Java vs Python vs PHP job demand evolution 2015-2018

June 19, 2018 Xavi Sala

In this post you’ll see the evolution of Backend Development tastes in Spain, in terms of job demand. How Python, Java, PHP are evolving in later years. Also other incumbents represented are Ruby, Go and C#. Machine Learning is pushing Python in many companies and a new generation of developers is riding the wave. Salaries are up too.

The rise of Python

A few days ago we published the evolution of frontend frameworks as per those most demanded by companies in Spain. Now we want to do the same here but on the backend side of things.

Here the story is a bit different than in the frontend space.


Backend jod demand evolution in Spain. Python, Java, PHP


In this graph we see, first, more competition and, second, more regularity. Only two languages seem to evolve differently through the years while the rest remain stable.

The PHP decline

PHP market share is on decline in Spain. Perhaps this is not a cause of concern but, who knows if that means PHP developers will need to move on to  another language? perhaps it marks the decline of just Symfony, a popular framework running on PHP which has a smaller market share every year, and simply PHP will be alive and well, only with a smaller role in backend development.

Machine Learning, latest hype or game changer?

Python is going up. The first big raise of Python usage was because of the Django framework, but now is fuelled by Machine Learning and the Data Analysis fever. Companies just can’t help but get one data engineer in their lives. And just in case, everyone is asking for developers with Python skills.

Then Java is in the second position. Every now and then death is pronounced for Java but the language keeps rebounding by adapting to the new times. Java8 and 9 have found many new companies to thrive in.

Backend language diversity

Finally, the violet vector represents the most relevant among the least demanded backend technologies like Ruby, Scala, Go, and c#. Go is probably the one that looks like might go up in the near future. The other three have been around longer and seem to do just fine in their own niches. Languages like Elixir, Rust, Clojure and hundreds of others are among the ones that don’t have yet enough demand to appear in the chart above.

Backend and Frontend different realities

One big difference between frontend and backend, as mentioned earlier in the post, variety. Backend Developers have more careers options in terms of choosing, it seems they can hold longer “inside” a technology and maybe renew their capacities on it, but rarely with the urge to switch to another one forced by the market, as we’ve seen with frontend development. Python is clearly the hot one, but PHP and Java people are safe for now.

Salaries, on the other hand, are rising too. Companies need to get out their wallets as the market is very stressed, as like with any other tech profile. In this case however, technologists themselves are not as pushed as in the frontend space to absorb new languages to remain relevant.