The other day I wrote a blog entry, How can I improve my coding skills? Today I find in my email Programming Languages That Pay Big Bucks. It's another one of those little slide show thingies showing the results of research into job postings. It sites the most commonly requested language skills, average salary offered and what companies and cities seem to have the most opportunity. I'll save you a little suspense by listing the languages here. You can look at the original slide show to see the other details. These are listed from most popular to least popular... which still includes tens of thousands of requests.
- Objective C
The way the list was compiled I would imagine that developing any one of these skills wouldn't do you much good on its own, but that a combination of these skills will be commonly sought. Clearly, if you have been avoiding SQL and Java it's time for you to do something about that if you want to stay relevant in the job market. Also, if you've been avoiding C++ because it's "old" then you are probably limiting your opportunities. Tinkering with any combination of scripting and programming languages seems to be beneficial and if you haven't spent time playing with other things is probably to your advantage.
I want to underscore, however, that logic and problem-solving are still the key skills for a developer. If you are trapped in the drag-and-drop-world of your integrated development environment (IDE) and you haven't dug into what lies behind the scenes in the various files that go together to make an executable application then you really need to start there. Hacking—in it's original sense of someone who is deeply curious and capable in technology—is still what makes the difference. Such a person can move between programming languages and environments because they understand the underlying principles that drive them all. Such a person can step beyond the limitations of the tools and deal with those odd little things that happen when we create new things.
Use this list to help guide you to something to study if you have been looking for a list. It couldn't hurt. ...but don't limit yourself. This list is an outward expression of the real skill which is understanding how things work and always seeking for more understanding.