Will Your Programming Skills Be Obsolete Next Month?

March 14th, 2014 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

Programming Skills Obsolete

What’s the shelf life on the average programming language? Some languages lose their luster as quickly as milk spoils while others have the near eternal longevity of a Twinkie (If you don’t believe it, look at the continued usage of the C language).

On a daily basis, the permanency of your programming skills may not be an eminent thought, but in the long term, as you work to keep your career nourished against Darwinian levels of competition, the question becomes more pressing. So ask yourself: are your programming skills as sleek as they once were? There are a few ways to find out.

Are Your Skills Winning the Popularity Contest?

The TIOBE Index is one way to determine whether your programming skills are still fresh. On a monthly basis, the TIOBE Index identifies which programming languages are making the most seismic waves in search results across the web. Though not perfect (the index does not rate programming languages by superiority or track their usage), it provides a simple way to gauge your skills.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the top 10 programming languages didn’t experience much of a shakeup.

20141.) C 2.) Java 3.) Objective-C 4.) C++ 5.) C# 6.) PHP 7.) (Visual) Basic 8.) Python 9.) JavaScript 10.) Visual Basic.Net
20131.) Java 2.) C 3.) Objective-C 4.) C++ 5.) C# 6.) PHP 7.) (Visual) Basic 8.) Python 9.) Ruby 10.) Perl

Most of these programming languages are perennial favorites but there are a few that made massive strides up the ranking. Visual Basic .Net and Transact-SQL moved up 6 places, D moved up 13 places, and the newcomer F# made up for lost time by jumping up 57 places.

Keeping tabs on way the deck shuffles can provide programmers with an idea of which programming skills to learn and which can afford to pick up a little rust.

Do You Have Skills Companies Want?

The current tastes and demands of employers are often some of the best indicators of which programming languages have staying power. eWeek conducted a recent survey and found 10 programming languages that top employers want employees to understand. This list contains a reassuring amount of overlap with the TIOBE list.

1.) Java
2.) JavaScript
3.) C/C++
4.) C#
5.) PHP
6.) Python
7.) Ruby
8.) Objective-C
9.) HTML5
10.) CSS

These types of lists are published with less clockwork regularity but tech companies are frequently being surveyed about which programming skills are most critical to their businesses. Since the IT industry isn’t static, regular reevaluation is a good way to keep aware of which skills are most highly sought-after.

Is Your Career Future-Proof?

The programming skills that garner the most money from employers are those that you can expect to last beyond the next market mood swing.

Big data relevant technologies offer the highest compensation.  Most of the top 10 highest paid technical skills involve the analytics discipline, so if you shore up your resume with those programming skills, you can survive a change in paradigms. If you want to learn more, check out our article Is Big Data Affecting Your IT Salary?

Ask a Recruiter

Recruiters talk to hundreds of job seekers and companies each day, giving them a chance to take the pulse of the IT industry. They know what is hot on the market right now and the technologies you need to explore. So, if you’re working to expand your skills and find a new career, give one of our recruiters a call to get on the right path.

by James Walsh