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Top 10 Best Programming Language Rankings

Python has overtaken the once dominant Java to become the second-most popular programming language after C for the first time according to TIOBE latest Index. For years, C and Java have topped the Index as the most popular languages. 

Python also came second after JavaScript in the RedMonk’s programming-language popularity rankings. The same pattern repeated itself on the open-source code-sharing site GitHub where Python came second only to JavaScript. 

Why is Python soaring to popularity? For the developer community, it’s important to want to know what programming languages top the trends. You get to know which language is suitable for your job or project at hand. Plus, who wants to be left behind when it comes to knowing what’s hot and trendy in the industry? 

In this guide, we have done an in-depth analysis of the top programming languages rankings that we think are worth your attention as a developer. We first take you through the latest results of authoritative and popular indexes for evaluating the popularity of a language as well as the top 10 most popular programming language rankings.  Later on, we describe the best programming languages for a few specific tasks in the industry.

This may surprise you!  

Programming Languages Ranking

You are probably aware of the many indexes that are used to determine the popularity of a programming language. We’ll focus on several of the most authoritative programming languages rankings — Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Tiobe, PYPL, and Github. 

Let’s get started! 

Popularity of Programming Language ( PYPL) Ranking 2020 

PYPL-graphPYPL measures how often programming language tutorials are googled by reviewing  Google Trends. PYPL can help you make a choice on which language to study, or which one to use in a new project in your company. 

Below are the results for the top 10 programming languages ranking according to the PYPL 2020

Rank  Programming Language  Popularity Rating in %
1 Python 30.64
2 Java  14.52
3 JavaScript  7.52
4 R 5.65
5 C/C++ 5.48
6 C# 4.97
7 Objective C  4.78
8 Swift  3.19
9 PHP  2.95
10 Matlab  2.05 

Rank #1

Programming Language: Python

Popularity Rating: 30.64%

Rank #2

Programming Language: Java

Popularity Rating: 14.52%

Rank #3

Programming Language: JavaScript

Popularity Rating: 7.52%

Rank #4

Programming Language: R

Popularity Rating: 5.65%

Rank #5

Programming Language: C/C++

Popularity Rating: 5.48%

Rank #6

Programming Language: C#

Popularity Rating: 4.97%

Rank #7

Programming Language: Objective C

Popularity Rating: 4.78%

Rank #8

Programming Language: Swift

Popularity Rating: 3.19%

Rank #9

Programming Language: PHP

Popularity Rating: 2.95%

Rank #10

Programming Language: Matlab

Popularity Rating: 2.05%

TIOBE Popularity Ranking 2020 

TIOBE-graphThe TIOBE index measures the number of times a language appears in a search query on a search engine. According to its authors, the index doesn’t reflect the best programming language but only claims to rank a language according to webpages reflecting the number of skilled developers, courses and jobs worldwide. About 25 search engines are used to calculate TIOBE index which is updated monthly.  

Below are the results for the top 10 programming languages ranking according to the most recent TIOBE Index.

Rank  Programming Language  Popularity Rating in %
1 C 16.21
2 Python 12.12
3 Java 11.68
4 C++ 7.60
5 C# 4.67
6 Visual Basic 4.01
7 JavaScript 2.03
8 PHP 1.79
9 R 1.64
10 SQL 1.54

Rank #1

Programming Language: C

Popularity Rating: 16.21%

Rank #2

Programming Language: Python

Popularity Rating: 12.12%

Rank #3

Programming Language: Java

Popularity Rating: 11.68%

Rank #4

Programming Language: C++

Popularity Rating: 7.60%

Rank #5

Programming Language: C#

Popularity Rating: 4.67%

Rank #6

Programming Language: Visual Basic

Popularity Rating: 4.01%

Rank #7

Programming Language: JavaScript

Popularity Rating: 2.03%

Rank #8

Programming Language: PHP

Popularity Rating: 1.79%

Rank #9

Programming Language: R

Popularity Rating: 1.64%

Rank #10

Programming Language: SQL

Popularity Rating: 1.54%

Github

GitHub-graphGitHub is one of the biggest code repositories that boasts a massive developer community spanning across the globe. The repository is also growing at a blazing speed. Nearly 70% of global fortune 50 companies have lately made contributions to Github’s open source codes.  

Github also shares a yearly review of programming languages popularity. Here’s  the top 10 programming languages ranking according to the latest Github report. 

Rank  Programming Language  Popularity Rating in %
1 JavaScript 20.15
2 Python 15.87
3 Java 11.40
4 Go 8.8
5 TypeScript 7.5
6 C++ 6.9
7 Ruby 6.2
8 PHP 5.0
9 C# 3.7
10 C 2.9

Rank #1

Programming Language: JavaScript

Popularity Rating: 20.15%

Rank #2

Programming Language: Python

Popularity Rating: 15.87%

Rank #3

Programming Language: Java

Popularity Rating: 11.40%

Rank #4

Programming Language: Go

Popularity Rating: 8.8%

Rank #5

Programming Language: TypeScript

Popularity Rating: 7.5%

Rank #6

Programming Language: C++

Popularity Rating: 6.9%

Rank #7

Programming Language: Ruby

Popularity Rating: 6.2%

Rank #8

Programming Language: PHP

Popularity Rating: 5.0%

Rank #9

Programming Language: C#

Popularity Rating: 3.7%

Rank #10

Programming Language: C

Popularity Rating: 2.9%

Stack OverFlow Developer Survey  

Stack Overflow is a large and trusted developer community where programmers learn, and share​ ​their programming ​knowledge. Every year, programmers from all over the world take the Stack Overflow’s Developer survey where they share about the programming languages they use, how they learn, which tools they’re using, and if they’re interested in continuing to develop with them or not. 

Survey results are always exciting and interesting since they change with every new year. This year’s survey was conducted before the COVID-19 global pandemic by approximately 65,000 developers from 186 countries. 

In the section below, we look at specific programming languages ranking according to the latest Stack Overflow Survey 2020. This is where things get exciting. 

The Most Commonly Used Programming Language

Unsurprisingly, JavaScript takes the crown as the most commonly used programming language in the survey for the eighth year in a row.  

JavaScript is one of the fast-growing programming languages. Since it’s supported by all modern browsers, it’s easy to see the reason behind its growth. For the developer community, it is one of the coolest choices you can make when you want to develop interactive web interfaces. 

We have covered the main reasons why JavaScript is popular and the most commonly used programming language in the sections below. So read on. 

The Most Wanted Programming Language 

When it comes to the most wanted programming language, Python takes the first position — the fourth time in a row. Not surprising, right? Even developers who don’t already use it want to learn Python. 

We discuss the reasons Python features as the most wanted programming language and the reason it is exponentially growing popular later on in the article. 

The Most Loved Programming Languages 

For the last five years, Rust was voted as the most loved programming language by 86% of developers who took the survey. TypeScript took position two with  67.1%  while Python came third after garnering 66.7% of the votes. Kotlin and Go came fourth and fifth with 62.9 % and 62.3 % votes respectively. 

According to the survey, the reason Rust is the most loved language is because it  “solves pain points present in many other languages, providing a solid step forward with a limited number of downsides.” 

As for TypeScript, Stack Overflow says the reason it’s pulling so much ahead is because of Microsoft’s change of direction to embrace it as open source. Kotlin’s popularity and fast growth could be a result of the fact that Google made it the desired language for Android development. Go is getting popular and loved by developers mostly because of its fantastic performance, static typing, super-fast compilation, minimalism, standard library, and much more.

Programming Languages Difficulty Ranking 

The survey also included the most dreaded programming languages because they are difficult to learn and understand. Languages that fall under the programming languages difficulty ranking include VBA (80.4%), Objective C (76.6%), Perl (71.4%), Assembly (70.6 %), and C (66.9%). While developers are still using them, they did not express any interest in using the languages in the future. 

One of the main reasons why developers dread these languages is that they are ranked as the most difficult to learn since their syntax is complex and hard to read. 

The Most Popular Web Frameworks

popular-frameworks-graphWeb frameworks allow developers to design and build unique features specific to web applications. Here are the top 10 most popular web frameworks, according to the survey.

Rank  Framework  Popularity Rating in %
1 jQuery 43.3
2 React.js 36.8
3 Angular 26.5
4 ASP.NET 22.9
5 Express 20.9
6 ASP.NET Core 20.3
7 Vue.js 17.8
8 Spring 17.4
9 Angular.js 17.0
10 Flask 13.6

Rank #1

Framework: jQuery

Popularity Rating: 43.3%

Rank #2

Framework: React.js

Popularity Rating: 36.8%

Rank #3

Framework: Angular

Popularity Rating: 26.5%

Rank #4

Framework: ASP.NET

Popularity Rating: 22.9%

Rank #5

Framework: Express.js

Popularity Rating: 20.9%

Rank #6

Framework: ASP.NET Core

Popularity Rating: 20.3%

Rank #7

Framework: Vue.js

Popularity Rating: 17.8%

Rank #8

Framework: Spring

Popularity Rating: 17.4%

Rank #9

Framework: Angular.js

Popularity Rating: 17.0%

Rank #10

Framework: Flask

Popularity Rating: 13.6%

Taking a look at rankings according to the Github star listing, the top web frameworks include Vue.js, React.js, and Angular.

Vue.js is a popular JavaScript framework used for building user interfaces took position 7 in the survey. For developers, Vue’s core library is easy to learn and integrate with other libraries and projects. 

React.js is another popular framework for building user interfaces. It is a dynamic, declarative, and flexible JavaScript library that allows a developer to build complex UIs from small and isolated components. 

Position 3 and 4 in Github star listing are Angular and AngularJS which took positions and positions 3 and 9 respectively in the report. Angular is an open-source web application framework that can be used for developing mobile and desktop web applications using TypeScript or JavaScript as well as other programming languages. 

On the other hand, AngularJS is a trendy framework for creating dynamic web applications.

The Most Easiest Programming Languages to Learn 

When you need to master a programming language, you might wonder which one is easy to learn. Several factors come into play when it comes to finding a language easier than another. For instance, the syntax of a language, the skills you might already possess that align with a specific language, the level of difficulty you’re willing to learn, the reason you want to learn a language, and more. 

We have already discussed the programming languages difficulty ranking above and mentioned the reason they are regarded as difficult. 

However, some languages are super easy to learn. The top 5 easiest languages to learn to include Python, Java, JavaScript and TypeScript, Swift, and finally C#. The main reason is that their syntax is simple and easy to read and understand. 

Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages 

From the rankings, programming languages are continuously changing and evolving spurred by the changing demands in the industry. We have seen the fastest growing languages and most influential languages. In this section, we cover the top 10 most popular programming language rankings. 

Of course, all of these insights are up for debate, but they are worth considering if you want to stay ahead of the curve. 

JavaScript 

javascriptJavaScript is the world’s most in-demand programming language. According to Web Technology Surveys, JavaScript is currently used by 97% of websites. The popular scripting language can be used both on the server-side and client-side to make interactive web pages and is, therefore, one of the best programming languages for web development. Not only that it is also one of the best programming languages for mobile app development. 

It provides developers with numerous frameworks and libraries that they can import into their code to augment application functionality and flexibility. JavaScript also allows stress-free integration with third-party apps. It’s no wonder the developer community is increasingly falling in love with JavaScript and using it for web, server, as well as IoT applications.   

Popular apps built with JavaScript frameworks include Slack, NetFlix, GitHub, Facebook, Skype, Uber, LinkedIn, Tidal, and more.

Release year: March 1996

User base: 12.2M developers 

Features: Lightweight, Platform independent, Client-edge technology, Object-oriented, 

Applications: Front-end development, Back-end development, Mobile development, Browser game development, server applications, IoT, Embedded Scripting

Python 

pythonEvery year in surveys of the world’s most popular and most commonly used programming languages, Python comes out among the top. Its use is now global and it has been marked as the fastest-growing language. 

The language is powerfully designed yet simple to write and read — just like everyday English. It’s therefore user-friendly and easy to learn and the developer community can use it for just about anything. It comprises a rich set of libraries and frameworks for a wide range of purposes including web applications, data analysis, systems programming, machine learning, deep learning, etc. 

Python is one of the official languages in use by Google! Other Tech Giants using Python include Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Mozilla, Reddit, Microsoft, and more. The other cool thing about Python is that it has been in the market for a long time and has a huge developer community and support forums. 

Release year: February 1991 

User base: 8.4M developers 

Features: Open-Source, Easy to use, Portability, Object-oriented, 

Applications: Web development, software development, scientific computing, Fintech, Data science, machine learning, game development, IoT, Startups 

Java 

javaIf you are wondering whether Java is still as popular, the answer is yes. For decades, it’s been a popular programming language and is still a top choice for many companies and developers.  

Despite the fact that it has been surpassed by Python, Java remains practical, stable, consistent, and useful for developers to create many kinds of applications. Its syntax is also close to English which makes it easy to learn, understand, and write compared to other less straightforward programming languages.

Large corporations including Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Spotify, Airbnb, and more use Java. Given its stability, updates, ease of use, and large community of developers, Java will continue to be a top popular programming language. 

Release year: May 1995

User base: 8.2M developers

Features: Object-oriented, open-source, robust, secure, high performance, automatic memory management 

Applications: Android app development, Embedded coding,  server-side projects, web applications, IoT, Desktop Applications, Game development, 

jQuery 

jquery

According to W3Techs, jQuery is used by more than 74% of the top 10 million websites as of February 2020. An open-source JavaScript library that’s primarily used for DOM manipulation.  jQuery is the simplest way to add powerful Javascript features to your apps.   

It’s simple syntax is designed to make it easier to select DOM elements, handle events, navigate documents, create effects and animations, and Ajax applications with cross-browser support. jQuery also provides capabilities for programmers to create plug-ins on top of the JavaScript library. 

On the Stack Overflow survey, it topped the list of the most popular web frameworks. However, it’s quickly losing position to React.js and Angular. 

Release year: August 2006 

Features: Free, Open-Source, Fast, Light-weight,  Versatile, Easy to use, large user-base, extensible, ease of integration, 

Applications: HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, animations, Ajax applications, cross-browser support,

Ruby

ruby

With a place as one of the best programming languages for web development, Ruby is slowly but surely growing in popularity. It is regularly developed with a lot of loyal supporters who use it to build impressive web applications. 

Ruby on Rails, its most popular framework provides great flexibility, simplicity, security, and a short development period for programmers. It also features functionality for dynamic typing, object-oriented, mix-ins, method names, duck typing, singleton methods, automatic garbage collection, etc. 

Syntax-wise, it’s fun, easy, and comfortable to write. Popular web applications developed using Ruby include AirBnB, Github, Twitter, Shopify, Slide Share, Fiverr, Hulu, BaseCamp, and more. Ruby has a very promising future and is a good choice for developing your product. 

Release year: December 1996

User base: 1.8 M developers 

Features: Object-oriented, flexible, simple, garbage collection, web servers, secure 

Applications: Web development, function programming, data analysis, prototyping,

TypeScript 

typescriptTypeScript has been named among the top five most promising programming languages. Its growth is spiking, with about  60% of JS developers now using the language and many more expressing interest to start using it. 

TypeScript is OpenSource and among the best programming languages for mobile app development. It’s developer-friendly as it makes writing and reading code super easy. As a developer, using TypeScript will make hybrid mobile app development a cakewalk, which could be why it is increasingly growing in popularity. 

Furthermore, TypeScript’s code is more reliable and comfortable with refactoring, which helps developers evade errors and perform rewrites much easier. If you have to work on large and complex projects, TypeScript is your ideal choice. 

Release year: October 2012

Features: Open-Source, Easy code management, easy to understand, fast, easy to refactor code, object-oriented, portable, ES6 Feature Support

Applications: web apps, front-end development, application scale development, 

C#

c#Almost 20 years old, C# is beneficial for enterprise applications and, therefore, a modern programming language. Boosted by the fact that .NET Core is the most loved software development framework globally and has a vibrant community behind it, C# can only grow in popularity.

From the ground up, C# is readable and straightforward and all about developer productivity. It has built-it design patterns and an extensive library collection that helps developers exquisitely implement code. It also allows programmers to optimize performance and memory allocations with its garbage collector functionality. 

Besides, thanks to Blazor, an exciting addition to .NET technologies to help build client web applications, C# can now run in a browser. It is used by top software companies worldwide for Windows applications, web development, and gaming, such as Visual Studio and Unity. 

Release year: 2000

User base: 7.6 M developers 

Features: Open-Source, object-oriented, portability, garbage collection, scalable, large community 

Applications:  Web applications, Windows apps, and mobile apps including iOS and Android, embedded systems apps, game development, Server-Side programming

Swift 

swiftAccording to the PYPL 2020 results, Swift ranked position eight among the most popular programming languages. In the Stack Overflow Survey results, Swift ranked position nine. 

Swift is a modern programming language used primarily for iOS application development. In fact, it has been rated a top choice as the best programming language for mobile app development or iOS. 

We are therefore safe in saying that it’s great for creating native mobile apps for the iPhone. Swift is also incredibly fast and easy to learn, making it very easy for developers to write code. It is also designed to help programmers write safe code. Swift also features dynamic libraries and functionality for better memory management.  As a result, it has become one of the fastest-growing programming languages within the Apple ecosystem.  

Top companies and applications Using Swift include Facebook, Slack, WhatsApp, Medium, Twitter, Lyft, Uber, etc. 

Release year: June 2014

User base: 2.3 M developers 

Features: Open-source, easy to learn, fast & powerful, cross-platform, secure 

Applications: iOS App Development, deep learning, System Programming, Client-side development (via WebAssembly), IoT, mobile development 

Rust 

rustSince 2016, Rust has been voted the most loved programming language in the Stack Overflow Developer survey as we have indicated above. High-performance, reliability, and the ability to build software that is less prone to attacks and bugs are some of the features that make Rust appealing. 

Many organizations use it to develop reliable, low-overhead, cross-platform software. For example, Microsoft is experimenting with Rust to reduce memory-related bugs in 

Windows. Rust also offers direct access to hardware making it a good choice for building embedded systems, bare-metal development, and operating-system kernels.

Some applications that use Rust include Firefox, Cloudflare, Braintree, and Dropbox. 

Release year: July 2010

User base: 0.6 M developers 

Features: Open-source, high-performance, secure, reliable, memory safety, garbage collection  

Applications: Web projects, game engines, operating systems, file systems, browser components, and simulation engines for virtual reality.

SQL 

sqlEvery software application needs data, and SQL is the language of data. It is the world’s most commonly used language for databases since it makes it easier to manage database systems without writing substantial amounts of code. 

Its strength lies in the fact that SQL is a de facto global programming language, which defines standards and is already adopted by the ANSI & ISO standards. SQL queries can be used to retrieve large amounts of records from a database quickly and efficiently. SQL also provides portability, meaning developers can use it in programming for PCs, servers, laptops, and some mobile phones. 

Release year: April 1989 

User base: 7 M developers 

Features: Security, authentication, Data Manipulation Language, Data Definition Language,

Applications: Relational database management, Client-server execution, Remote database access, Embedded SQ

Which Programming Language Should you Choose for Your Next Project? 

