Main image of article Old-School Skills Continue to Top Employer Wish Lists

Which skills are trending in tech? According to a new analysis of Burning Glass/NOVA data, the “old school” stalwarts are still going strong: DevOps, C++, Python, and software engineering top the list.

Burning Glass’s Nova platform analyzes millions of active job postings. That gives it a bit more insight into granular skills trends than, say, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Here’s the full breakdown of the tech skills currently in demand by employers, along with the year-over-year change:

As many readers have pointed out over the years, there’s a core problem with lists like this: A “skill” like Microsoft PowerPoint doesn’t really compare to something like Python, DevOps, or C++. But as long as these huge data platforms vacuum data from millions of job postings, then break down and analyze the skills and jobs in those postings, we’ll face this issue; an algorithm isn’t going to differentiate between a programming language or word-processing software.

Casting a bit of an analytical eye on these latest rankings, we can definitely draw some conclusions. Let’s focus on the programming languages: While new, buzzy languages such as Kotlin and Swift usually command the lion’s share of blog and media attention, it’s clear that employers actually want aged “stalwarts” such as C++, Python, and JavaScript.

And that’s not surprising at all. For starters, lots of companies have mountains of legacy code that must be handled and updated; a borderline-infinite number of tools and products are built in these older, ubiquitous languages. As a result, demand for these skills is only increasing.

Speaking of software, it’s clear that employers have a huge appetite for developers. Software engineering, Agile development, and software development were among the top ten skills (along with technical support). That’s good news for any students or new graduates who are focusing on software development, and potentially worried about their prospects on the open job market—employers still need software built, tweaked, launched, and debugged. They also need infrastructure looked after, which is why DevOps is another one of those positions where demand is only increasing.