Most popular programming languages 2019

Every year Stack Overflow asks its developer network their opinion on a range of questions and it has become the go-to report for everything developer and development.

This is its ninth year, and they've just released the results from nearly 90,000 developers surveyed in January.

We’ve taken the critical data (from the Professional Developers sections only) about the most popular Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages and compared them to last year to see which the biggest movers and shakers are.  We’ve then added further data as to whether they love, dread or want to learn a particular language to help ascertain how popular the language is likely to be in the future.


Most popular Programming, Scripting & Markup Languages ❤ Love 💔 Dread ★ Want
  2019 2018 %Change 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018
JavaScript 70% 71% -2% 67% 61% 33%   18% 18%
HTML/CSS 63% 68% -8% 62% 55% 38% 44% 7%  
SQL 57% 58% -3% 64% 57% 36%   8% 6%
Python 39% 37% 6% 73% 68%     26% 20%
Java 39% 45% -15% 53% 50% 47% 49% 8% 11%
Bash/Shell 38% 40% -6% 60% 59% 41%   4%  
C# 32% 35% -10% 67% 60% 33%   7% 10%
PHP 26% 24% 7% 46% 41% 54% 58% 4% 4%
TypeScript 24% 18% 23% 73% 67% 27%   15% 10%
C++ 20% 24% -18% 52% 46% 48% 53% 9% 11%
C 17% 22% -27% 43%   58% 62% 5% 6%
Ruby 9% 10% -12% 50% 47% 50% 52% 4% 7%
Go 9% 7% 20% 68% 65% 32%   15% 13%
Swift 7% 8% -18% 69% 65% 31%   6% 8%
Kotlin 7% 4% 39% 73% 75% 27% 80% 11%  
R 6% 6% -7%  52% 49% 48% 50% 5% 5%
VBA 6% 4% 27%     75% 80%    
Objective-C 5% 7% -35%     69% 70%   3%
Assembly 5% 6% -20% 36%   64% 71% 3% 3%
Scala 4% 4% 5% 58% 58% 42%   4%  
Rust 3%     84%       10%  
Dart 2%     66%   34%   4%  
Elixir 2%     68%   32%   3%  
Clojure 2%     68%   32%   2%  
Web Assembly 1%     70%   31%   9%  

Professional Developers most popular languages

While there is no change at the top with JavaScript being the most popular, HTML/CSS 2nd and SQL in 3rd place the most notable difference is Python now being in 4th place having edged out Java

Why does JavaScript remain at the top?

It’s the language of the web – 95% of the most popular web pages use it, and as long as we’re using the internet and webpages there is going to be a huge need for JavaScript Developers.  There are certainly plans afoot to replace JavaScript with better technologies (e.g. Webassembly) but they are a while off yet, and JavaScript is still loved and wanted by a huge number of developers


These are the two essentials that web developers need to know and are the basis of everything else web

Why SQL?

Arguably not a programming language at all as it just for querying databases

But Python is still where it’s at

Python has continued to rise the charts with another 7% this year after a 37.3% rise in popularity last year and is the fastest growing primary programming language.  It is also the 2nd most loved by professional developers (along with TypeScript) and the most wanted


Why is Python so popular?

It’s been around since 1989 which means there has been time to gather together a vast ‘array’ of documentation from all types of sources and a considerable library which aids new users with any questions they may have.  Google also uses Python in many of its applications and offers free classes on the Google Developer website so that may have helped promote it further too.

The main reason for its popularity right now, however, is that it is used in some of the most exciting new technologies such as Robotics, AI, Big Data and Machine Learning and is also crucial in helping Cyber Security challenges

The fact that its syntax is so clear and that it is simple to learn has meant that it is now taught in most senior schools in the UK which has obviously grown the user base substantially.  An influx of Pythonistas has yet to be seen coming from schools and colleges as of yet, however.  Many experienced programmers also pick it up as a 2nd or 3rd language

Typescript is reaching new heights

TypeScript was started by Microsoft to combine transpiling for advanced JavaScript features with static type checking and tooling. It is popular now because the main development frameworks use it, it helps developers check their code, find bugs easily and makes their lives more productive.  TypeScript is seen as the halfway point between JavaScript with its lack of control and Java with too much control and is the language that is ‘just right’ for many which may explain why it is the 3rd most loved and 4th most wanted language by so many developers.

Languages you might consider learning

Go (lang)

Go continues to rise in the rankings with a 20% increase in popularity and is now the 3rd most wanted language.


Golang Suit

We couldn’t resist a quick Go Gopher pic

And why does everyone love it (aside from the Gopher merch)? It is mainly due to it being a modern day open source language that is ideally suited to the Cloud, Data Science and DevOps where it is perfect for microservices with Docker and Kubernetes being built using Go. 

Go has been created to solve problems with existing languages and tools while natively taking advantage of modern hardware architectures.  It has been designed for developers at all levels and also for long term maintainability


Kotlin is the language for Android and is now seen by many to be the leading language over Java, the original Android language. There are pros and cons of using both Kotlin or Java, and with Kotlin still being relatively new, there isn't always the support available that there is with Java despite Google declaring official support for Kotlin. However, it is easy to learn, and there is good demand in the market for it, so if you're an Android developer it is probably a 'must learn' to give you a rounded skillset

'Damn lies and statistics'

Stack Overflow isn't the only site providing developer statistics, and there are arguments for and against the diverse ways that the data is collected.  To err on the side of caution, it is probably wise to look at a range of results from other sites too such as The Tiobe Index, PYPL from Github, Hackerrank and Redmonk and see which method of statistical data collection suits your purposes best

Added 24-Apr-2018