The 10 Programming Languages In Highest Demand

The demand for different types of programming languages is a simple indicator of what you should spend your time learning and adding to your repertoire. To decide on the top ten we tried to balance the amount of positions that companies are hiring, the average annual salary, indicators of future growth and reach.

After deciding on the top ten we listed them based on average annual salary. We feel this is the simplest way to decide supply and demand for companies that are hiring but use your discretion based on where you are in your career. Here's our list of the ten programming languages in highest demand to help you decide what you should begin focusing on next.



C++ is a powerful language based on C. It is designed for programming systems software, but has also been used to build game engines, desktop apps, mobile apps, and web apps. C++ is powerful and fast, Facebook has even developed several high-performance and high-reliability components with it.

Many pieces of software have been built with C++, including Adobe Systems, Amazon, Paypal, Chrome, and more. Much like C, C++ is generally considered harder for beginners to learn.

C++ continues to be the go-to language for high volume and high-frequency trading, simply because it’s the most efficient tool to build an extensively optimized backtested and execution system to process the high volumes of data. C++ is also often used for building applications running on many banks’ legacy systems. Due to the high cost of moving to new technologies, there will continue to be significant demand for those who can program in languages compatible with the legacy environment.

Average salary: $91,449



C# (pronounced cee-sharp) is a multiple paradigm programming languages developed by Microsoft to compete with Java. A hybrid of C and C++, it is designed to help improve the productivity of web and development. Using C# you can do things like to make software, write Windows applications, program games, write native mobile apps, all with native API calls and native platform controls.

C# is generally known as friendlier for beginners than Java. While the syntax is like Java, there tend to be more easily accessible resources and Microsoft’s collection of developer tools makes creating apps easier.

C# is convenient because it’s part of the “common language infrastructure”, meaning it can be used across multiple computer platforms and doesn’t need to be rewritten. The language’s diversity and flexibility make it a go-to for many programmers focused on Windows-based environments.

Average salary: $92,787



Shell scripts are text files used to give commands to UNIX-based operating systems. Think of a shell as the middle-man between the user and operating system: it interprets and executes the commands a programmer gives it. Shell scripting saves time on repeated tasks like basic maintenance and backup sequences, making it indispensable to many companies.

Average salary: $93,360



JavaScript – not to be confused with Java – is another one of the world’s most popular and powerful programming languages. It's used to spice up web pages by making them interactive. JavaScript can be used to add effects to web pages, display pop-up messages or to create games with basic functionality. It’s also worth noting that JavaScript is the scripting language of the World Wide Web and is built right into all major web browsers including Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Safari. Almost every website incorporates some element of JavaScript to add to the user experience, adding to the demand for JavaScript developers. In recent years, JavaScript has also gained use as the foundation of Node.js, a server technology that among other things enables real-time communication.  

Average salary: $93,410



Perl is a programming language designed for text processing. Perl is not officially an acronym but it stands for Practical Extraction and Report Language. It runs on a variety of platforms, such as Windows, Mac OS, and the various versions of UNIX.

There has been a lot of discussion about Perl’s decline as a web development language, but as a system administration language, it’s got staying power. It’s still an excellent language for writing large system administration scripts. Perl is big in the world of server technology, alongside the C language, Perl is most often used in Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripting. CGI scripts are programs written specifically for web servers, allowing them to do more than just read a request and send a file back to the browser.

From a hiring perspective, system administrators, database managers, and server-side software engineers continue to be skilled in Perl. More experienced developers also tend to favor it. There are numerous applications around the web written in Perl that require maintenance, and plenty of developers at the enterprise level are still actively using it.

Average salary: $94,242



Despite the prevalence of higher-level languages, C continues to empower the world. Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS and Android are some of the systems that are used by millions and are programmed in the C language. The C programming language doesn’t seem to have an expiration date. It’s closeness to the hardware, great portability and deterministic usage of resources makes it ideal for low-level development for such things as operating system kernels and embedded software. Its versatility, efficiency, and good performance make it an excellent choice for high complexity data manipulation software, like databases or 3D animation. The fact that many programming languages today are better than C for their intended use doesn’t mean that they beat C in all areas. C is still unsurpassed when performance is the priority. The world is running on C-powered devices. We use these devices every day whether we realize it or not. C is the past, the present, and, as far as we can see, still the future for many areas of software.

Average salary: $99,009



Not to be confused with JavaScript, this general-purpose language was designed to be easier to use than C++, which was a notoriously complex language. 90% of the Fortune 500 companies have since used Java to develop desktop apps and website backend systems.

Java is a highly portable language as it must be executed through a cross-platform compatible Java Virtual Machine. Furthermore, Android apps are also developed using Java since the Android Operating System runs on a Java language environment. In general, the Java ecosystem is quite massive and mature, so there are plenty of good tools and libraries that will greatly ease the process of developing Java apps and learning Java in general.

Average salary: $99,104



Recently more people began searching for "learn Python" than for "learn Java" for the first time ever. Python continues to rise and is the simplest and most intuitive syntax for all programming languages. Python is a one-stop shop. There's a Python framework for pretty much anything, from web apps to data analysis. Python is often heralded as the easiest programming language to learn, with its simple and straightforward syntax. Python has risen in popularity due to Google's investment in it over the past decade and is the most commonly taught programming language in American Universities. 

Average salary: $104,228



Objective-C is based on the C programming language which has been around for over 40 years. Since 2008, when Apple first released its iPhone SDK to developers for the App Store, Objective-C has been the basis of all applications, frameworks, and libraries for programming on Apple products.

Average salary: $105,700



Like Java or the C language, Ruby is a general purpose programming language, though it is best known for its use in web programming, and Rails serves as a framework for the Ruby Language. Ruby on Rails has many positive qualities including rapid development, you don’t need as much code and there are a wide variety of 3rd party libraries available. It’s used by companies ranging from small start-ups to large enterprises and everything in-between. Hulu, Twitter, Github and Living Social are using Ruby on Rails for at least one of their web applications.

Average annual salary: $107,547

Bonus - 


Swift’s meteoric rise finds itself ranked alongside languages of real popularity and traction, and is within striking distance of the top ten programming languages. 

The interesting thing is that Swift still has the potential to move significantly; its current traction was achieved in spite of being a relatively closed alternative amongst open source alternatives. 

Swift was finally open sourced by Apple recently, which means that the full effect of this release won’t be felt until next year. This release was important for developers, who typically advantage open source runtimes at the expense of proprietary alternatives but also because it allows third parties to feel comfortable investing in the community in a way they would not for a proprietary stack. This means that Swift has, uniquely, multiple potential new engines for growth. It will be interesting to see what impact the release has on overall adoption and whether Swift can jump into the top ten.