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Web & Scripting Programming Language Job Trends – February 2011

At the beginning of this month, I compared the job trends for traditional programming languages like C++, Java and others. This is the second post of the recurring programming job trends posts, where we look at web and scripting programming languages. Granted, web and scripting languages does not accurately describe the list of languages, but it is the best I could come up with. Let me know if you have a better description of these languages. Currently, the list includes Ruby, Rails, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Flex and Groovy. If you think I should be including another language, please let me know in the comments.

So, what do the trends from Indeed.com look like?

Obviously, JavaScript demand is still huge, but there is a small plateau in the past month or two. This looks like a seasonal pattern, but definitely something to keep wath over. PHP demand overtakes Flex (probably for a long time), as Flex has a recent downward trend. Python looks to overtake Flex in the next few months as well, with a strong growth trend over the past several years. Ruby demand continues to grow and further distances itself from its Rails framework. Groovy is growing, but the demand is still minimal compared to the others in the list.

Now, let’s look at the trends from SimplyHired.com.

Indeed and SimplyHired agree on the plateau for Javascript at the end of 2010 after a solid growth year. On average, Flex demand has been fairly flat after the increase in June 2009. According to SimplyHired, PHP is still trailing Flex, but not by much. Unless the recent downward trend continues, PHP should overtake Flex in the next few months on SimplyHired as well. This chart also shows slow growth over the past year for Python, Ruby and Groovy, though the trends for the last half of 2010 are promising. Interestingly, Indeed is showing more of an overall growth trend than SimplyHired, but it could be due to the scale of the graphs. In another few months, we should be able to tell if the short term trend is truly flat or whether we just have a data scaling problem.

Lastly, lets look at the relative trends for job growth from Indeed.com. This shows an interesting perspective of the job trends, comparing percentage growth as opposed to percentage of all postings.

This graph shows why looking at only one visualization of the data may not be helpful. Due to the comparative demand of Groovy, it barely shows any growth in the overall percentage graph. However, when you look at the percentage growth for Groovy demand, you see that demand is exploding. Given this type of month over month growth, we could start seeing a change in the overall trend for Groovy. Due to the scaling problem cause by Groovy’s growth, you cannot see that PHP and Javascript are still growing nicely, around 100% or 200%. Flex is definitely flatlining, and it will be interesting to see what affect HTML5 has on this trend. Python has continued growth around 500%, while Ruby and Rails are still growing rapidly. Obviously, Ruby and Rails are tied together, but seeing the growth trends starting to separate is a good sign for Ruby as a standalone language.

Based on all of these trends, you can see that web and scripting languages continue to have growing demand. The growth of Ruby, Python and Groovy make them languages that all software developers should start learning if they haven’t already. Because each of those languages can be used for simple scripting tasks, it would be fairly easy to start adding them to your toolbox. Javascript demand continues to grow, and that trend is likely to continue with the rise of HTML5. As I stated previously, HTML5 could have an interesting impact on this list of languages as well. Flex demand is already slowing and HTML5 has all things Flash as a target.

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