Whether you’re looking to upskill or career-pivot, enhancing your coding skills is a smart move.

Current trends suggest the fields of cloud engineering, cyber security, full stack developing, and data science will continue to need workers in 2021.

But with literally hundreds of different programming languages to choose from, how do you decide where to start?

There probably isn’t much point learning a little-used, out-of-fashion, or esoteric language if you are hoping to find a pay cheque each fortnight – so you need to know which languages are currently or will soon be wanted by employers.

In its recent Lean into Tech report, enterprise training company Skillsoft pored over the last 12 months of data to try and anticipate what employers will want more of this year.

“Technology leaders are the driving force for business success,” said Michael Yoo, GM of the technology and developer market at Skillsoft.

“As we look forward, the future of work depends on the ability to navigate the rapidly innovating technology space.”

Most in-demand programming skills:

  1. Front-end development
  2. Desiging and using APIs
  3. Programming fundamentals
  4. Full-stack development
  5. Object-oriented programming
  6. Mobile development
  7. Server-side programming
  8. Automated testing
  9. Program design
  10. Concurrency

What you do with that language also matters.

Skillsoft looked at the relevant skills of its most searched-for courses of last year which pointed to an interesting trend that sees front-end development and the use of APIs as most important.

“As we look forward, the future of work depends on the ability to navigate the rapidly innovating technology space,” Yoo said.

“[But] the technology world no longer has the luxury of hiring for in-demand skills – upskilling and reskilling are the only sustainable, effective way forward.”

The Skillsoft report once again shows the massive increase in demand for data scientists and analysts – especially in the Asia-Pacific region where over 50 per cent of courses studied were about data.

In fact, the training company saw a whopping 1,000 per cent boost in demand for data courses.

The most searched programming languages last year were:

  1. Python
  2. Java
  3. C
  4. Scripting/markup (eg HTML, XML, Ruby)
  5. Javascript
  6. .NET
  7. R
  8. Scala
  9. PHP
  10. Swift

According to job ad site Indeed, developers in Australia can earn salaries of around $90,000 a year.

Janani Ravi, founder of e-learning video production studio Loonycorn, expects coding to become more than just a necessary skill for work.

“Programming is becoming a life skill everyone needs in order to visualize data and gather insights,” she said.

Ravi predicts the continued expansion of machine learning capabilities will accelerate people’s use of 30-year-old language Python.

She also sees a renewed focus on developing robust apps with “proven” languages like Java.