Java has now leapfrogged C# as the language skill most demanded by UK employers, according to new research.
Specialist IT recruitment consultancy IntaPeople surveyed the 10 most sought-after IT skills for the first half of 2011. It found that Java and C# developers are most in demand, followed by staff with business analysis skills.
The firm said that the flexibility offered by Java is key to its new status as the language of choice among businesses.
"We see this as a milestone for the Java language, which until now has always lagged C# in terms of demand," said Stephen Riley, director at IntaPeople.
"Businesses continue to be won over by the additional flexibility of Java. It means they can run their software across virtually any platform, sparing them the potentially hefty cost of developing a different version for each client."
He added that the need for these skills has been increased by a sales surge of Android-based devices over the last year. Java is the main language used to write applications for Google's popular mobile operating system.
"Developers in general continue to be highly sought-after, and a shortage of talent has seen the market become increasingly candidate-driven," said Riley.
"It is now fairly commonplace for good developers to receive two or three job offers in the same week. Most companies cannot afford to see their projects grind to a halt, and have to offer some competitive packages to get the right talent on board."
To create the list of top 10 language skills, IntaPeople measured the most frequently advertised IT positions for the first half of the year.
2011 top 10 (Jan - June):
1) Java / J2EE Developer
2) C# / ASP.NET Developer
3) Business Analyst
4) Data Administrator
5) PHP Developer
6) Support Engineer
7) Project Manager
8) Software Engineer
9) Test Analyst
10) SQL Developer