Which tech stacks should you be hiring for?

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Which tech stacks should you be hiring for?
Jamie Haydock

Which tech stacks should you be hiring for?

What are the most popular programming languages and frameworks for developers? What tech stacks are the hardest to hire for? And what do developers actually want to learn? Full Stack Delivery Consultant Jamie Haydock sums up the market.

Working in recruitment, I’m constantly managing supply and demand. Competition for top talent in skill short markets is always tough, and employers are often faced with the decision of paying over the odds for the latest skills or settling for less. But of course, this doesn’t have to be the case. 

I’ve curated the below overview of the market to help employers understand which skills are in demand right now. I’ve drawn on insight from Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer surveyDevSkiller’s IT skills report 2021 and CodinGame’s Developer Survey 2021, to create this report. I’ve also highlighted some opportunities to get the latest skills without compromising – and of course, as a Full Stack Delivery Consultant, you can always reach out to me for support with hiring in the developer space!

What programming languages are the most popular for 2021?

It’s unanimous: Java, JavaScript and Python are the unrivalled leaders in the programming space for popularity. JavaScript made top for the eighth year running in Stack Overflow’s annual survey. Codeingame found that JavaScript, Java, and Python were the most commonly used programming languages – with more than half of developers knowing how to code in these languages. And DevSkiller called out Java and JavaScript as the programming languages developers were most likely to be tested on – appearing in 43% of test invites, followed by SQL (41%), .NET/C# (15%) and CSS/HTML (14%). 

Meanwhile, the PYPL Popularity of Programming Language Index (which analyses how often language tutorials are requested on Google) suggests the same – with Python, Java and JavaScript ranking in the top three positions for market share, respectively. 

Both Stack Overflow and DevSkiller also note growth in TypeScript, which may usurp JavaScript in the future. Meanwhile Ruby, once a major contender to the top ten, has been edged out by newer technology like Go and Kotlin.

What frameworks are the most popular for 2021?

Looking again to Stack Overflow, we see that jQuery, React and Angular are still the most popular programming languages, although jQuery is losing its lead year over year. This differs to CodinGame, which reports that Node.js, React and .NETCore are amongst the most popular frameworks today, with Angular a distant fourth place. This could demonstrate a change in tide, with CodeinGame’s survey focusing on those hiring in the development space as well as developers themselves. React also topped DevSkiller’s report due to its link with JavaScript; React was seen in 35% of JavaScript tech stack testing.

Which technology do developers want to learn?

For the fifth year in a row, Rust was chosen as the most loved programming language by developers in Stack Overflow’s survey, with TypeScript leapfrogging Python to take second place. 

However, Python still remains one of the most desirable technologies for developers to learn – earning first place for the fourth consecutive year. Kotlin and Go are also amongst the most loved, while JavaScript, Go, Typescript, Rust and Kotlin feature in most wanted. Meanwhile, VBA, Objective C and Perl top the list of technology developers hate.

Which tech stacks are the most challenging to hire for?

CodeinGame’s report included talking to HR to understand where demand was taking place. Within programming languages, the survey found the highest demand for JavaScript – with 62% of companies looking for these skills. This was closely followed by Java (60%), Python (48%) and C# (40%). In most places, supply just about keeps up with demand, but there are certain technologies – including the fast-growing Kotlin and Go – where talent is scarce. And of course, this goes the other way too – with greater supply in technologies like C++ than there is need.

But frameworks are a different story, with a significant disjoin between available talent and demand. For example, the most sought-after framework tool React is in demand for 59% of organisations responding to the survey, but only 27.6% of programmers have this skill. This mismatch is true of the top five in-demand frameworks in CodeinGame’s survey (React, Node.js, Angular 2+, Spring and Vue.js). 

The other side to the coin is highest paying skills. According to Stack Overflow, Perl, Scala and Go command the highest salaries, with a median of $75k (c. £54,600), followed by Rust and Ruby. Interestingly, Perl, Ruby and Objective C were amongst both the most dreaded and the highest paying technologies – suggesting that finding developers willing to work in these languages is tough.

What are some tips for attracting top talent?

Competition for developer talent is intense, and one of the best ways to stand out is to step into the shoes of your candidates. Stack Overflow’s survey included the priorities for job-hunting developers (if pay and location were equal) – including languages, frameworks and other technologies they would work with, office environment or company culture and schedule flexibility. 

What’s interesting is the emphasis placed on flexibility and workplace culture. As we adapt to the new normal, there is a great opportunity here for clients to really consider how to embed flexibility and create a unique culture at a distance. With research suggesting that the future is remote, there is an opportunity here to become a magnet for top talent. 

I also think it’s a good idea to look at emerging and adjacent technology. For example, supply and demand in JavaScript is reasonably level, but as TypeScript emerges as a leading tech, this may dwindle. It is therefore worth considering the versatility of different skillsets, and the possibility of investing in upskilling adjacent skillsets rather than paying for ‘ready-to-go’ talent. With more people upskilling and learning to code over the course of the pandemic, there’s a lot of eager talent out there for businesses willing to take a chance.  

Beyond this, naturally, I am going to say that the number one top tip I have for attracting top talent is to hire a specialist recruiter. As I work in the developer space exclusively, I have the networks, the experience, and the insight to understand the market at a deeper level than a generalist. 

At Lorien, we hire vertical experts that know their tech inside out to give our clients a distinct advantage in highly specialised and skill scarce markets. We can help you map your competitor activity, benchmark rates, and help you create a candidate experience that retains talent in even the most competitive markets. 

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