The most in-demand programming languages in India

Computerworld India offers some help choosing which programming language to learn first, or next, from among the hundreds available.

A better understanding of which programming languages are in demand can help aspiring software developers land their dream job. Recruiters are now preferring candidates with strong coding skills instead of traditional degrees and experience. Choosing the right programming language to study from among the hundreds available can be a daunting task, but there are sources of data to help with the choice.

Here, Computerworld India compares some of the tools for choosing a programming language, and looks at the consensus results.

PYPL, the Popularity of Programming Language Index, is one of the few indexes out there breaking out results by country. It uses interest in learning a language as a proxy for demand for it in the job market. Its December 2020 analysis of the language tutorials most sought on Google put Python top in India and the US with around 32%, followed by Java and JavaScript. Below those, though, the countries diverged, with C/C++ and PHP generating more interest in India. Interest in C#, a fading star in India, rose in the U.S., where searches also grew year-on-year for Apple’s programming languages Objective-C and Swift, which were in decline in India. Other up-and-coming languages among Indian students included Kotlin, Go and Dart.

Another closely watched chart is the TIOBE Programming Community Index, which ranks programming languages each month based on the number of skilled engineers using them, the number of courses offered and the interest third-party tool vendors show in them. In December 2020, C pushed Java into the number two place, closely followed by Python. Behind the other usual suspects (C++, C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript and PHP), R and Groovy were among the fastest risers in a clutch of lesser-known or less-used languages.

Fabian Beuke’s “GitHut” is an automated survey of which languages see the most code edits on GitHub, an online code repository. It’s an interesting measure of which languages programmers are working with worldwide, but not necessarily which ones are making it into production, or of projects that are making them any money. In the third quarter, Beuke’s survey found JavaScript to be far and away the most-edited language with 32% of pushes, followed by Python (13%), Java (10%), C++ (8%) and PHP (5%). Typescript, Ruby and C all climbed up a place or two, with Go falling back one place. C# fell out of the top 10, while just beneath it fashionable but not yet mainstream languages Scala, Rust and Kotlin jockeyed for place with Apple’s Swift.

Stack Overflow, an online community for developers, conducts an annual survey of its users, including the languages they use, love, hate or wish to learn. It also asks them which languages attract the highest. In the US Scala, Go, and Objective-C all draw salaries of $135,000 or more, with Kotlin, Perl, Ruby and Rust tying on $130,000. Worldwide, though, the picture is different, with Perl tying with Scala for top pay ($76,000) and Go, Rust and Ruby all attracting over $70,000.

There are other rankings out there, including one published by Statista, an aggregator of surveys, which put HTML and SQL in the top three most used programming languages, after JavaScript. That’s a controversial choice, not because of how much they’re used, but because not everyone considers them programming languages.  

In choosing which languages to present here, Computerworld also reviewed recent Indian job listings from some of the biggest employment websites (Naukri, Monster, Indeed) and big tech firms, allowing that to guide our choice of languages.

Programming language skills in demand in India


This language has a significant role in website front-end development. It’s the most-wanted on Stack Overflow’s list and in the top three in India according to PYPL. Indian employers are recruiting candidates fluent in JavaScript for roles including front-end development (UI) developers and database developers. JS is also an added advantage for API and RPA projects.


Python is particularly popular among data scientists. Software companies are constantly on the lookout for candidates fluent in Python for roles like Android developers, AWS developers, Angular JS developers, and API developers. It’s also a good idea to brush up on your Java skills if you are going for these above-mentioned roles. Coursera states that Python is popular among students for its role in AI, ML, deep learning, and data analytics. The Python programming language community is active, and, with its large library and simplified syntax, Python has become the primary choice even for beginners. 


Google, Netflix, Instagram and Amazon are among the big names using Java for backend development. Indian employers call for candidates with strong Java skills for roles like AWS developers, Angular JS developers, API developers, and Android development. Java is the go-to language for mobile applications, web-based applications, desktop GUI applications, games and enterprise software.


The Java Virtual Machine (JVM) made Java the first truly cross-platform language, but Java isn’t the only language the JVM can run. Scala can be compiled for the JVM too, and can interoperate with Java code and libraries. Many Android apps are developed in Scala, and job listings also show Scala is a requirement for roles such as AWS developers and big-data engineers.


SQL is used for manipulating databases, but Indian software firms want candidates fluent in SQL for roles including Azure developers, AWS developers, data virtualization developers or RPA (robotic process automation) developers for various projects. SQL is also a useful skill for API developers.


IT/ITeS are on a constant lookout for candidates with strong C++ coding skills for projects involving open-source application development and Android development. Microsoft, Opera, NASA, Facebook, and LinkedIn are a few companies that use C++. It is also the primary language for game developers, roboticists, and avionics programmers.


PHP made it into most of the top-10 lists. It’s used globally as a server-side scripting language used to develop static and dynamic web applications. Software firms are recruiting full-stack developers with strong PHP programming skills, while projects using Drupal, a content management framework written in PHP, also call for it.


A dialect of the S programming language, R is an industry acknowledged statistical programming language for analysis. Software companies exploring data are looking for R experts for roles including data analyst, R&D engineer, and data scientist. Knowing R can be an added advantage for RPA development. R is critical for social media analysis as it can pull out data from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media websites. 


Many companies still look for the basics! It’s the major requirement for software companies for the roles of front-end developers, full-stack developers, and web designers. Statista reports that HTML/CSS is the second most commonly used programming languages around the world, with nearly 63 percent of respondents stating that they use HTML/CSS. The markup language is primarily used for creating webpages, web applications, and int

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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