The Most In-Demand Web Developer Skills in 2021

Jakub Kubrynski

In this post, we’ve partnered with DevSkiller to bring you the most in-demand skills for web developers in 2021 and beyond. This is based on data from the 2021 DevSkiller Hiring Trends Report—check it out.

Web development is still a lucrative field in 2021. Companies continue to place great emphasis on hiring quality developers who understand the modern web tech stack. While the core set of skills for web developers has remained relatively stable, some older technologies are rising in popularity once again. 

Whether you’re working as a developer or looking to transition to web development from another field, you’ll want to make sure your skillset is up to date. So what are the most in-demand web development skills for 2021 and beyond? Here are the key trends and changes you should be aware of: 

  1. JavaScript is still the most in-demand language
  2. Java is regaining popularity
  3. Data analysis is an increasingly relevant skill
  4. Coding tests are (even more) key to the hiring process
  5. Remote work is on the rise

Let’s explore each of these trends in more detail now.

1. JavaScript retains its lead as the most in-demand language

JavaScript has remained steady in its popularity. This versatile language continues to be highly desired among recruiters and companies alike, and experienced JavaScript developers can expect a great salary

The DevSkiller IT skills report offers some interesting insights into the situation. For the third year running, JavaScript topped the list as the most popular IT skill that companies are looking for in their developer candidates. Rounding out the top 5 were SQL, Java, HTML/CSS, and .NET/C#. 

A bar graph showing the top 5 programming languages that hiring managers are currently hiring for: JavaScript, SQL, Java, HTML/CSS, and .Net / C#

Despite the fact that other languages have started to catch up – in particular Java – it doesn’t look like JavaScript’s popularity is about to dip anytime soon. The language is still the default choice for new solutions in many organizations. It also enjoys strong community support, with lots of learning materials and opportunities to polish one’s IT skills. For those primarily concerned with the long-term prospects of their career, JavaScript remains a wise choice. .

2. Java is regaining popularity

Java used to be highly popular several years ago, but its position in the charts has lost momentum recently. It looks like 2021 is going to reverse that trend, though. Many recruiters and employers are now looking for experienced Java developers. Java is enjoying a lot of popularity in corporate environments in particular. 

A bar graph showing the programming languages that are experiencing the most growth in popularity

Previously, some saw Java as a language that mostly retained its relevance due to the need for supporting legacy systems, but new solutions have been arriving on the market recently. The language has received some exciting additions lately, most notably sealed classes. At the same time, we’re seeing some new developments in its ecosystem, like the ability to run Java applications in a standalone format that does not require any standard Java libraries or a Java Virtual Machine. This is already starting to gain popularity in certain circles.

3. Data analysis is becoming a crucial skill

Big data is everywhere; in fact, you’ll struggle to find a sector or organization that isn’t driven by data to some extent. While some understanding of data analysis was once viewed as a bonus addition to your core IT skills, it’s fast becoming a fundamental requirement in some fields. The increasing prevalence of machine learning has been a major driving force, with algorithms playing a crucial role in how companies build and improve their products and services. 

Despite this, it’s important to recognize that data analytics is a career path in its own right. So, as a web developer, you don’t necessarily need to be well-versed in the underlying mathematical concepts; often, it’s enough to be able to use certain data analytics tools and frameworks. The level of data analytics knowledge required depends on the field you’re working in. But, as data becomes increasingly important in all sectors of business, be prepared for this topic to come up in interviews.

4. Coding tests are becoming even more challenging

Coding tests are fast becoming the go-to screening method for developer candidates. This sentiment is reflected by developers taking longer to prepare for coding challenges and taking them more seriously overall. Recruiters are now including more challenging programming tasks in response to this trend in candidate behavior. As a result, the expectations towards candidates taking coding tests are now higher than ever before.

A bar graph showing the top countries where developers score highest on coding tests

Working under pressure during a coding test is crucial for obtaining a well-paid job, regardless of the language or framework that is being tested. Companies that were not heavily focused on coding tests in the past have begun to utilize them more actively. Performing well in a coding test requires an additional set of skills on top of your technical ones. It’s important to take some time to study the common patterns in these scenarios and know what to expect. 

5. Companies are more open to remote work

Work-from-home arrangements have risen in popularity as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many companies have come to the realization that remote work could continue on a permanent basis without impacting overall productivity. This flexibility has allowed companies to broaden their talent pool beyond their own country’s borders. The market has been going through a major transformation in this regard, which has affected the presence of certain countries on the global job market hierarchy.

As reported in the DevSkiller report, the UK, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Denmark, and Chile all saw increases in their international hiring percentage. Candidates who are willing to work remotely should definitely expand their search to include a variety of locations. Not everyone is open to this prospect, so the level of competition in the field is still relatively low. You can learn more about how to forge a successful career as a remote web developer in this guide.

Final word

2020 was a transformative year for the tech industry. It will be interesting to see how these trends extend through 2021, and how the global IT workforce shapes up in years to come. If you’re considering a career in IT or perhaps a change in your field of expertise, the 2021 DevSkiller IT skills report is stacked with valuable information on the technology industry. And, if you’ve yet to try your hand at coding, why not give this free web development short course a go?

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