Monday, October 25, 2010

Technology and programming trends

As technologist, I'm always keeping my eyes on the market. There's nothing worse from a marketability perspective than being the best chariot wheel repairman when the entire world has moved on to automobiles. If you're going to be in a niche, you better be in one that is HIGHLY lucrative.

To this end, I took a look on and tried to see how various programming languages stacked up as far as job postings.

Obviously this is not comprehensive, but it shows what I "kinda" already knew. C is king, with java taking a large secondary position and C# following up behind java. One thing to note is that that largest percentage shown on that chart is 4%. This roughly means that the market is SO fragmented that a large leader only captures 4%. For the COBOL folks clinging on for dear life... Hopefully you're near retirement age because right now finding a COBOL job is going to be pretty difficult.

Now for a more interesting perspective. Let's rescale everything relative to what it's position was a few years ago and plot the numbers are percentage growth.

Whoa! This paints an interesting picture. We see that a few new upstarts (erlang, ruby, and groovy) are taking off. Furthermore, we see that of those 3, ruby actually scores higher in absolute market than a lot of established players.

These charts, however only show a part of the picture. Right now, mobile, social media, and cloud technologies are just as important skills as purely using a particular programming language. In fact, the value of twitter (for exmample) is not really from the languages used (scala, ruby), but for the social effect gained by using the technology.

For the next group, I eliminated C just because it was so much higher than everything else, but also because a lot of C positions are for things that aren't really trending upward. So now let's look at a few "hot" technologies scored against some programming languages.

We can see that while the mobile/cloud/social space seems to not have broken too far into the market yet. However, when we look at growth.

We see that twitter (holy smokes) facebook, and iPhone are all growing exponentially upward. Now part of this is because they haven't been around very long, but if you take away the leaders and REALLY look at the numbers.

We can see that, while the market is still relatively small, it is fairly large .6% (or roughly 1/6th that of the leader... C) and that coupled with large growth indicates to me that it might be a good place to be. Note, I added sharepoint to the second slide because I keep seeing postings for it and it DOES seem to have a nice position... It's growth, however is linear, and I'm more interested in the rate of increase of the growth for the time being.

I realize this isn't a highly scientific study and there are a ton of holes in the analysis, but the point is that things are starting to break free of the traditional "I'm a java guy" perspective and trending toward technologies that require integration. In addition, showing how small a market the leading language has, there is a compelling case to be made for being a polyglot.

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