One way to find out what skills will be in highest demand this year is to look at job posts.

I decided to analyze recent Craigslist San Francisco Bay Area job ads. It’s a good proxy for the local demand. The Bay Area is often a trend setter, and technologies that become popular here frequently gain broader adoption. So the findings can also be viewed as a leading indicator for other geographies.

Here are the key insights:

  • “Mobile” appears in 30% of all ads, winning the popularity (or hype?) contest.
  • Java continues to lead the pack among the development languages, followed by Ruby, Python, and PHP.
  • MySQL is by far the most commonly mentioned relational database.
  • NoSQL is featured prominently. Hadoop is first on the list of NoSQL databases, followed by Cassandra, Redis, and MongoDB.
  • Linux has little contest among the operating systems. Ubuntu is mentioned more frequently than CentOS.
  • Android is mentioned slightly more often than iOS/iPhone.
  • jQuery is the most commonly mentioned JavaScript framework.
  • Spring continues to be the most commonly mentioned Java framework.
  • Git outranks subversion among the source code management systems.
  • Selenium is the most frequently mentioned testing tool.
  • Drupal is the most frequently mentioned CMS tool.

I ran similar analysis a year ago. For the most part, the results were similar. But a few differences are worth noting:

  • Demand for mobile skills is accelerating. “Mobile” and “social” had similar mention frequency last year. This year “mobile” mentions are far ahead of “social”.
  • NoSQL skills requests increased significantly.
  • PHP mentions went down, Ruby went up.
  • Git overtook subversion.
  • Flash/ActionScript mentions went down.

The full top 50 list of tech skills most commonly featured in Craigslist posts follows. The counts reflect the number of posts a term appears in. Multiple mentions of the same term in a single post count as one. Counts reflect listings in the SF Bay Area Internet Engineering category between Jan. 1 and 31, 2012.

Bob Tekiela is a cofounder and CTO of 500friends, a San Francisco-based startup backed by Y Combinator. 500friends developed a social loyalty platform for retailers. Bob also writes a blog called CTO Insights.