I am not the one to say follow the crowds. I am all for listening to a different drummer. But, in our field, we rely on so much publicly available code, knowledge, and support, it makes sense to understand where the world is.
Consider programming languages.
How to interpret this list? This is the compiled list based on several different web properties with some weightage. How many searches, how many pages, how many blogs, how many tweets etc. Obviously, it doesn’t tell the real story. Still, you know where the buzz is. It either means that there is lot of innovation is happening or there are lot of issues with that language for people to seek help. Btw, I can’t explain why Ruby and Python are on the lower trajectory. Perhaps there is a consolidation of the information that is going on.
This is in absolute scale how the growth is occurring. That may be unfair to some languages that start out on smaller basis. Let us take a look at relative trends:
What can you conclude from relative trends? That iOS is fuelling Objective-C growth. Still, based on my experience, these relative growth stories are short living.
So, what are the top trends in Job market these days? According to indeed.com, these are the top trends:
Of course, as usual, this should be understood in the context. It is trend, not the absolute need. That is, today there may be 5 twitter developers and they may need 10 tomorrow. On the other hand, they may have 100,000 Java developers and they need 120,000 tomorrow. So, twitter has 100% growth while Java has only 20% growth rate. Where would you specialize in, if you want a surety of job? Java, of course, considering that they need 20000 people vs. 5 more people in twitter.
Coming back, let us see how to understand these trends again. The way I read it as is this: These are the skills that are gaining popularity because of a market reason. Therefore we have to understand the why the market is going that way so that we can see how we can solve those problems.
Let us focus only on web development for a second and see what the story is there. Looking at the site www.builtwith.com. They too have a wonderful http://trends.builtwith.com as well as a report for 2011.
Quoting from that report, here are a few things:
I am a fan of JQuery mobile. I know it is not as good as Sencha Touch, but it is getting there. jQTouch is popular because of the small size – but that advantage will not last too long.
If you are a young developer who is looking to specialize in an area, don’t worry about any of these: Become a world class expert – that is good enough. If you are a manager and want to play it safe, you can use these trends to formulate your staffing strategy.