The most in-demand programmer skills

HackerRank has published the results of its 2018 Developer Skills Report[1]. The study aimed to identify trends in developer education, skills and hiring practices.

39,441 professional and student developers completed an online survey from 16 October to 1 November 2017, which was used as the basis of the report.

Language skills

Among the questions asked of developers was which languages employers look for in specific industries. JavaScript and Java were the most in-demand languages, followed by Python and the major languages of the C family (C++, C, and C#).

There were significant gaps between Java and Python, and Python and C++, however. “When you compare the most in-demand languages by employers with that of the most common languages that developers know, there is no gap,” stated the report. “Java, JavaScript, C, C++, and Python all top the list of languages developers know.”

The report noted that there is a slight variation among the top in-demand languages by industry. Java is popular in the financial services sector, while C dominates hardware due to the low-level access it provides and the availability of compilers across many platforms.

Languages employers look for

The most in-demand programmer skills

Core competencies

The report also covered the core competencies of employees required by companies. While proficiency in a particular language is an important factor, it is not as vital as problem-solving skills, according to the report.

It was found that the core competencies small companies cared about differed slightly to what large companies were looking for, but problem-solving ranked at the top in all categories.


1-100 Employees

101-1,000 Employees

1,001+ Employees


Problem-solving 94.20% 94.70% 95.90% 94.90%
Programming language proficiency 55.20% 55.20% 59.00% 56.60%
Debugging 47.10% 45.00% 48.50% 47.10%
System design 37.00% 39.80% 44.10% 40.30%
Performance optimisation 34.00% 35.00% 37.00% 36.00%
Code review capability 36.30% 36.30% 35.00% 35.80%
Testing 35.90% 34.40% 34.10% 34.80%
Frameworks proficiency 26.10% 23.30% 22.80% 24.20%
Database design 23.20% 20.50% 18.80% 20.90%
Codebase navigation 17.60% 14.20% 13.20% 15.10%

Now read: The most popular programming languages in the world[2]


  1. ^ 2018 Developer Skills Report (
  2. ^ The most popular programming languages in the world (

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