In-Demand Programming Languages 2018

In-Demand Programming Languages 2018

Which programming languages get you good jobs in Japan? The demand for IT specialists and programmers is high in Japan, but it isn’t always easy to find information on which skills Japanese companies are looking for. To help, we introduce studies on programming languages in Japan by income and demand.


Scala, Python, Swift, and Ruby are the best paid programming languages in Japan.

The most sought after specialization by a long shot is Java. Average salaries might not be top notch, but nevertheless high. Japanese companies are always looking for good web engineers, so JavaScript, coupled with HTML and CSS is another popular combination that can get you a job in Japan.

Despite a considerable spread in annual income for professionals, Stanby data showed, that regardless of the programming language the starting salaries for new recruits are largely the same.

The data

Actually, there are two organizations who publish data on popular programming languages in Japan: Stanby and Hrog. But first let’s take a look at the overall findings before diving deeper into the data.


Job site Stanby bases its analysis on all full-time jobs in their database. This data set’s strong point is the income range shown for every programming language, giving a more realistic insight on annual salaries for young professionals. They analyzed around 2,500,000 ads, but don’t state the amount of IT related offers. This wide database allowed for a study on a greater variety of programming languages.

Table: Average annual income by programming language, stanby.


Hrog’s data set gives insight into the demand for each language. Based on popular programming languages of the previous year, job offers on one day across multiple big job sites were analyzed for the study. The 2017 data was collected from 75,596 job ads, including 11,428 programming related ones. Other than Stanby, part-time offers where included, leading to lower average salaries.

Table: Average annual income by programming language, hrog.

PL Annual Income (Yen) Job Offers a day Ranking 2017 Ranking 2016
Scala 4,246,759 81 01 01
Phyton 4,102,464 444 02 02
Swift 3,904,398 219 03 03
Ruby 3,865,416 534 04 04
Objective-C 3,819,766 283 05 07
Java 3,781,306 2,463 06 08
JavaScript / JS 3,764,546 960 07 05
C++ 3,755,663 1,270 08 11
Assembly 3,854,131 151 09 16
Perl 3,736,062 241 10 06
C# 3,715,308 1,270 11 10
PHP 3,703,138 1,422 12 09
COBOL 3,663,149 262 13 15
Visual Basic 3,656,913 1,046 14 14
C 3,648,913 768 15 13

Though the different methodology of both studies led to slight variations in the results, main trends could be confirmed across both studies. It was apparent that popular programming languages differed somewhat from international or American rankings.
Especially notable is the higher use of Swift and Objective-C, due to smartphone market being dominated by Apple with 70% iPhones in the country. Ruby also remains more popular than in other countries, possibly because it was invented by a Japanese engineer.

While average income for new recruits is similar across all fields, considering the career opportunities from the start will pay off in the long term. Additional high paying programming languages include Go (5,710,000 Yen), Groovy (6,800,000 Yen), Haskell (6,700,000 Yen), Erlang (6,040,000 Yen), and LISP (5,810,000 Yen). These languages where excluded from the rankings due to very low demand but can still offer opportunities for highly specialized people.

Looking to the future it is expected that demand for programmers specialized in mobile cloud, data management, security tools, as well as M2M (machine to machine) and AI will continue to grow in Japan.

Was there anything in this data you found surprising or different compared to your home country?

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.