Monday, April 5, 2010

What can we learn from software development job posts? (SQL, Java, and XML will get you a job!)

About a year ago, I posted some analysis of what we can learn from job posts. Since then, the job outlook for at least the American economy has substantially declined, but there are still opportunities available if you have - or can develop - the skills in demand. A year ago, according to job posts on, the hot job skills were Java, SAP, and Oracle. How about today?

Well, with a slight change to methodology, things look pretty much the same, but the changes are interesting. Last year, I only looked at terms that appeared in job post titles; this time around, I searched on terms that occurred anywhere in the job post. I can't say I used a totally comprehensive set of terms, or that the queries don't produce some false positives and negatives, but without further disclaimers, here are my findings.

The top 20 IT skills in demand on
  1. SQL
  2. Oracle
  3. Java
  4. Windows
  5. Unix
  6. Linux
  7. XML
  8. SQL Server
  9. HTML
  10. C#
  11. Dynamics
  12. C++
  13. SAP
  14. Perl
  15. IBM
  16. AJAX
  17. PL/SQL
  18. BASIS
  19. PHP
  20. MySQL
(For the rest of the list in the analysis, see the end of this post.)

A little surprising that Dynamics came in above SAP on this list, and perhaps there were some "false positives" putting BASIS above PHP, but probably nothing really shocking there. There was strong demand for many skills, but very little demand (relatively) for iPad (just 13 jobs!), HTML5 (34 jobs), Fortran, Azure, and eBay -- all under 100 job posts mentioning these skills.

Overall, your best bet is to learn Oracle, SQL Server, Java, and XML on your choice of platforms, and
you've got job security 'til the end of time (or at least for the next few quarters).

Some additional findings:
  • SQL is a great skill to have. Oracle and SQL Server are the best databases to learn in terms of job openings [NOTE: no analysis was done on salaries, so your mileage may vary if you care about earning potential. There was one job on Dice for a TPF programmer, and I bet that pays pretty well!]. DB2 and Sybase also had strong demand.
  • Java, C#, and C++ are all continuing in strong demand. Perl, PHP, Ruby, and Python also have strong demand. There is some, but significantly less, demand for Flash, COBOL, and ABAP development skill.
  • XML skills are greatly in demand. There is significant demand for AJAX skills as well.
  • Dynamics came in very strong on the Applications front, with SAP also very strong. There is some continued demand for Peoplesoft and Siebel skills. is significantly less, but there is still substantial demand for skills.
  • There is not a lot of demand for Mac, iPhone, or iPad developers, with none of those platforms cracking the 500 job posts mark. Blackberry was the only mobile phone platform above that mark, with some significant demand. Android is in slightly less demand than iPhone, but growing much faster.
  • Amazon and Azure, two leading cloud platforms, had very little demand for candidates.
Overall results:

Skill Sought
# of Posts Mentioning
Oracle 12533
Java 12104
Windows 9877
Unix 8872
Linux 7703
XML 7600
SQL Server 7196
HTML 6198
C# 5773
Dynamics 5066
C++ 4937
SAP 4713
Perl 3943
IBM 3306
AJAX 3244
PL/SQL 2656
BASIS 2306
PHP 2085
MySQL 2061
DB2 1996
VMWare 1776
Python 1629
Peoplesoft 1603
Embedded 1466
Sybase 1379
Mainframe 1342
Siebel 1153
Google 837
Ruby 786
Flash 604
Blackberry 580
COBOL 537 521
ABAP 479
iPhone 387
Mac 372
Android 316
Twitter 283
Facebook 248
Amazon 236
Assembler 191
Widget 174
Yahoo 165
Informix 153
Palm 133
PowerBuilder 111
eBay 62
Azure 53
HTML5 34
iPad 13