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Pluralsight’s Year in Tech 2023: Top industry insights

We share all the top tech trends so you can learn where to spend your upskilling efforts: the hottest skills, highest paying programming languages, and more.

Apr 15, 2024 • 9 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • IT Ops
  • Software Development
  • Engineering Leadership
  • Data
  • Security
  • Business
  • Professional Development
  • Team Development
  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Learning & Development

Trying to figure out where to upskill yourself, your team, or your business? We’ve examined the last twelve months of tech trends to give you insight into where to spend your energies in 2024. Our research combines on-platform data from our Pluralsight platform, Gartner reports, and a meta-analysis of other industry insights.

Table of contents

The top trending technologies

Despite AI being all the rage for most of 2023, our research found most technologists are still more interested in cloud-related technologies like Kubernetes, AWS, Azure, Docker, and Terraform. Gartner has ranked Kubernetes on the the list of skills ``critical for most companies and highly important to prioritize and strategize” for. 

Interestingly, according to Pluralsight’s Skill IQs, not many people are actually proficient in Kubernetes despite this demand. This makes it an advantageous skill for employees looking to stand out in interviews. For employers, this means it may be easier to upskill existing employees in Kubernetes rather than hire externally, as there could be a skill shortage in this area. Some other inferences from this research:

Don’t ignore your cloud and infrastructure management skills

The prominence of Kubernetes, AWS, Azure, Docker, and Terraform points towards a strong focus on cloud computing, containerization, and infrastructure management, emphasizing scalability, efficiency, and automation.

Data-driven technologies are popular

Power BI, Powershell, and Kafka’s rankings highlight the importance of data processing, analysis, and automation, indicating a shift towards more data-centric approaches in technology. 

AI and machine learning are in (Surprise, surprise)

The inclusion of ChatGPT suggests the growing importance and interest in AI and machine learning technologies, especially those accessible to a wide range of users and applications. As the AI space matures, we expect there to be more interest in specific technologies within the next twelve months (e.g. tools like Amazon Q, ChatGPT Enterprise, and others).

People love open source

The presence of Linux and some other open-source technologies indicates a continued appreciation for open-source solutions known for their flexibility, robustness, and community-driven development.

The most popular programming languages

According to our research, Python was overwhelmingly the most popular language in 2023. Again, Python made Gartner’s “critical for all companies list”. It’s also the most searched-for language on Pluralsight, and the #2 language people were proficient in according to our Skill IQ data (#1 was Java). From this data, we can infer the following things:

People love versatile, easy-to-use languages

Python and JavaScript have wide scale applicability, which makes them good for technologists to know and for businesses to upskill people in. Python in particular is the language for AI/ML and data science, not to mention an easy, high-level language for web and software development.

Web technologies still rule

The prevalence of languages like JavaScript, TypeScript, and PHP reflects the ongoing dominance of web technologies in the programming landscape.

Still important — enterprise and performance-critical applications

Java and C++ continue to be preferred for enterprise applications and performance-critical systems, respectively.

Data science and analytics are pushing the needle

Python and R’s presence underlines the significant role of programming in data science, analytics, and academic research. Even with low to no-code AI solutions increasingly on offer, programming is still needed to get a lot of things done.

There’s a demand for modern system programming

Go’s inclusion suggests a niche for modern system programming languages designed for simplicity and performance, particularly in cloud-native environments.

Overall, this year’s list looks very similar to 2022’s most popular programming languages, but there were some shifts: SQL jumped in popularity from eighth place to sixth, and Go (Golang) has made our 2023 list, jumping up six positions. 

Our predictions for next year? Pluralsight is seeing more searches and interest in Rust, Kotlin, and Swift — Rust in particular has a fair bit of upwards momentum, so this may make the 2024 list, given everyone seems to love using it.

The best paying programming languages

The obvious caveat: these figures are going to vary depending on the region you are in and the role you’re going for. This is an average across all roles that have these as a job requirement. Still, there’s a lot of good insights here, so let’s unpack them one by one:

Rust ($156k): Rust topping the list reflects its growing popularity, especially in system-level programming, for its focus on safety and performance. The high salary could be due to the demand for its use in complex and critical systems where safety and performance are paramount.

Clojure ($142k): Clojure's high ranking indicates a niche but strong demand for this functional programming language, often used in data processing, concurrent programming, and other complex back-end systems. Its salary reflects the specialized skills required to use it effectively.

Scala ($140k): Scala's position suggests its importance in big data processing and functional programming. Often used with Apache Spark, Scala programmers are in demand for high-scale data processing tasks, contributing to higher salaries.

C/C++ ($136k): The enduring relevance of C/C++ in system software, embedded systems, and performance-critical applications (like game development) justifies their high salaries. The complexity and critical nature of work in these areas often command higher pay.

Swift ($136k): Swift’s ranking highlights its significance in developing iOS and macOS applications. High salaries for Swift developers reflect the lucrative market for Apple applications and the specialized skills required for Apple’s ecosystem.

Ruby ($132k): Ruby, particularly due to the Ruby on Rails framework, is still a popular choice for web development. The high salary might be due to the maturity of the language and the efficiency it brings to web application development.

