2023 Hackerrank Developer Report: Top Developer Languages And Skills Sought-After By Employers

5 minutes

The 2023 HackerRank Developer Skills Report provides valuable insight into a tech market resilient in the face of the pandemic, in terms of both innovation and demand for tech talent. Thanks to industry-wide growth, the technical assessment provider reports it has grown over 21 million developers in its community and has seen demand for its service triple in five years. Its survey sheds light on programming languages and technical skills employers are looking for, and we’ve pulled out all the highlights so you don’t have to below.

HackerRank states it measured the popularity of a language by demand in the workplace and the number of monthly active tests mandating a particular language. It states 1 in 5 of the assessments on its website require a specific language, which it focused on for part of its 2023 Developer Report (before exploring developer’s personal preferences).

So, what were the key findings? Let’s start with the language insight offered by the report.


Java vs. Python: which comes out on top?

The leading five languages by volume of demand for active tests are Java, Python, SQL, C++, and JavaScript, and there is a significant gap in volume between the top 5 languages that follow (including Bash, Go, and more). HackerRank states for 2022, SQL has been growing at a healthy rate and managed to surpass C++, but it doesn’t expect to see any further change among the top five in 2023.

Java may lead by volume of demand (as highlighted above), but in terms of rate of growth, Python leads in terms of growth of demand, alongside SQL. Java actually can be seen growing slightly slower than the market, in addition to C++ and JavaScript. Python’s growth means it may soon close the gap on Java, according to HackerRank predictions, but most likely not overtake to take first place.

Go and TypeScript on the rise

In 5th and 6th position in the language rankings, relatively new languages Go and TypeScript have been making gains in popularity over the years which is now leading to increased hiring demand for the languages. HackerRank reports demand for Go assessments grew by a huge 301% and TypeScript by 392%. Looking to the future, it will be interesting to see if their growth has a knock-on effect on related languages, for instance, will Typescript’s rise decrease or increase the popularity of JavaScript.

…but downward trends for Swift and Ruby

Despite the overall buoyancy of the market and the increase in popularity of most languages, two languages experiencing a downward slump in popularity this year are Swift and Ruby. The volume of assessments of Swift skills has fallen to a figure 80% lower than it was in 2021 and for Ruby, the volume is 66% lower than what it was last year. This seems to indicate the lack of relevance for learning Ruby and Swift in a market dominated by languages that have a clear stronghold on the market.

What languages do developers actually prefer to work with?

HackerRank’s second half of its report looks outside what languages employers are looking for developers they recruit to have skills in, but the other 80% of assessments done show what languages developers are choosing to assess their skills of.

The data shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, Java and Python come out on top among developers, followed by C++. There is significant space between these top three (all favoured by over 350,000 developers) versus the languages that follow – JavaScript, C#, SQL, and C – that have less than half of that number.

The report shows R and Scala falling in popularity among developers alongside Swift and Ruby, which are less desirable among both developers and employers.

In terms of positive growth, Go and TypeScript made huge gains among developers and had the highest growth rate of all languages – the former by 190% and TypeScript by an outstanding 2,788% increase (yes, 2,788%!).

HackerRank 2023 language predictions

Despite warning of some uncertainty in the market affecting adoption, HackerRank forecast that “the languages that grew in 2021 and 2022 will continue to grow. Mostly. We expect to see a seasonal dip in December before they resume climbing,” followed by some consistency in the first few months of 2023.

The assessment provider highlights that it predicts that the three most popular languages according to their data will grow in popularity over other languages.


What skills are in-demand when hiring developers?

As well as looking into the popularity and adoption of languages, HackerRank puts the spotlight on technical skills in its developer report to uncover what is most sought-after among employers. Its mandatory skills tests involve a mix of frameworks and discipline-level skillsets, such as .NET and Data Visualisation capabilities.

High demand for problem solving and Machine Learning

Problem solving came up as the most desired skill by far, with the ability to understand data structures and algorithms, understandably of huge value to employers. This high employer demand is also found among developers, as demand to measure problem solving skills was almost double the demand for all other 14 skills that followed it.

"...demand to measure problem solving skills was almost double the demand for all other 14 skills that followed it."

On the discipline side, Machine Learning was the leading skill by demand, with its growth outpacing other disciplines in the market – something HackerRank doesn’t foresee changing anytime soon. Data science and related skills (Visualisation, Modelling) also have enjoyed a significant boost in popularity, even as a recent addition to HackerRank’s assessments, making the top 10 of desired skills. Developers are also proving keen to develop their Machine Learning and Data Wrangling skills, with both jumping several places to rank 3rd and 4th by demand.

Kubernetes soars past Docker

Kubernetes’ growth in popularity (185%) is also noteworthy, even if towards the lower end of demand – especially when considered in relation to Docker, which it has surpassed last year. This is likely related to containerization services from other providers (e.g. Google Kubernetes Service, Amazon Kubernetes Service, Azure Kubernetes Service, etc.). Docker, in comparison, experienced little growth in popularity, with assessment figures only increasing by single digits. Both are growing in popularity with developers, but Kubernetes is growing more quickly, and Docker’s popularity has slashed from having twice the amount of developer support in 2021 to only a 10% leader. HackerRank confidently predicts Kubernetes will surpass Docker in 2023 when it comes to popularity among developers.

Looking to 2023 and beyond

A strong, if more testing year for the tech industry following a huge 2021 shows the typical ‘top’ languages we expect to see thriving, such as Java and Python, doing just that both in terms of employer demand and the preference of developers. Standout takeaways include Go and TypeScript made huge leaps in popularity, growing as much as 300% in the number of monthly assessments. It’s also interesting to see Data Science-related skills be a very popular addition to HackerRank’s platform, and it will fascinating to see if this trend continues in the year(s) ahead.

Full 2023 HackerRank Developer Report.