Posted onFebruary 7, 2020

Every year, we scour Indeed to review the top programming languages based on what employers are looking for from applicants. Specifically, we look at which languages crop up most often in job descriptions and compare it to previous years. To truly understand how we chose the top programming languages of 2021, thought, we need to dive in and look at our previous top seven.

The Top Programming Languages of Previous Years Compared to 2021



Since 2017, the number of jobs has been steadily rising for most languages, with a few notable exceptions like Perl and PHP.


Every programming language’s demand dropped because of coronavirus

As you can see, all the bottom bars are shorter. Python has dropped from around 74,000 jobs to 70,500. It’s a similar story across the board: a 5,000-to-10,000-job dip per language.


Coronavirus is likely to blame here. Obviously, we can’t categorically confirm that, but it would seem clear that a global pandemic is going to reduce the number of jobs. Considering how severe things have been, we’re surprised the drop wasn’t worse.


Only three languages really seem affected

While every language has fewer jobs at the beginning of 2021, almost none of them have gone below their 2019 values. There are three exceptions:


C++ hit 35,000, just narrowly missing the 36,000 mark it achieved in 2019;

Perl went to 11,000, a couple thousand short of where it was in 2019; and

PHP, which hit an all-time low of 8,500.

What are the top programming languages of 2021?

What languages are employers are looking for?

The number of worldwide jobs on Indeed.



The top 10 programming languages of 2021 are:






Visual Basic




Objective C


Compared with last year, this list hasn’t changed all that much. The story is much the same as above, with everything dropping a little. But the rankings themselves haven’t seen much difference.


It’s good news for the industry

While jobs in general have dropped, that was to be expected. It’s been a tough year. But the drop wasn’t all that huge. It’s worth noting that jobs are hovering around where they were two years ago. Is this a setback? Of course. But it’s not a catastrophe. The programming industry has held strong, and developers are still in huge demand.


Python takes top spot

Over the last few years, businesses have been asking for more and more Python developers. Since the beginning of 2018, the number of jobs has skyrocketed. This is great news for Python programmers, or those looking to start their career. As one of the simplest languages to learn, it makes it much easier to get into software development.


Despite the challenges we’ve seen, it seems there’s no stopping Python from rising up the ranks. It’s now taken the top spot from SQL as the most asked for requirement on a programmer’s CV.


JavaScript falls as Visual Basic and R rise

Across all the languages we review, Visual Basic and R are the only two that rose. Not just rose in our rankings, but actually had more jobs than this time last year. A particularly impressive feat, given the situation.

Meanwhile, JavaScript has had a particularly hard year, dropping to sixth place.


Two languages to keep an eye on

While we look at the top languages in the industry, we also look at what’s happening below the surface. And two names came up strong: TypeScript and Kotlin.


Among the other languages we check, these two saw a significant rise. Both of them had thousands more jobs than last year, despite the pandemic. They, like Visual Basic and R, seem to be surprisingly benefiting from the pandemic.


The only other two languages that saw any improvement were Swift and Go, but these only saw an extremely minor increase in jobs and aren’t statistically relevant.


It’s been rough and it’s surprising that any language has managed to grow, let alone these two. Could it be a sign that they’ll become more and more in demand in the future? Maybe. It could just be a blip, but odds are they’re languages to keep an eye on. If you’re looking for an extra language to add to your tool belt, perhaps TypeScript or Kotlin should be your first port of call.


Get ready for the pickup

We expect that jobs will start to rocket, once the economy picks back up. This downtime, while frustrating, is a perfect time to hone your skills or learn some new ones. If you’d like to add a few more strings to your bow, you can get hands-on practical training at our bootcamp. Learn three full stacks and get ready for when the jobs market picks up once again.

Tomasz David
Tomasz David

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