Top programming languages 2021


According to a poll of more than 19,000 coders, JavaScript is now utilised by more than 16.4 million developers worldwide, making it the world’s most popular programming language “by a considerable margin.”

The 21st State of the Developer Nation Report, published by SlashData in Q3 2021, looked at worldwide software developer trends in 160 nations, including programming languages, tools, APIs, apps, and technology segments, as well as developer attitudes.

The report also looked into developer participation in 5G and IoT, specifically how programmers were utilising new technological improvements in tools, apps, and services.

The prominence of JavaScript in online and backend applications ensured that it remained the most popular programming language in Q3 2021. While this isn’t surprising in and of itself – JavaScript has long been the most popular programming language But SlashData discovered that over 2.5 million developers have joined the JavaScript community in just the last six months. That’s the same as the entire Swift user base, or the combined Rust and Ruby communities.

TypeScript and CoffeeScript were also included in the data for JavaSCript.

Although Python isn’t a close second, its growth is impressive: according to SlashData, the language is now used by 11.3 million developers, primarily in data science and machine learning, as well as IoT applications.

Python, the brainchild of Guido van Rossum, has grown in popularity in recent years, surpassing Java, which is used by 9.6 million developers. According to SlashData’s survey, Java is still the most popular programming language for mobile and desktop apps.

According to SlashData, Python added 2.3m developers to its community in the past 12 months. “That’s a 25% growth rate, one of the highest across all the large programming language communities of more than 7M users,” the report noted.

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

Image: SlashData

Of fact, determining the developer base for a programming language isn’t a precise science. “It’s difficult to gauge how broadly a programming language is utilised,” SlashData observed. The organization’s numbers are based on two sources of information: its own estimate of the number of software engineers worldwide (which it puts at 26.8 million) and its biannual surveys, which SlashData claims reach “tens of thousands of developers every six months.” As a result, there is some room for mistake.

Rounding out the top five most popular languages were C/C++ (7.5m developers), PHP (7.3m) and C# (7.1m). Of these, PHP has grown the fastest over the past six months, SlashData reported, acquiring one 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 mostly used in embedded software and ‘bare metal’ development, although has also found a home in AR and VR game development.

“Rust has formed a very strong community of developers who care about performance, memory safety, and security. As a result, it grew faster than any other language in the last 24 months, nearly tripling in size from just 0.4M developers in Q3 2019 to 1.1M,” the report read.

Image: SlashData

Developers are rapidly getting involved in 5G projects, according to SlashData, notably those linked to IoT, AR/VR, consumer electronics, and machine learning/AI.

China, perhaps predictably, was determined to be the epicentre of 5G developer activity: 13 percent of Chinese respondents claimed they were actively working on 5G projects, almost double the global average, according to SlashData.

North and South America came in second and third, with 11 percent and 10%, respectively. Despite this, the report found that 43 percent of North American developers have no interest in or participation with 5G, which is higher than the global average of 35 percent.

SlashData suggested that misinformation about 5G pay be at least partly to blame here. “Clearer messaging about the potential of 5G may help to bring new developers on board. However, this is not without challenges in an age where confusion and misinformation about 5G are prevalent,” the report said.


SlashData’s latest survey also sought to gauge developer attitude in the face of shifting labour demographics and a tumultuous tech job market.

It specifically inquired as to what might motivate engineers to leave their current employer in search of work elsewhere. Although a third of respondents were not financially motivated, half of developers (50%) indicated they would shift companies for higher compensation, citing reasons such as professional progression (31%), extending knowledge or skills (31%), the option to work remotely (22%), and a better business culture (22%). (20 percent ).

Developers in Eastern Europe were most likely to prioritise increasing their salary – nearly seven in ten said a better offer would prompt them to switch jobs. Compensation was also important for Chinese developers, with three in five saying better pay would make them switch.

Image: SlashData

Developers with more than 16 years of experience were found to be the most satisfied with their work; around one in six of those with more than 16 years of experience indicated nothing would make them change careers. According to the report, developers with three to five years of experience are more likely to advance their careers and take on more challenging roles.

“While it’s vital to dismiss the impact of salary on a developer’s decision to move companies, other factors play an important role, especially as the role of work in our life continues to grow,” it stated.

“Money talks when it comes to hiring and retaining developers, but it’s not the sole topic of discussion.”


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