Go ($130k): Go’s position emphasizes its growing use in cloud computing, microservices, and other large-scale networked applications. Its simplicity and performance make it attractive, with salaries reflecting the demand in these high-growth areas.

Python ($125k): Python being lower on the list, despite its popularity, might be due to its wide adoption across various sectors. Its versatility in web development, data science, AI, and automation makes it a fundamental skill, but the broad base of Python developers could moderate salary levels.

Perl ($120k): Perl's presence is interesting as it’s often associated with legacy systems. High salaries for Perl might be due to the specialized knowledge required to maintain these older systems, especially in areas like network programming and administration.

Java ($118k): Java’s ranking, despite its widespread use in enterprise environments, might reflect the abundant supply of Java developers. Its use in a wide range of applications from enterprise software to Android apps makes it a staple language, but this ubiquity could lead to a more moderate salary compared to more niche languages.

From this list, we can infer a few trends:

  • Niche and modern languages command higher salaries: Languages like Rust, Clojure, and Scala are less common and often used in specialized areas, which can drive up salaries due to the demand for these specific skills.

  • Versatility vs. specialization: More versatile languages like Python and Java may offer slightly lower salaries compared to highly specialized ones, as the wider pool of available talent can affect wage levels.

  • Demand in high-growth sectors: Languages popular in high-growth sectors like cloud computing (Go), big data (Scala), and mobile app development (Swift) are associated with higher salaries.

  • Legacy technologies maintain value: Languages like Perl, which are critical in maintaining and updating legacy systems, continue to command high salaries due to the specialized knowledge required.

The top web technologies and frameworks

React has stolen the top spot from Angular, which was our 2022 winner. From our research, there is a dominance of JavaScript-centric technologies (React, Angular, Node.js, Vue.js) which highlights just how central the language still is in modern web development.

Frameworks that cater to both front-end and back-end (Node.js, Django) are valuable, indicating a trend towards full-stack development capabilities. 

Despite many people claiming “jQuery is dead”, it’s certainly not yet. jQuery ranked #3 on StackOverflow’s 2023 reports, and there was a moderate interest in technologists learning it on the Pluralsight platform. It’s likely jQuery is still important for maintaining and upgrading existing applications.

Our research also found a lot of technologists are interested in Spring (Whether it’s Spring, Spring Boot, or Spring Security). Core Spring was our 27th most taken Skill IQ on the whole Pluralsight platform, with only 10% of people ranking as an Expert — not surprising, considering it’s easy to get started with, but takes time to achieve full mastery.

The top IDEs

According to our research, Visual Studio is still the most popular IDE comprehensive suite of tools supporting various programming languages and platforms, especially .NET and C#. Its integration with Microsoft technologies and Azure cloud services makes it a favorite among developers working in enterprise environments.

IntelliJ IDEA’s high ranking reflects its strong presence among Java developers and its growing popularity in other JVM languages like Kotlin and Scala. It's known for its sophisticated code navigation and refactoring capabilities, which appeal to both enterprise and individual developers.

PyCharm being a top choice indicates the significant role of Python in current software development, especially in data science, AI, and web development. As a dedicated Python IDE, PyCharm offers features tailored to Python development, which enhances productivity and appeal.

The top AI-assisted coding tools

The AI-assisted coding tool space is moving so fast, we might as well be writing this in the sand! Still, our research shows GitHub Copilot is by far the most popular code assistant at the moment we’re writing this, followed by Tabnine and AWS CodeWhisperer. The latter reflects the growing trend of cloud service providers providing AI-powered coding assistance, and the broader adoption of cloud technologies.

Most popular data science and machine learning libraries

There’s a broad list here, all catering to different aspects of data science and machine, from from data manipulation (Pandas, NumPy) to machine learning frameworks (TensorFlow, PyTorch) and specialized libraries (OpenCV for computer vision, Transformers for NLP).

Elasticsearch's top ranking highlights the importance of real-time data processing and sophisticated search functionalities in handling big data.

Most benchmarked technologist skills

Pluralsight Skill IQs are like the starting line on your fast track to skill development. They tell you where you’re proficient (or not), so you can focus your skill development where it’s needed most. Here were the most tested skills of 2023.

  1. Java Fundamentals
  2. Cloud Computing Fundamentals
  3. Git
  4. DevOps Foundations
  5. Python Core Language
  6. Javascript
  7. SQL Essentials
  8. C#
  9. Linux
  10. Security Fundamentals

Want to take a Skill IQ and test your proficiency in a specific area of technology? Click here to learn more. Not only does taking a Skill IQ help you identify where you’re at, it also provides tailored learning recommendations to help you level up that skill.

The Year In Tech - Methodology

This is a meta-analysis of industry data from several data points. We examined anonymized data trends of technologists on Pluralsight, as well as industry data from Gartner, StackOverflow, GitHub, Tiobe, IEEE, PYPL, Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed and 

For last year’s report, check out this article: "Pluralsight 2022: The Year in Tech

Adam Ipsen

Adam I.

Adam is a Lead Content Strategist at Pluralsight, with over 13 years of experience writing about technology. An award-winning game developer, Adam has also designed software for controlling airfield lighting at major airports. He has a keen interest in AI and cybersecurity, and is passionate about making technical content and subjects accessible to everyone. In his spare time, Adam enjoys writing science fiction that explores future tech advancements.

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