Major Programming Languages: The Most Popular and Dynamic Choices for Developers


JavaScript reigns supreme, but Python is making huge gains

Image: Maskot / Getty Images

JavaScript is now used by more than 16.4 million developers worldwide, according to a survey of more than 19,000 coders, making it the world’s most popular programming language “by far.”

SlashData 21st State of the Developer Nation Report examined the global trends of software developers in 160 countries during the third quarter of 2021, covering programming languages, tools, APIs, applications and technology segments, as well as the attitudes of the developers themselves.

The report also looked at developer involvement in 5G and IoT, specifically how programmers are taking advantage of new technological advancements in tools, applications, and services.

The continued popularity of JavaScript in web and backend applications strengthened its position as the most popular programming language in the third quarter of 2021. While this is not necessarily a surprise in itself, JavaScript is, after all, the most widely used language. in the world for a number of years now – SlashData found that over 2.5 million developers have joined the JavaScript community in the past six months alone. It’s the same as the entire Swift user base; or, the combined communities of Rust and Ruby.

The data for JavaSCript also included derivatives of TypeScript and CoffeeScript language.

Python may not be behind it, but its popularity is impressive nonetheless: according to SlashData, the language is now used by some 11.3 million coders, mostly in the fields of data science and machine learning. , and IoT applications.

Imagined by Guido van Rossum, the popularity of Python has exploded in recent years, surpassing that of Java, which is currently used by 9.6 million developers. Java remains a benchmark for mobile and desktop applications, according to SlashData’s survey.

According to SlashData, Python has added 2.3 million developers to its community in the past 12 months. “This is a growth rate of 25%, one of the highest among any major programming language community of over 7 million users,” the report notes.

“The rise of data science and machine learning (ML) is a clear factor in the popularity of Python. Over 70% of ML developers and data scientists report using Python. In perspective, only 17% use R, the other language often associated with data. science.”

See also: Programming languages: the new Python developer in residence and his “make or break” role


JavaScript, Python, Java, C / C ++, PHP, and C # top the popularity rankings for programming languages

Image: SlashData

Of course, determining the developer base of a particular programming language is not an exact science. “It can be difficult to assess how widely a programming language is used,” SlashData noted. Its numbers are based on two data: the organization’s own estimate of the number of software developers worldwide (which it puts at 26.8 million), as well as its biannual surveys, which SlashData says affect ” tens of thousands of developers every six months. “There is therefore a margin of error.

C / C ++ (7.5 million developers), PHP (7.3 million) and C # (7.1 million) round out the top five most popular languages. Of these, PHP has seen the fastest growth in the past six months, SlashData reported, acquiring a million new developers between Q1 and Q3. Like JavaScript, PHP remains popular for web and backend applications.

Rust is another programming language that has been making waves in recent years. The open source programming language is primarily used in embedded software and bare metal development, although it has also found its way into the development of AR and VR games.

“Rust has formed a very strong community of performance, memory and security-conscious developers. As a result, it has grown faster than any other language over the past 24 months, almost tripling in size. to only 0.4 million developers in the third quarter of 2019. to 1.1 million, ”the report reads.


Rust has grown faster than any other programming language over the past 24 months, SlashData found

Image: SlashData

SlashData’s report revealed that developers are increasingly getting involved in 5G projects, especially those related to IoT, AR / VR, consumer electronics and machine learning / l ‘IA.

Unsurprisingly, China has proven to be the epicenter of 5G developer activity: 13% of China-based respondents said they were actively working on 5G projects, which SlashData said was almost the double the world average.

North and South America followed with 11% and 10% respectively. Despite this, the report found that 43% of developers in North America had no interest or involvement in 5G, which is above the global average of 35%.

SlashData has suggested that the misinformation about 5G compensation is at least partly to blame here. “A clearer message about the potential of 5G can help engage new developers. However, it is not without challenges in an age where confusion and misinformation about 5G is rife,” the report says.

Money talks

SlashData’s latest report also aimed to take the pulse of developer sentiment against a backdrop of changing workforce dynamics and a rapidly changing tech hiring market.

Specifically, he asked the developers what would make them quit their current employer for a job elsewhere. Half of developers (50%) said they would switch companies for better pay, even if a third of respondents were not financially motivated, opting for motivations such as career advancement (31%) , the expansion of knowledge or skills (31%), the ability to work remotely (22%) and a better corporate culture (20%).

Developers in Eastern Europe were the most likely to prioritize raising their wages – nearly seven in ten said a better offer would encourage them to change jobs. Compensation was also important to Chinese developers, with three in five saying a better salary would change them.


The search for a higher salary was especially important for developers in Eastern Europe

Image: SlashData

See also: Tech workers are frustrated and think about quitting. Here’s what might persuade them to stay

Experienced developers have been found to be the most satisfied with their jobs – around one in six of those with 16 or more years of experience said nothing would make them change jobs. Career advancement and taking on a more challenging role both peak for developers with three to five years under their belt, according to the survey.

“There are many reasons why a developer may choose to change employers, and while it is important to ignore the impact of compensation, other factors play an important role, especially since the role of the work in our lives continues to evolve, ”he said.

“For those interested in hiring and retaining developers, money speaks volumes, but it’s not the only topic of conversation.”

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