We’ll start to answer this question by looking at one of the most easily noticeable requirements from a job post: the technologies ― including languages, libraries, frameworks, and platforms ― with which you need to be experienced.
To figure out which technologies employers are most interested in, we wrote a little piece of software that analyzed 231 programming job postings on indeed.com to see what the most desired tech skills are. We only included jobs that don’t require a degree or more than 2 years of experience because we wanted to uncover the opportunities that are available to students who learn programming outside formal education programs.
Let’s get to the results, shall we?
What Skills Do Employers Value Most?
What tech skills popped up the most when analyzing the text of the job postings? Let’s commence with our medal ceremony.
Our gold medal goes to…
Let’s move on to our silver medal winner, which is a little more interesting: Java! Java just beat out our bronze medalist to take the silver, with 34.2% of job postings requiring proficiency in this widely used language.
You might have read around the internet that Java is dead, or read articles that brought to mind an image of an angry torch mob calling for Java’s head on a spike.
However, according to the TIOBE Index, Java is not only alive, it’s doing just fine. Clearly there is still demand for programmers with experience in this language, and it’s still a popular language for running server-side enterprise applications.
Our bronze medal winner is none other than HTML. The most fundamental web development language is a keyword in 33.8% of the job postings we analyzed, which should not surprise you. Every web page and web app on the internet requires some HTML to delineate structure.
Now that we’re out of medals, let’s talk runners up.
It’s not overly surprising that SQL appeared in 31.2% of job postings. A survey conducted this year showed that 79% of respondents use some form of relational database, so pretty much everyone is interested in these types of skills.
It’s worth noting here that while SQL was high on our list, NoSQL was much further down the list with only 4.8% of job postings mentioning it.
MongoDB, one type of NoSQL database, showed up in 4.3% of the 231 job postings. MongoDB is in use by several organizations that value the ability to quickly take data-intensive products live, including Craigslist and Expedia.
There’s huge debate in the database community about whether or not NoSQL will ever catch up to SQL. Some argue that NoSQL is the database model of the future, while others argue that NoSQL will always play second fiddle to relational models, and will only ever have a supporting role in the landscape of database technology. Yet for the present time, the message regarding database technologies is pretty clear: SQL experience is more highly desired than NoSQL experience.
CSS tied SQL as a keyword in 31.2% of postings, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. CSS goes hand-in-hand with HTML as one of the most fundamental web development skills, and the two appeared with very similar frequencies (HTML appeared in 33.8% of job postings).
As you can see, experience with Angular appears to be the most valuable to employers. In addition to carrying Google’s name, Angular has a full 2 years on Ember and 5 years on Backbone.
I won't go full-bore into the Angular/Ember/Backbone debate, because it's all over the web for your reading pleasure. If you’re interested, go read about it elsewhere.
Let’s talk about Node.js. You might be wondering why our mentorship course bothers to teach Node.js if it’s only desired by 3.9% of job postings in our analysis. Here’s why:
Node.js is a brand new technology (its first stable release was only rolled out last month), and learning it is based on its promise rather than previous merits. It will be interesting to see how demand for skills with Node.js changes in the next few years.
Although being employable as an entry-level programmer goes much deeper than simply the experiences you have with certain technologies, employers are certainly interested in these types of skills. The more experience you have with these in-demand technologies, the more likely it is that you’re going to have access to a wider array of employment opportunities.