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Most popular programming languages 2018

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 eighth year and they've just released the results from over 100,000 developers surveyed in January.

We’ve taken the key 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

 

2018

2017

%Change

2018

2017

2018

2017

2018

2017

JavaScript

71%

62%

14%

61%

59%

 

40%

★19%

18%

HTML

69%

   

55%

 

44%

 

7%

 

CSS

66%

   

55%

 

44%

 

7%

 

SQL

58%

53%

8%

57%

53%

 

46%

6%

6%

Java

45%

39%

16%

50%

50%

49%

49%

10%

11%

Bash/Shell

40%

38%

5%

59%

     

4%

 

Python

37%

27%

^37%

❤68%

62%

   

★25%

20%

C#

35%

36%

-3%

60%

61%

   

8%

10%

PHP

31%

27%

13%

41%

 

58%

58%

4%

4%

C++

24%

19%

27%

46%

52%

53%

48%

10%

11%

C

22%

15%

43%

 

41%

62%

58%

5%

6%

TypeScript

18%

11%

^61%

❤67%

64%

   

★11%

10%

Ruby

10%

9%

8%

47%

48%

52%

51%

5%

7%

Swift

8%

6%

20%

❤65%

63%

   

7%

8%

Obj-C

7%

7%

-

   

70%

68%

2%

3%

Go

7%

4%

^56%

❤65%

63%

   

★16%

13%

Assembly

6%

3%

^86%

   

💔71%

67%

3%

3%

VB.NET

6%

6%

13%

   

💔80%

77%

   

R

6%

3%

^93%

49%

49%

50%

50%

6%

5%

Matlab

5%

2%

^89%

   

💔77%

72%

   

VBA

4%

3%

37%

   

💔80%

     

Kotlin

4%

   

❤75%

     

★12%

 

Groovy

4%

     

37%

66%

62%

   

Scala

4%

   

58%

59%

   

5%

 

Perl

4%

       

💔71%

     

 

 

Professional Developers most popular languages

Whilst there is no change at the top with JavaScript being the most popular, Stack Overflow have changed their methodology slightly to add in scripting and markup languages too which has put HTML and CSS in 2 nd and 3 rd place.  SQL and Java remain next but the key one to watch is the move towards Python

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

HTML & CSS

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

And Java?

Java is changing quickly now with new releases every 6 months and maybe a new ‘re’lease of life with regular new features – companies will need to be on their toes to keep up

But why Python is where it’s at

Python has leapt 37.3% in popularity since last year and shows no sign of stopping.  It is also the 2 nd most loved by professional developers and most wanted

Python

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 huge library which aids new users with any questions they may have.  Google also use Python in many of its applications and offers free classes on the Google Developer website https://developers.google.com/edu/python/

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 2 nd or 3 rd language

C is also increasing in popularity

C is another old language but it has increased by 43.5% this year partly due to it being the most popular language for embedded systems and its significant influence on most of the new tech we use in our everyday lives.

C is essentially useful for any programmer as it is a portable assembly language and works with nearly every system in its role as the ‘universal language’ of programming languages.   C is unfortunately not loved or wanted much by developers and there is an average sense of dread for using it

Typescript is reaching new heights

Typescript was started by Microsoft to combine transpiling for advanced JavaScript features with static type checking and tooling. But it is popular now because the main development frameworks use it, it helps developers check their code and find bugs easily and makes a developers life more productive.  Typescript is seen as the half way 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 loved by so many developers, wanted by quite a few and not dreaded at all

Languages you might consider learning

 

Swift

Swift is the language used for Apple’s products alongside Objective C.  Swift is beginning to take over from Objective C now however and its growth has been phenomenal.  It is loved and wanted by developers and not dreaded so if you’re looking to move into mobile development it would be a good way to go

Go (lang)

Talking of Go – they are still climbing their way through the rankings with a huge number loving using Golang and wanting to use it.

 

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

Kotlin is the language for Android and is meant to be replacing Java, the original Android language. Kotlin is still fairly new but there are number of books, conferences, tutorials and code examples already ramping up especially since Google declared official support for Kotlin. It’s concise coding syntax and interoperability with Java has made it a firm favourite amongst developers especially older ones who have got bored with using Java

'Damn lies and statistics'

Stack Overflow aren't the only site providing developer statistics and there are arguments for and against the varying 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 and Redmonk and see which method of statistical data collection suits your purposes best


Added 19-Mar-2018

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