Skills in demand on UK IT job market

The goal of this survey is to evaluate what software development skills (programming languages, technologies, methodologies etc.) are now in demand in UK IT job market. I hope – it should be interesting for people who think about developer career in UK IT companies.

Software used for research:

I used QlikView Personal Edition to aggregate results and create presentation charts.
Web crawler to get job ads content from job portals and software for useful information retrieval was developed with VB.NET Express Edition and MS SQL Server Express.
Job ads were collected daily beginning from May 2010 till November 2010 – exactly 7 months. I intentionally use relative, not absolute values everywhere except salaries.

Common indicators

Developers demand dynamics monthly

Contract types

Programming language popularity

Beginning from here we will deal only with job ads, concerning developers with permanent employment. The first question I’ll try to answer is – what programming languages are the most popular in ads:

Programming languages demand for 2010/05-2010/11

For the list programming languages I’ve used Wikipedia list presented here: Two leaders are unconditionally recognized: C# and Java.

Programming languageDemand %
Objective C0.23

Monthly top 6 gives the same view as top 6 for all observation period.


One of the most important questions is, of course, money. (Everywhere here salary means annual salary)
Salary value was recognized for exactly 80% of all cases, since some advertisers put in salary field words like “Excellent”, “Negotiable”, “Highly competitive” etc.
In these 80% cases - 78% hiring companies use salary range and the rest 22% - exact salary value. If salary is presented by range I take the middle of the range. For example, salary range “£45k - £50k” gives (45000+50000)/2 = 47.5k pounds annual salary.
Now, let’s see salary distributions for top 6 programming languages.

Salary histograms for C#, JavaScript, VB and PHP have regular unimodal shape, decreasing quickly for larger salaries.
Histograms for C/C++ and Java don’t decrease quickly for large salaries.
Now, it’s time to rank programming languages by salary. I think that median is the best choice for salary value estimation.

We get three groups here: C/C++ and Java (top leaders), C# - in the middle and JavaScript, VB and PHP at the bottom.

The next figures will give very useful information for CV – what skills are in high demand for programmers. The first figure shows what skills are in demand for C# developers:

If you put ASP.NET and SQL Server in skills summary section of your CV – you have big chance to get into recruiter list. And, again we see that skills histogram is unimodal and major demand is concentrated on two skills. Absolutely different view is for Java.

Skills histogram is more uniform and ideal candidate CV should include more skills. Ideal CV skills summary may look like:

FrameworksSpring, Hibernate

C/C++ skill histogram demonstrate us very interesting top skill set. Java and C# are at the top. I see two reasons why it is so. The first - recruiters are looking for people with any combination of three skills: C/C++ or Java or C#. Other possible reason - applications moving from C/C++ to Java (for Unix systems) and C# (for Win32 based systems). I divide C/C++ jobs ads set in two parts:

The first part is the smallest - 30.6%, but it salary median is 55k. C/C++/C#/Java mix contains more than twice job ads, but it's median is 50k. So, I think the main reason of such strange skills distribution for C/C++ is that hiring companies are looking for developers with any modern object oriented language: C++ or C# or Java.

Programming languageAnnual salary median
Only C/C++55000
Only Java47500
Only C#40000
Mixed C/C++52500
Mixed Java50000
Mixed C#40000

Everyone can see that C# salary median is the same for both "C# only" job ads and "C#/Java/C++" mixed ads. This is because the major part of ads (almost 70%) is for C# only, so median value doesn't change.

Nothing unusual for PHP developers: HTML, JavaScript, CSS and MySQL as database.

VB skills like C# are concentrated about Web applications development: C# as nearest .NET programming language, ASP.NET, SQL Server.

JavaScript skills are also very predictable: HTML, CSS, Ajax, etc.

Various software keywords statistics

All above reports concerned programming languages. And now I’ll present some figures on various software keywords.

We see again that skills are concentrated on database Web application development: C# or Java as programming languages, ASP.NET as main .NET Web development technology, HTML and JavaScript for Web design and SQL for database support. Most frequent pairs and triplets distribution confirms the above conclusion.

Where to go

It's shouldn't be big surprise that London is unconditional leader, attracting the major part of UK developers

London salaries are also highest

May be more real picture gives salary sum distribution by counties. Each bar means relative sum of salaries over all job ads posted for county. This chart removes from the first positions counties with relatively high salaries but small demand (such as Isle of Man county).