other places. I think that's because the challenges are different -- which is why I'm not using CF for those tasks in the first place, and variety is the spice of life. said...

Thanks David for more valuable information.I agree with you