Boston’s 10 Most In-Demand Software Skills

Boston’s tech organizations remain keen on candidates with Java skills, according to an analysis by Ben Hicks, a partner in the Software Technology Search division of recruitment firm WinterWyman.

Boston SkylineHicks analyzed the skills sought in jobs that have come through his division since the beginning of the year. His top 10:

  1. Java (including all related open source frameworks) – 28 percent
  2. Web UI (Javascript, AJAX, JQuery, Backbone, Angular, etc.) – 14 percent
  3. C# – 11 percent
  4. Ruby – 10 percent
  5. Python – 9 percent
  6. Mobile (both iOS and Android) – 9 percent
  7. Full Stack Web App Development (JavaScript, node, etc.) – 6 percent
  8. PHP – 5 percent
  9. C++ – 5 percent
  10. Scala – 3 percent

Hicks was surprised at the strength of C# and .NET, technologies more popular around 2001, but he takes their strength as a sign that mid-size and larger organizations in Boston have begun hiring. “Coming out of this recession, it was the small companies doing the hiring,” he says. “We’ve had such a weird economy – some parts of it are doing better than others.”

In part, Boston-area startups are more likely to use Java, Ruby, Python and other newer, more popular technologies as a means to keep costs down.

Although more startups were hiring earlier in the year, “now I think some of the larger companies are starting to get aggressive about hiring,” Hicks says. “And it’s going to be tougher for these small companies to hire because the big companies have deeper resources and big HR machines to help them recruit.”

As for which skills make a candidate most marketable, Hicks believes that Java isn’t going away. It’s not the skill mentioned in 40 to 50 percent of jobs as in some years past, but he still sees plenty of demand. In fact, he expected Java to make a stronger showing than it did.

Newer skills such as Ruby, Python, Scala, Javascript and .node would be good bets if he were to predict skills with growing demand. Hicks sees growing interest in Scala, which wouldn’t have been on the list at all last year, and says he’s hearing that .node will be the next bubble of demand.

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