What Software Engineering Skills Are the Most In-Demand?

Software engineers are always in demand, but what types of skills are employers looking for more than any other? These days, anything to do with big data, mobile, the cloud or security is hot. How do the trends stack up, and how you can take advantage of your knowledge in these fields?

Java and C# remain in demand, but there is an increased call for HTML5, CSS3 and Hadoop. In fact, over the past year, the ten most popular software development skills were:

  • Java / Javascript
  • C# / ASP.NET
  • C++
  • Python
  • PHP
  • SQL / MySQL
  • HTML5 / CSS3
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Hadoop
  • iOS / Android

But there’s more to the job than programming languages, platforms, and code. Today’s employers want techies who also have strong soft skills, such as:

Interpersonal: It’s just as important to know how to deal with people as it is to deal with technology. Employers want software developers who can work well on a development team, as well as be able to explain complicated technical concepts in non-technical terms. IT is no longer an isolated department—its members need to be able to interact with colleagues in other departments, managers and executives, investors, board members, and even customers. If you can’t effectively deal with other people, it won’t matter e how good your ideas are or how valuable your skills are.

Problem-solving: Basically, every software development project is about solving problems, usually for the end user. Regardless of what programming language or technology you use, if you’re not a problem-solver, you won’t be very good at developing software. During job interviews, expect employers to ask you questions that test your ability or track record in providing creative solutions to a specific problem.

Self-direction: Technology is an ever-changing field. Employers don’t want to worry about keeping up—they want employees who can do it for them by learning new things. During an interview, share your enthusiasm for trying new technologies. If you can show that you’ve kept up in the field by earning new certifications or have developed side projects using different technologies, you’ll impress potential employers with your aptitude, enthusiasm and desire to keep up.

So you have the essential technical skills and soft skills, but you don’t know how to take advantage of what you can offer? Try working with an experienced, reputable staffing firm that specializes in IT placements. Whether you want to work a series of contract positions as a hired gun, seek the security of a full-time gig or just want a part-time job that will help you expand your skills, Triumph has the knowledge and connections to help you follow your chosen path.


By Logan Bragg: Partner, Triumph Services. As head of the Recruiting Division of Triumph, he has helped thousands of candidates find rewarding positions.