IT skills: Java, ASP and agile rise but C and SQL wane

IT skills: Java, ASP and agile rise but C and SQL wane

Summary: Job adverts for IT vacancies place heavier emphasis on candidates having Java, agile development and ASP skills this year, while demand for C and SQL appears to be dropping in the UK.


Demand for C and SQL skills is falling while the proportion of jobs seeking Java, agile development and ASP programming talent is on the rise.

The biggest drop in demand appears to be for C — with the programming language asked for far less frequently in UK job vacancies this year. Mentions of the language in IT jobs posted during the second quarter of this year were down 15 percent year on year, according to the figures from 

Meanwhile, demand for Java knowhow has grown faster than any other IT-related skill, with the number of times Java featured in job specs during the quarter increasing 10 percent over the second quarter of 2012.

Employers continue to seek agile development techniques, with the approach referenced nine percent more times in job postings than during the same period last year.

Web developer skills are also being keenly sought, with ASP garnering nine percent more mentions than the year before, usually as part of ads looking for people with experience of the server-side web application framework ASP.NET.

While the number of mentions of SQL fell by five percent from the second quarter of 2012, the query language was cited 19,875 times in postings, making it the IT skill most frequently mentioned. Its relative popularity could be explained by the breadth of roles demanding SQL knowledge, ranging from developers to business analysts.

The programming language C# is the second most in-demand skill, according to the figures, mentioned 14,192 times, a rise of five percent year on year.

Unsurprisingly, software houses and consultancies sought more IT workers than any over industry during the quarter, posting 48,217 adverts, followed by financial services companies, which sought to fill 15,993 IT posts. These two sectors also saw the largest increase in demand for IT workers since 2009, with the number of posts advertised by software houses up 33 percent and financial vacancies up 34 percent. Roles available in the public sector fell by 65 percent during the same period.

Regionally, the number of vacancies posted across most areas of the UK is at a five year high. Vacancies in London have seen modest growth year-on-year with 9,886 job vacancies posted in the quarter, a rise of 2.4 percent.

CWJobs says regional IT hubs have sprung up across the UK, with Bristol in the west of England being positioned as a centre for computer gaming and the concentration of high tech firms in Cambridge's "Silicon Fen", which is home to the headquarters of chip designer ARM.

Number of times skills mentioned in job adverts

Software Q2 2013 Q1 2013 Q4 2012  Q3 2012  Q2 2012  Q1 2012
SQL 19,875 20,142 20,660  20,960  20,853  21,143
C# 14,192 14,073 13,901  13,780  13,549  13,629
C 13,179 13,661 13,781  14,201  15,387  15,794
.NET 13,157 12,932 12,780  12,388  12,271  12,354
Java 10,373 10,300 10,138  9,856  9,382  9,372
ASP 9,001 8,918 8,918  8,334  8,217  8,359
SQL Server 8,289 8,788 8,824  9,079  8,949  9,069
JavaScript 7,102 7,065 6,983  6,948  6,887  6,985
Agile 6,843 6,735 6,702  6,441  6,272  6,243
HTML 6,672 6,724 6,670  6,570  6,447  6,403


Further reading about IT skills

Topics: Software, IT Employment, United Kingdom, Web development


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • ASP.Which?

    What exactly is meant by ASP? There's the old "classic" ASP. Hopefully no one is still using that for new development, but there's lots of built up technical debt that is written in it. Then there's ASP.NET Web Forms, which is also becoming "classic" these days. Of more recent vintage is ASP.NET MVC which is very different from Web Forms. WebAPI and Single Page Applications are newer forms of what might also be considered ASP.NET. A breakdown on by each of these would be useful.
    Sir Name
    • ASP

      In general it seems to be postings looking for people with ASP.NET experience.
      Nick Heath
      • re:

        That still doesn't answer my question. Other than "classic" ASP, which I didn't think was what was being sought, all of the other technologies fall under the heading of ASP.NET. The two most common, Web Forms and MVC, are very different beasts.
        Sir Name
        • ASP

          Ah ok. I did ask CWJobs for clarification about this at the time of writing but have yet to receive additional info.
          Nick Heath
  • no C++?

    or they just cammed C and C++ together?
    • I thought that too

      The IT Jobs Watch site provides much more detailed statistics and makes the distinction between C and C++.