Demand and hiring trends

2020 IT skills: what we learned from 213,782 coding tests

Jakub Kubrynski
IT skills
© Shutterstock / oatawa

The IT job sector is growing and with its growth comes a higher demand for programmers. What skills and programming languages should you focus on? Data from over 213,000 coding tests revealed some IT skills hiring trends to look for in 2020. See what DevSkillers’ data reveals about recent IT trends from 49 different countries.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a stunning 25.6% increase in IT job growth in the US in the next 10 years.

This growth in jobs means only one thing – more IT skills will be needed to keep up with the demand for growth.

In 2019, over 213,000 coding tests were taken on the DevSkiller platform. A variety of companies from 49 countries used the tests to screen, assess, and evaluate the coding abilities of potential new employees. This, of course, led to an astonishing amount of raw data.

We went over this data with a fine-tooth comb and created the Top IT skills report 2020: Demand and hiring trends.

The downside of existing data about hiring is that it’s based on surveys – they rely on self-reporting, which isn’t always honest. DevSkiller’s data, on the other hand, is raw and unbiased because it comes from your peers.

Here’s a brief overview of what we learned.

SEE ALSO: Women in Tech: “We desperately need people who think differently in this industry”

JavaScript is the most in-demand IT skill of 2020

Present in 40% of tests, JavaScript is without a doubt an integral part of front-end software development.

IT skills

After JavaScript is SQL, Java, HTML with CSS, and .NET with C# making the five most popular IT skills of 2020.

Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey also found JavaScript to be the most popular language amongst professional developers, thus explaining why it’s so commonly used in our coding assessments

It’s interesting to note that these IT skills are used in a much higher percentage of tests than they were last year. This does show that, in general, fewer companies are looking for developers with highly specialized skills. Developers with a wide range of skills are more versatile, and therefore possibly in higher demand.

React, Spring, C#, MySQL, HTML, Data Analysis with Python, and Laravel are the most popular technologies in their respective tech stacks

IT skills

In the optimal technical screening setup, developers are tested in not only the languages they’ll use on the job but also in their ability to understand the tools needed to successfully work with a specific tech stack. As a result, we’re able to see what makes up the most popular tech stacks.

  • React is used in 32% of JavaScript tech stack testS, followed by ES6 in 26%
  • Spring appears in almost half (46%) of all JavaScript stack tests
  • MySQL and MSSQL appear in 37% and 35% of SQL tests respectively
  • Data Analysis with Python was tested in 29% of Python stack tests, followed by Django (21%)
  • In PHP stacks, Laravel appeared in 28% of tests and Doctrine in 12%

HTML makes an appearance in 63% of CSS tests but was tested separately throughout 2018 much more often

This was a trend that’s been prevalent over the last few years. HTML is common in a CSS tech stack, as CSS and HTML are closely intertwined.

What’s most interesting about this statistic is that HTML is still treated as its own entity.

What does that say?

That while HTML is easy to learn and use at an adequate skill level, it requires multiple other skills and loads of experience to truly master.

Following HTML, WCAG 2.0 is used in about 25% of all CSS tests.

Candidates start a test on average 2.27 days after it’s sent

On average, your peers will wait over 2 days before they sit and take a coding test. It’s worth noting that this waiting period has gone down from 2.88 days in 2018.

What does this allude to?

Perhaps candidates are taking jobs more seriously, as the employment market heats up. Rather than putting tests off, candidates are getting them done sooner in the hope of landing a job sooner, or land as many jobs offers at once and make the best decision for themself.

SEE ALSO: Research: Developers are trusted by the business but the alignment is not felt evenly across different generations

Latvian developers score the highest (54.65%) on coding tests

Developers from Latvia score the highest on coding tests. The Dutch come in next (52.32%), then Italy (52.26%), Romania (51.92%), and the Dominican Republic (51.69%) round out the top five.

IT skills

This data clearly shows that Latvian developers are talented, but there’s more to the story here. It suggests that recruiters from all over the world treat coding tests differently.


Instead of making coding tests incredibly difficult, in some parts of the world recruiters are using tests that better reflect the skills needed for the job. This could mean that developers are scoring higher on them.

Looking for more facts and stats?

A recent Jobvite study shows that over two-thirds of recruiters believe the lack of quality talent is the biggest challenge they face. When hiring for tech roles, this drought of talent is only amplified. This is great news for developers who can definitely benefit from this situation. It’s worth taking the time to see how the world hires developers so that you can take advantage of this data when you consider changing jobs in the future.


Jakub Kubrynski

Jakub Kubrynski is the CEO of DevSkiller), a developer screening & online interview platform powered by RealLifeTesting™. He’s an experienced Java developer and development manager. He’s an avid conference speaker and business-aware entrepreneur.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments