Top Programming Languages Rankings

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Top Programming Languages Rankings

A description of various programming languages, accompanied by its strengths and weaknesses.

· Agile Zone ·
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At the very beginning, many people who are not connected with the IT-sphere, explore the following idea: what programming language to learn? There are a lot of programming languages, about a thousand; however, there is no right answer which language is the best. Each one was developed to solve specific problems.

Over time, some of the languages have lost relevance, respectively, have taken a backseat. Leading positions are occupied by the languages that meet the needs of large corporations and businesses engaged in the Internet.

Programming language rankings will help you to understand the relevance of the language in the IT market and simplify your selection issue if you want to deal with programming.

What is the Ranking?

A programming language ranking is a measure of its popularity, determined based on one or several criteria. For example:

  • Internet user requests on languages
  • Software downloads
  • Forum discussions
  • Market positions

Here is an example of how can you calculate the Java ranking among the four languages requested by Internet users:

Java ranking

n – the amount of Internet user requests per language.

All You Should Know About Rankings

The ranking does not answer the question of which programming language is better. More likely, it characterizes the popularity of its use. Below we provide you with the rankings from various companies that monitor the programming language popularity for a long time.

TIOBE Software ranking (Pic. 1). Analysis of the ranking results includes data based on the search results of 25 major search engines, including Google, eBay, YouTube, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, and Bing.

TIOBE Software Index

Picture 1. TIOBE Software Index

Red Monk ranking (pic. 2) uses GitHub and StackOverflow to compare the programming languages. The main parameters that build-up the ranking is the frequency of discussions and in-project use of the language.

Red Monk Rankings

Picture 2. Red Monk Rankings

PYPL ranking (pic. 3) is based on the frequency of Google searching for language documentation. The more search results, the more popular this language is. Primary data comes from Google Trends.

PYPL ranking

Picture 3. PYPL ranking

Here you can the ranking created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE Spectrum (pic. 4). It gathers data from 12 sources, including Google, GitHub, StackOverflow, Reddit, Twitter, Career Builder, Dice, IEEE Xplore, etc.

IEEE Spectrum 2017 Ranking.

Picture 4. IEEE Spectrum 2017 Ranking.

Picture 5 provides you with the leaders of StackOverflow searches

StackOverflow tags’ leaders among programming languages

Picture 5. StackOverflow tags’ leaders among programming languages

Picture 6 shows the interest of programming language search results on Google Trends over the past 12 months (data for the end of June 2018).

The interest of Google search results on Java, C++, Python, JavaScript, C#

Picture 6. The interest of Google search results on Java, C++, Python, JavaScript, C#

Analyzing Rankings and Narrowing Our Search

What conclusions can you make by analyzing these rankings? Despite some differences in the distribution of language positions, the leaders are still Java, JavaScript, Python, C. These four languages occupy about 60% of the total use of programming languages in the world. Thus, if you choose one of them, you will be in the trend of technology.

Taking a Closer Look at the Candidates

So what programming language to learn, if you tease out from these four languages? You need to take into account several important issues to make a decision.

JavaScript is a popular language for developing the frontend of web applications. This tool is closely related to HTML and CSS. Thus, you will need to deal with these technologies in parallel with learning JavaScript.

If you want to deal with design and web development - choose JavaScript. Otherwise, we recommend you to try Python, Java or C as the first language.

Python is a good first language choice. However, it loses much on the performance of C and Java, so it is not used for developing high-load applications. For example, here are the results of performance tests of various languages using nested loops:

Performance test results of different programming languages

Picture 7. Performance test results of different programming languages

We highly recommend you to master the job market in your area. Is there enough demand for Python developers in your city? You can choose this language if you are sure that you can easily get a job offer as a Python developer.

If you want to make money off programming and be treated as a serious developer, take a closer look at Java and the C-family programming languages.

If you master one of these languages, you will know the basic concepts and fundamental principles of programming necessary for any developer: variables, types, return values, methods, functions, expressions, initialization and life cycle, algorithms, input/output streams.

Additionally, C++ is worth learning if you want to build a different application software or games. Programming language C is closer to the "hardware" and is used for low-level coding. It is a perfect choice for creating drivers and operating systems.

С# is created in the image and likeness of Java, but its syntax is closer to C++. Generally, C# is a perfect choice for software products for the NET.Framework and Windows platforms.

Considering Java, it has proven as a fast (Pic. 7), reliable and platform-independent language. These characteristics make it the best programming language for developing enterprise applications (enterprise-wide applications).

Considering the job IT market, Java holds the leading position for a long time. It is proved by the results of the vacancy monitoring made by IEEE Spectrum over the past 4 years, as well as data from Indeed:

Performance test results of different programming languages

Java was created to simplify the development process and reduce the qualification requirements. Thus, it is fault-tolerant and easier to use compared to the C and C++ languages. To create a high-quality code using C or C++, you need to have a high qualification. The matter is that these languages can use low-level coding tools. If you have an insufficient knowledge level, it is more likely you will create an unsafe and spaghetti code using C or C++. Moreover, this code is difficult to debug, which leads to the face that Java is easier.

Java is an easy-to-learn language, which can be mastered without leaving home. The main reason for such simplicity is a huge amount of information around the web and various learning Internet resources. Thus, we recommend you take a closer look at Java as your first language.


Thus, if you still wonder what programming language to begin with, then take the following steps:

  1. Choose the programming activity you want to be engaged in (web development, development of application programs and game software, mobile development, server enterprise applications development);
  2. Take a look at two or three major rankings, review the popularity of programming languages around the web;
  3. Master the job and salary market in your region;
  4. Evaluate your time and energy that you can spend learning programming.

Java is the Best Choice

Why Java is the best programming language for the majority of beginners?

  • Having mastered Java, you will be likely developing enterprise applications. This position is well paid as customers are corporations, banks, and major business players.
  • Also, the knowledge of Java allows you to engage in promising, actively developing and also well-paid development of mobile applications.
  • The vast majority of server-based enterprise applications around the world are built on Java. Therefore, the language will be supported for many more years.
  • Over the years, Java has been leading in the number of developers’ positions. Quite often, employers are large companies. So, in case you are Junior Java Developer, it will be much easier for you to develop in a large company compared to small ones.
  • Honestly, Java is fairly simple to learn. Having mastered it, you will know the fundamentals of programming necessary for any developer. Simultaneously, it is pretty easy to learn JavaScript or Python or even proceed to relatively complex C++ in case you know Java.
  • Finally, Java is much easier than the C-family programming languages. Сoincidently, knowledge of Java allows you to rightly consider you a professional developer.
  • Last, but not least: Java developers are pretty well paid.
programming ,java ,c ,c++ ,javascript ,python ,php ,r ,sql ,agile 2010

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