Hottest Skills To Get You Hired
Written by Ed Jones   
Friday, 26 February 2016

The year ahead looks promising for programmers. Almost half of the most in-demand skills are programming skills. Here's a look at what they are and at some resources to help to acquire them.

The technology sector is in a constant state of evolutionary flux. New technologies emerge, some revolutionise our behaviour and are adopted on mass by enterprises, becoming synonymous with modern business practices. While others are cast aside, never achieving a foothold to be replaced or forgotten.

Intertwined with these technologies is the demand for professionals with the requisite skills to unleash their full capabilities for enterprise organisations. To help you keep pace with the in demand skills, LinkedIn recently published the top 25 skills in 2015. Many of which will be popular in 2016 and beyond.

Scanning the list of the top 25 in demand skills, programming skills dominate with 11 entries. If you’re in possession of – or looking to learn – one of these skills, then you’ll be in a strong position to advance you employment prospects in 2016. So let’s take a quick look at the skills that made the cut and how to secure some of them to improve your employability.



Middleware and integration software – demand for professionals who can manage middleware and integration software continues to be in high demand. Programming skills are critical in this area with the need to code software to successfully integrate two platforms. Looking at the top 25 skills in 2014, this skill has dropped from second to fifth, but is still the most in-demand programming skill in 2015.

Mobile development – in 2014, it was reported that there were more mobile phones than people on planet earth. It is therefore unsurprising that mobile development continues to be in huge demand in 2015. With the dominance of both iOS and Android unlikely to falter, developing programming skills associated with these operating systems will prove lucrative in 2016.

Web architecture and development frameworks – A majority of research and purchasing decisions – for both B2B and B2C – are made online. This drives businesses to continually invest in building better, faster more responsive websites. Programmers proficient with web architecture and development frameworks will continue to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. Advancements in technology and internet speeds have driven the modern consumer to be more impatient, enterprise websites must keep pace so as to not lose business.

User interface design – Another skill that is unsurprisingly in high demand. Businesses are continually on the lookout for programmers proficient in user interface design. Maximising a user’s experience making it as simple and efficient as possible can have a huge influence on conversion and therefore revenue. 

Algorithm design – My eyes tend to glaze over when my colleague begins to talk about algorithm design – it’s beyond me. However, algorithm design is in huge demand for businesses looking to solve complex problems or questions, especially in a world overrun with data. Mainframe programming languages such as ALGOL, FORTRAN and COBOL continue to be sought after, critical computing tools required to implement an algorithm design.

Perl/Python/Ruby – The cloud has evolved the way developers and businesses think about creating applications. In recent years these new programming languages have risen to prominence in the cloud application development ecosystem. These languages are preferred by the next generation of programmers, as high level languages, they are easier to learn.

Shell scripting languages – The demand for programmers knowledgeable in shell scripting languages is inextricably linked to the popularity of Linux. As more businesses adopt Linux and look to utilise the systems full capabilities, the need for programmers who can use shell scripts to automate processes via the command line increases. A skill where demand is likely to continue through 2016.

Java development – Java is a stalwart on the LinkedIn top 25 annual list. Confirmed as the world’s most popular programming language, business demand for this skill is only set to continue. Driven ever upwards by the evolution of Java into cloud computing and its ever growing integration with PaaS services.

Database management and software – All businesses must house their data in some form database. These same businesses wish to manage and leverage insights from their data using some form of database management software. Programmers with knowledge of a querying language and familiarity with leading platforms like Oracle and Microsoft’s SQL Server will continue to be a valuable asset to any organisation.

Software modeling and process design – Businesses are increasingly on the lookout for programmers with the skills to both model and design robust software applications. Critical for any big business looking to create niche system internally as a stock software solution doesn’t exist.

Software QA and user testing – as long as businesses continue to develop software, there will always be a demand for programmers who can carry our quality assurance and user testing. Despite being lower down the demand chain, this skill set is among the least likely to disappear from the list.

Now you know the in-demand skills, if you don’t already have them, we’ve handpicked a series of resources to help you get them.

Programming languages – A number of separate skills have something in common. They are all programming languages. There are an ever increasing number of free online courses from providers like the Codecademy, Coursera and edX allowing you to learn the major programming languages. This includes Java, Perl, Python and Ruby.

Software QA and user testing – the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) has long offered a series of software testing certifications. Taking an associated course and earning an ISTQB certification will go a long way to proving your skills in this area.

Database Management and Software – as well as learning a database querying language, the most popular being SQL, there are also a series of certification courses aligned to major database platforms. Microsoft offer the MCSA SQL Server certification while Oracle offer the associated OCA and OCP certifications for the 12c database.

There we have it, the top programming skills to get you hired in 2016. If you already have them, kudos for you, if not, don’t wait around to get started learning them. The sooner you start, the sooner your employability and earning potential increases.


  • Edward Jones works for Firebrand Training, a provider of accelerated IT training. He actively works to serve the IT community with news, reviews and technical how to guides. 




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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 February 2016 )