Languages To Learn And Earn
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The 2020 HackerRank survey attracted responses from 116,000 developers from all parts of the globe. In our final look at its results we consider its findings about the languages that hiring managers want, the languages developers know and the ones they want to learn next.

HackerRank started out as competition community for programmers then expanded its use of coding challenges to help businesses recruit developers with the skills they required. The 2020 HackerRank Developer Skills Report includes data from the hiring managers as well as from developers and ranks programming languages in terms of demand on the part of employers.

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As was the case in 2019, JavaScript was the most looked-for  language. However, there was a slight drop in the percentage of hiring managers requiring it - 54% compared to 58% a year ago. Java was still required by around 44% of hiring managers but Python had become much more in vogue, overtaking Java to occupy second place and being looked for by half of hiring managers.

HackerRank also offered new information this time round, reporting:

not all hiring managers see language skills as a top priority: globally, 14% say they’re language agnostic when screening candidates.

This trend is most pronounced in the Americas region (AMER): 21% of hiring managers in the region are language agnostic when searching for new hires. Asia-Pacific region (APAC) hiring managers are half as likely to be language agnostic (10%).

While there was some minor change year-on-year in the league table for language demand, there was virtually no change in terms of supply:

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As indicated above, C# swapped places with PHP, restoring their 2018 relationship. JavaScript, which had done a swap with Java in 2019 maintained its top position.

Comparing the best known languages with the most wanted languages there is a striking anomaly. C is third in terms of being known but is only required by 11.5% of hiring managers. 

Go comes close on the heels of C in terms of the language skills hiring managers are looking for, with a demand level of 11% but it leads the field (36%) as being the language developers want to learn next, as it has done in both previous surveys.

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Developers were obviouly allowed to make multiple choices here and.the results are a bit hard to interpret. For example, given JavaScript is already the best known, it is hardly surprising that only 15% want to learn it next and that TypeScript, the most popular of the JavaScript replacements, appears much higher up with 21%. However, even though it is in fourth place in terms of being already known, Python comes in second place as the language that devs want to learn next - with 28% norminating it. Given how eclectic Python is, this seems very reasonable. Kotlin is third in this league at 25% which again makes a lot of sense. The thing I find strangest is that C is right at the bottom of the table - just 6.7% want to learn it next. Maybe this is simply a matter supply and demand and relates to the anomaly already noted, that C is third best known language and yet well down the list of required language skills. 

If you missed our two previous items on this survey, see HackerRank Finds New Generation Gaps about differences in respondents' first programming languages and their chosen methods of learning new skills and Are Developers Paid Fairly? about variations in pay and developers' satisfaction with their pay. Results from previous year's Hacker Rank surveys are reported in Language Learning Insights From HackerRank 2019 Survey and, for 2018, Never Too Early To Code According to HackerRank.

hackerrank logo

More Information

2020 HackerRank Developer Skills Report

Introducing HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 February 2020 )