What languages do employers look for?

Hey y’all,

I’m recently getting into programming and was surprised by the insane number of languages out there. I was wondering if there were one or two that are looked at by the majority of employers or is it more of a preference thing? I am currently leaning more towards software engineering or something related

Different programming languages are good for different things. So a company doing data science will probably have a different stack to one doing web development or one doing embedded systems.

The myriad of languages is (generally/sort-of) a result of different use-cases.

Is there a specific area of programming you’re looking to get into? That will help people recommend relevant languages.


I appreciate the reply. I updated my question to be more specific but I was looking more at software engineering or something similar. I am still in the intro stages of searching but that’s what I’m currently leaning to

All programming is software engineering to one degree or another. What software do you want to engineer? Websites? Data processing systems? CAD applications? Embedded systems? Operating systems?

Each has their own set of language(s) and most employers in that field will want to hire people with that language. For example, if you want to do CAD, employers will likely want C# skills. If you want to do embedded systems, then employees will want C skills. If you build data processing systems, it’s likely you’ll need some Python skills. etc

If you’re looking to work in a specific industry, that could help inform the language choice.

If you’ve got your eye on a specific company, that could help inform the language choice.

If you want a generic answer, GitHut has stats on the various languages used on GitHub, with JavaScript, Java and Python leading the pack.


If you want to learn a language with the goal to be employed, you should consider that there will be a lot of competition if you just learn what everyone else offers. There certainly is a demand for JavaScript, Java and Python engineers, but it might be interesting to have some skills that are more niche as well.

In the few discussions I’ve had, I’ve suggested learning a few languages, and preferably from different paradigms. My reason for saying that is that I got my job because the employer was looking more for aptitude than for specific skill. (And he ended up asking me to do stuff in Assembler, Ada, Fortran, and Perl among others.)

I described it to one young lad, who was coming from a labouring background, as follows: if you turn up at a building site knowing only how to use a shovel, you won’t get a job. If you turn up knowing how to use a wide variety of tools you’re more likely to get a job. The fact that you know more than one tool demonstrates your willingness to learn and your active pursuit of skills.

You know the old proverb: to the one who only has a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. So the one who only knows [insert language name here] only knows how to solve problems from that angle. The one who knows more than one language can approach the problem from a vareity of angles.

Fill your mental toolbox with tools. Be good at some. Be very good at others. Be exceptional with one or two. Be flexible and adaptable.


This is key.

It is very common for beginning programmers to want to «get better at language X first» before they are willing to start on language Y. This is a trap. It’ll get you to focus on a single language for way too long.

Perhaps counterintuitively, learning languages other than X will make you more competent at X itself.

This effect is weak when the other languages are very similar to X. So aim for languages that are markedly different. Hence, different paradigms. Presumably you’ll be learning some imperative language for work, so throw in a Haskell / Lisp and a Forth as well.

Sometimes employers also ‘look’ for languages that they aren’t planning to actually use. Haskell for example looks great on your resume, but you are unlikely to encounter it at work.

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Hi, well known is for example python for It’s ease of learn, but remember this is not any advice.

As long as the language is not too esoteric like APL for instance, proficiency in problem-solving and solid programming skills matter more than language choice. Developers are often expected to learn a new language in a few weeks–you can’t do that if you don’t have the experience and the foundation for it. Skill > language choice.

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If someone is an ace in APL I would probably like to talk them, no matter what I am searching for :D

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true that for me too–unfortunately, companies are not interested in such versatile people. they only want Blubbers. :)

I am happy to say that not every company is behaving that way. I got my C++ position by presenting a Clojure showcase. So at least one company was interested in something that did not fit their core profile.


The language i see being used the most by the industry is either Java, Javascript, Python or C#. Either one of these languages are good.

Now, if you want to be front-end developer, I would defiantly choose Javascript. If you want to be back-end it’s either Python and C# and Java, and if it is full-stack, then it’ll be a combination of HTML/CSS with a Framework such as React or Django, a Database, and then either Python or C# or Java.

Good luck!

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