Want to get hired in tech? These programming languages will get you the most interviews

Skilled coders are receiving almost double the number of interview requests as demand for software soars, with specialist programming languages commanding top salaries.
Written by Owen Hughes, Senior Editor
Image: skynesher/Getty

The ongoing tech skills crunch has led to record demand for software engineers, with new data suggesting that developers are receiving more interview requests than ever from employers desperate to plug workforce talent gaps.

Hired's 2022 State of Software Engineers report analyzed over 366,000 interactions between companies and developers on its jobs marketplace in an effort to discover the skills that are driving demand in the hiring marketplace.

It found that software engineers on Hired's platform received almost double the number of interview requests in 2021 than they did in 2020, with full-stack engineers seeing the highest increase in demand compared to other software engineering roles.

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Companies are hiring aggressively for specialist skills, Hired's data indicated.

Go-skilled software engineers, for instance, received 1.8x more interview requests compared to the marketplace average. Go is seeing more adoption by larger companies, such as Uber, Twitch, and Slack. "It was designed with simplicity in mind, yet is extremely powerful, making it popular among engineers," said Dave Walters, CTO at Hired.

Likewise, developers proficient in Ruby on Rails – a web app framework used by the likes of Airbnb, GitHub, and Shopify – received 1.78x more interview requests. Ruby on Rails remains "one of the most convenient and functional frameworks," said Hired.

React, the popular front-end JavaScript library, is also in high demand. According to Hired, startups and more established companies are moving towards React as they look to re-architect their platforms.

Hired also surveyed 2,000 developers to identify their most and least favored programming languages. There was little surprise here, with Python, JavaScript, Java, TypeScript and C# claiming the top five spots.

Developers deemed these languages as having useful, well-maintained libraries and being easy to use and functional, making them more enjoyable to program in.

At the bottom of the list were PHP, Swift, Scala, R and Objective-C, which software engineers deemed as more complex and "overwhelming", with some developers noting that they'd had "a bad experience working with them".

Expanding the search for talent

The competitive tech-hiring market has pressured employers to broaden their search for talent beyond major tech hubs.

Software engineers across all markets received more interview requests for remote roles than for local ones in 2021 compared to 2020, Hired found.

Developers who were open to remote roles received 20% more interview requests in 2020 than candidates who were not.

Full-stack engineers, backend engineers and frontend engineers drove the most demand, something coders are responding to themselves. "As software engineers are aware of the high demand – and thus higher salaries – for full-stack engineers, more candidates develop this broader skillset, looking for full-stack roles," the report said.

Yet the top salaries were commanded by those professionals tasked with helping employers fend off the mounting threat from hackers.

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According to Hired's research, the average pay for security engineers increased 7.59% between 2020 and 2021 – meaning these developers now receive an average salary of $165,505 per year. The "immense" talent shortage in cybersecurity is driving demand – and pushing salaries even higher.

The advancement of voice, chatbots and AI-powered transcription in the enterprise are also hot areas in tech, driving up average salaries for natural language processing (NLP) to $160,227 – an increase of 2.48% compared to 2020.

In terms of where pay packets are biggest: the US still offers the highest salaries for software engineers overall, Hired found.

The San Fransisco Bay Area continues to be the capital of tech – average salaries here topped $170,000 in 2021, the data suggested.

This area was followed by Seattle ($162,000), Los Angeles ($151,000), New York ($152,000) San Diego ($150,000), and Boston ($149,000).

The UK and Canada are behind, with Hired finding that London and Toronto were "paying the lowest average salaries across all markets evaluated." However, it noted that these regions were more competitive in terms of the salaries they offered software developers: Canada saw the highest growth in average salaries between 2020 and 2021 (9.2%), while salaries in the UK grew 2.7% in the same period.

"With the shift to remote and hybrid workplaces, the way we work and interact with co-workers has changed dramatically, giving rise to new tools enhancing communication and collaboration," said Hired.

"It's a competitive, global job market and skills are the new currency."

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