4 of the best programming languages for 2020

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The UK’s commitment to remote working, keeping many businesses in operation throughout the lockdown, could not have happened without software engineers. Advances in technology meant that we were somewhat prepared for the sudden urgent need to work from home, and many organisations are now keen to close any gaps in preparation for a second wave.

This means that software engineers are in high demand, but “software engineer” covers a lot of skills and experiences. So, which languages actually offer the best opportunities?


Let’s start with one of the most commonly used language, JavaScript. No matter which popularity list you check, JavaScript will take one of the top spots – if not the top spot. It is ranked at the top of both IEEE Spectrum’s and Stack Overflow’s list for 2020. Popularity is determined by a number of factors, including the number of developers experienced in JavaScript and the number of jobs requiring the language.

Some will assume that specialising in a more ‘niche’ language will lead to a higher salary, but JavaScript developers are actually among the highest paid. The average pay is thought to be around £85,000 a year.

We’ve seen a surge in interest for those with JavaScript skills, as businesses begin to prioritise their online presence in preparation for a second national lockdown. Before the pandemic, 71 per cent of organisations who were hiring developers said they were looking for candidates with experience in JavaScript. As the economy begins to, opportunities for JavaScript programmers and developers will increase. For advice on JavaScript roles, get in touch with our specialist team.


Python may be in its thirties, but both RedMonk and GitHub have noted an increase in its popularity this year and last. Python is incredibly versatile, has plenty of applications in new use cases, it’s highly accessible, and is straightforward to use. It’s no surprise, that it’s become so popular.

Python skills are so in-demand that both Microsoft and Google are encouraging people to learn the language – for free. Google has made 2,500 scholarships available in the US for its Python coding course, while Microsoft has created video tutorials for aspiring data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts.

51 per cent of organisations seeking developers are looking for people with Python skills, and, according to ITJobsWatch, salaries for roles using Python have risen steadily over the last six months. Speak to one of our expert’s in Python opportunities for more information and advice.


57 per cent of organisations seeking developers and programmers on LinkedIn are looking for candidates with knowledge of Java. Though it is battling Python for popularity, with both languages coming in joint second place on this year’s RedMonk ranking, Java developers tend to receive a higher salary. In fact, Java developers receive the highest average pay, at £90,000 per year, and peaking at £130,000.

According to ITJobsWatch, Java jobs account for more than 25 per cent of all programming roles. Java is the most popular language for IoT applications, meaning that there are some exciting opportunities for skilled candidates. Get in touch with our team for more information.


Ending on a slight curveball, we’re including .NET. Strictly speaking, .NET is a framework, not a language, but we’ve added it to our list because people tend to talk about a ‘.NET developer’ in the same way they would refer to a Java developer. It’s rare that a candidate refers to themselves as a ‘C# developer with strong experience in .NET’. So, we are sorry for upsetting any purists reading this list, but we think .NET has earned its place here.

C#.NET developers are extremely desirable and command a high salary – an average of £80,000. F# and Visual Basic can also be used with the .NET framework, but C# is by far the most commonly used, because of its popularity in its own right. .NET was created by Microsoft, and is a free, cross-platform, open source developer framework with more applications than you can shake a stick at, so it will only become more commonly used. To talk about opportunities in .NET, get in touch with our specialist consultants.

At develop, our consultants speak your language – quite literally. All of our team learn to  code in the language they specialise in, regularly updating their skills and experience. Get in touch with the team on 0207 733 0430 to find out more.


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