You wouldn’t use a hammer to cut wood because it is popular, right? A handyman will select a specific tool to perform a certain task. So, pick the tool for the job you are doing or want to do. As a developer, a programming language is your tool.  It is therefore important to pick the right programming language for your project. 

Why? Every programming language out there is intended to solve a specific kind of programming problem. It means that a specific language could be better suited in solving a particular problem and can be less-useful in others. 

Let’s bring it home with an example. If you want to develop a web application, you’ll go for the best programming language for web development and not think about developing the application in an assembly programming language. If you want to create a mobile app, you’ll go for the best programming language for mobile app development. 

So, if you are thinking about starting a new programming project it would be better to go for a language that best suits the problem at hand. And, while the popularity or demand of a language plays an important part in the equation, there are crucial factors to consider. For example, you need to consider the kind of application you want to build, the resources available to you, long-term goals, expectations, etc., and then go for a reliable and effective choice that will fulfill your need.

The Best Programming Languages for Web Development 

Now that we have seen the main ranking results, we’ll describe the best-known languages for web development programming tasks including their features, performance, and more. 

JavaScript 

Think about it. There’s no way millions of developers can be wrong for using JavaScript for web and mobile application development. So, if you need to work on a web or mobile app, one of the best programming languages is JavaScript.

JavaScript takes the crown when it comes to web and mobile app programming because it is easy to implement, extremely versatile, and simplifies the process of developing large-scale applications.

Popular JS frameworks such as ReactJS, AngularJS, React Native and NodeJS are also available to help programmers build impressive web and mobile applications and add interactive features to them. By implementing these frameworks, developers are able to reduce the amount of time and effort they need to develop JavaScript apps. 

TypeScript

TypeScript is another smart choice for the best programming language for web development. So anytime you need to write a modern web or JavaScript-based application, go for TypeScript. It has object-oriented programming features that make code very clean and organized. 

It is also portable across browsers, devices, and operating systems, compatible with JavaScript libraries, and can run on any JavaScript environment.

Contrasting to its counterparts, TypeScript does not require a dedicated VM or a specific runtime environment for execution.

Ruby on Rails 

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is yet another perfect choice that tops the list for the best programming language for web development projects that requires the use of a Ruby framework. It delivers faster development of MVPs and startup apps through the development of high-performance projects and thus perfect when under tight deadlines.

It also removes the tedious parts of the coding, freeing developers to focus on the logic and business features of the app. Furthermore, it is cost-effective with low maintenance making it an excellent choice if you’re on a tight budget. RoR is a preferred technology for startups with projects such as Basecamp, Airbnb, Shopify, Goodreads, Kickstarter, Hulu, and more. 

Python 

There is no finishing this section without mentioning Python — one of the fastest-growing, most wanted, and most preferred languages by developers and start-ups.

As a general-purpose programming language, Python is a top choice for the best programming language for web development as well as the best programming language for mobile apps. It allows programmers to build various types of applications including Web apps, Data Science, Artificial Learning Machine Learning solutions, and more.

As one of the best programming languages for web development, any programmer can use Python for web development. It can also be combined with JavaScript to create high-end professional web applications both simple and complex.

Like JavaScript, Python also boasts a rich ecosystem of trendy web frameworks and libraries including Django, Flask, Pyramid, web2py, Tornado, CherryPy, and more to simplify web development. Its interactive console provides web developers with a way to execute test code and run it without creating a file.

Python is used and trusted by Google, Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, Yahoo, Reddit, Spotify, and more.

To sum it up, it’s important to know about databases as they improve your developer skills. For database, programming SQL is a good fit to achieve high performance, automated frameworks, security, and more. 

Also, SQL plays an important role in structured data by providing the flexibility of querying the tabular data with SQL queries. Unlike NoSQL databases, SQL adheres to clear standards, which is an advantage for programmers and operators who must keep their organization up and running in high demand and with huge profits.

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