15 Programming Skills Most Coveted By Employers

More than ever, companies need coders. And while tech firms do the bulk of the hiring, the demand for programmers spans industries and only seems to be growing.  

From writing basic HTML to building complex logic into mobile applications, the ability to smartly craft lines of code continues to be one of the most in-demand — and often, well-paying — skill sets one can have. 

(See also: Why This Guy Quit His Sports-Radio Dream Job... To Write Software)

So what skills are the most sought after? That's an ever-fluctuating, somewhat difficult thing to track. Normally, we'd avoid turning to a single source for such data, but its very nature makes Indeed.com an ideal place to look. The job search site aggregates more than 16 million listings from a wide range of sources, so it's fairly comprehensive. 

15. Ruby 

It may be almost 20 years old, but the object-oriented scripting language is still going strong. After existing for years as a general purpose programming language, Ruby got a huge bump from the advent of Ruby on Rails, the hyper-popular Web development framework. Since the rise of Rails, the two have practically become synonymous, but Ruby has plenty of applications as a general scripting language. 

14. ASP.NET

Microsoft's server-side Web development framework is more controversial than many of its peers, in part because it's a Microsoft product. Still, its ability to build dynamic sites and Web applications is favored by many programmers and, more importantly, the organizations who hire them. 

13. AJAX

AJAX is actually multiple technologies bundled into one. Asyncronous JavaScript and XML was first popularized by Web applications like Google Maps and Gmail. The ability of websites to retrieve data in the background without reloading the page is something we now take for granted, but it was groundbreaking stuff a decade ago. Today, using a conglomeration of HTML, CSS, JavaScript (or JSON) and XML to build asynchronous Web apps is still popular, and the job listings prove it. 

12. Objective-C

For a 30-year-old programming language, Objective C is looking pretty good. It's the core of development for both of Apple's operating systems. Its roots in Mac OS X go back to Steve Jobs' days at NeXT and it's at the heart of iOS. Considering the  the platform's enormous popularity, it's no wonder that Objective-C is coveted by employers across industries. 

11. PHP

PHP is huge. The open source, server-side scripting language runs on more than 20 million websites and powers high-profile sites we deal with every day, including Facebook and Wikipedia. Any blog, news site or other website built using Wordpress or Drupal is making use of PHP as well. It's all over the Web, even if you can't see it by clicking "view source." 

10. Python

Python is a general purpose programming language that can be used in a variety of ways. Known for its clean and efficient code, Python is used by players as notable as Google and NASA. It's also what Dropbox is written in. In fact, the technology is so important to Dropbox that the company hired Python author Guido van Rossum away from Google late last year.  

Dropbox isn't the only one hiring Python talent. There are currently 19,455 Python job listings on Indeed.com. 

9. Perl 

Perl was very popular in the 90s for its ability to create CGI scripts that beefed up the functionality of early Web pages. But the dynamic programming language — sometimes called the "Swiss Army chainsaw" of languages — is capable of a wide range of feats. In addition to Web development, it's used for things like system administration, building desktop apps, game development and even bioinformatics

8. C

C has been around since the early 1970s and remains one of the most widely-used programming languages. It may lack the sexiness of the latest Web development frameworks, but C is what lots of operating systems, kernel level software and hardware drivers are made of.  

7. C#

Not to be confused with C or C++, C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft in 2000 to compete with Java. Programmers will debate the merits of one language versus the other until the end of time, but tyhe fact remains that employers are hiring C# programmers like crazy.

6. XML

XML is everywhere. The markup language is used to define structured information in a wide variety of contexts. On the Web, it forms the basis of RSS and XHTML, it talks to databases and is paired with JavaScript for AJAX interactivity, among much else. It's even extended beyond the Web and has found its way into the heart of desktop applications like Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. The list goes on and on. And so do the job listings. 

5. C++

Like its predecessor C, C++ is used widely in operating systems,  desktop apps, developing games, hardware drivers and much else. C++ has a reputation for being more complex and inefficient than some of the alternatives , but it is nonetheless an incredibly widely used and important programming language. 

4. JavaScript

 On the Web, JavaScript is what makes things interactive. This is especially true now that the rise of tablets and smartphones has bumped Flash from its once-prominent perch. Whether it's trendy frameworks like jQuery or the JSON data interchange standard, companies need JavaScript-focused talent like never before. 

3. HTML

It's only natural that the language at the heart every Web page would be in high demand, even as native mobile app development and back-end cloud technologies command bigger ad bigger chunks of IT budgets. In fact, as tablets, smartphones and cloud-hosted services proliferate, the importance of the Web grows along with it. The conglomeration of Web technologies known as HTML5 is all the rage at the moment, but hypertext markup is more than a fad. It is, and will remain, the skeleton of the Web for the foreseeable future. 

2. Java

Java certainly has its critics, not to mention some well-publicized security issues.  But the object-oriented language remains in heavy demand and used for a wide range of purposes. It can't possibly hurt that Google uses Java as the basis for Android application development, a sector that isn't likely to slowdown anytime soon. 

1. SQL 

NoSQL databases might be getting all the attention as of lately, but more traditional, structured databases are still going strong. Thus, SQL, the programming language for querying, manipulating and managing relational databases is in high demand. Considering the sheer volume of data being generated everyday, it's no shock that having the ability to help manage it is such a marketable skill. There are currently more than 98,000 SQL jobs indexed by Indeed.com.