Developer jobs: From SQL to Java, these are the skills companies are looking for now

Programmers are the most sought-after group, according to new figures. But the programming languages and skills that companies are asking for vary.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Employers continue to hunt for software developers and programmers, and professionals with a set of core IT skills. According to tech industry body CompTia there were more than 140,000 ads for IT jobs listed in the UK in the second quarter of 2019, which is about 9% of all jobs advertised.

In terms of tech recruiting, ads aiming at finding programmers and software developers were the largest single category, accounting for more than 50,000 ads. IT business analysts, architects and system designers were the second most sought-after group, with 21,000 ads aimed at them. Third came IT support technicians. There were nearly 8,000 ads aimed at hiring IT project and programme managers, and just under 3,000 aimed at IT and telecoms directors.

According to CompTia, the list of top skills required, on the basis of job ads, includes:

  • Software development principles
  • SQL
  • Technical support
  • JavaScript and JQuery
  • Web development
  • Microsoft Dev Tools
  • Operating Systems
  • System design and implementation
  • Project management
  • Java

However, the industry body said that IT job posting numbers in Q2 were down 13 percent from Q1, and lower than Q2 2018.

Despite the decline in ads, the size of the UK IT workforce continues to grow year over year. It is projected to increase by more than 14,000 workers this year to 1.3 million, with another 48,000 new jobs projected for the five-year period from 2018 through 2023.

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According to CompTia, there are around 1.2 million people working in tech in the UK. The largest single group of 250,000 is developers and programmers, followed by 'IT specialist managers' of which there are 221,000, plus around 120,000 IT operations workers and 111,000 business analysts, architects and system designers.

"Clearly there is still solid market demand for fundamental technology skills in networking, security and technical support," said Graham Hunter, CompTIA's vice president for skills certification in Europe and the Middle East. "These foundational skills must be in place to provide the management and support for current operations, as well as the emerging technologies and innovations that are taking hold."

London is the most common working area mentioned in ads, appearing in 171,000 ads in the last year, compared to 23,000 that mentioned Birmingham.

This bias towards the capital is unsurprising. According to separate research by Accenture, which analysed LinkedIn data, 37% of UK professionals cite their current location as London. 

That's likely to grow, the consulting firm said, as a further 63,000 jobs in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and blockchain are being advertised in the capital. However, depending on their speciality and variations in the cost of living, some tech workers can be better off working outside of London  according to one analysis.

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