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Why Java skills are still golden for developers

There may be flashier, easier languages out there, but, for now, according to Stack Overflow’s calculations at least, 'heritage' programming lingo is still where the big bucks lie. In 2013, Java was the most searched for skill keyword by recruiters, and almost a quarter of all employers’ searches were for Java developers.

Of all keywords searched for on Careers 2.0, Java was far and away the most in-demand, contained within 22.26% of all search queries. Compare this to the second most searched-for skill, PHP, which had almost half that number.

Android was also popular, coming in at number four with 9.94% of searches – above both JavaScript and iOS.

The numbers were compiled by Lauren Orsini of ReadWrite, who was given a dataset of 14,000 search queries from the past year. (The article doesn’t specify whether this was the total number or merely a sample.)

It hardly comes as a surprise. This time last year, Java/J2EE came out as the most desired skillset in a survey of tech-focused managers and recruiters. The survey, carried out by job site Dice, was backed up with data from the site itself, showing that more than one in five job adverts mentioned Java.

Java may not be the most loved language, or even the most popular – but it’s far and away the most profitable to get involved in. Not only is it a highly desired skill, but Java developers are among the best paid in the industry.

“Love it or hate it, many people know Java, and many companies want those developers,” noted  Will Cole, Product Manager for Stack Overflow’s Careers 2.0.

The more interesting trend in this list is the absence of any hype-laden new technologies. Cole said: “While we see new technologies pop up frequently, it takes a considerable amount of time for them to work their way into the everyday company's stack on a mass scale to notice major trend changes.”

The legacy language domination of the most desired skills lists is a part of an overarching trend for stability in the sector in 2013. Hence Transact-SQL, Microsoft's and Sybase's proprietary extension to SQL, winning the TIOBE Index prize for language of the year - even as the popularity of Microsoft database engine SQL Server continues to wane.

By dint of lack of any catalysts to alter the status quo (a new blockbuster device written in a less popular code, say), figures remained relatively flat across the board. Good news for legacy language adherents and their pay wallets - but not so dramatic for headlines.

JAXenter Editorial Team

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