In programming languages, the ones that you like the most are not the most popular (nor the ones that give the most money)

Alejandro Brega
Oct 31, 2018 · 4 min read

Many of those who want to start programming have the same question: what programming language to learn? The answer, as always depends and shows a new survey that makes it clear that the languages that developers love most are not those who earn more money.

The survey carried out in the well-known forum of Stack Overflow has allowed us to know the opinion of the immense community of developers that meets there, and the conclusions may help: here are the most popular languages, the most loved ones and those with the most win.

Languages for everyone and everything

More than 100,000 developers participated in an annual Stack Overflow survey in which they revealed how they learn, how they evolve in their careers and what tools and programming languages they use.

The truth is that in the field of programming languages we have everything: from those that serve to split the box to the most appropriate to initiate children and adolescents according to their age, of course, by the most popular in the current market.

The lists with the most successful programming languages that are published by Tiobe or IEEE Spectrum are already famous, but this Stack Overflow survey was especially interesting because of that massive participation of developers.

Choosing is difficult

In the survey, we can find a lot of information about the participants’ experience, the geographical area in which they work or the type of position they occupy in the field of programming. There are even data on how many indicate that they have children (28.9%), what time they wake up (15% do it before 6 in the morning) or how much exercise they do (37.4% admit not to do sports habitually).

However, the most interesting is probably that selection of the programming languages they use in their work (and in their free time, since many programs outside of that working day). The results are striking, and although there are answers divided among all the respondents and those professionals, we have taken the general sample of all the respondents:

Most popular languages: JavaScript is the winner of this category ahead of HTML, CSS, SQL and Java. It is interesting to find Bash / shell in sixth place, behind which are Python, C #, PHP, C ++, C, TypeScript, Ruby and Swift. Most ‘beloved’ languages: Rust is the language most liked by programmers ahead of Kotlin and Python. Others like TypeScript, Go, Swift, JavaScript, C # and F # follow them. Languages with the most wins: F #, Ocaml, Clojure and Groovy, Perl and Rust, Erlang and Scala, Go, Ruby and Bash / shell are in the top positions. Although the salaries are expressed in dollars, the salaries of workers from different countries are included.

It is interesting to see how the most appreciated by developers are far from being the most popular (Rust does not even appear in the list of the most popular and Kotlin appears in the last positions), and how the languages with which programmers confess to earn more Money are also often unpopular.

In fact, the functional languages lead that list with the languages with the most wins: F # does not appear in the list of the most popular, although it is a language that is very appreciated by those who use it.

Many more data, many more curiosities

Special mention would deserve the most feared languages, and here the most veteran is that they have the dubious honour of provoking that sensation to the developers. Visual Basic 6, Cobol, CoffeeScript, VB.NET, VBA, Matlab, assembler, and Perl are in that ranking.

The most popular platforms among developers make it clear that the community that uses Linux to work is huge.

Here is also worth mentioning the love of the developers for Linux (48.3% of the votes) versus Windows (35.4%), Android (29.0%), AWS (24.1%), macOS (17, 9%), Raspberry Pi (15.9%), WordPress (15.9%), and iOS (15.5%), a curious result, especially in the case of those mobile operating systems that one would think, would have more quota . Among the most feared, by the way, SharePoint, Drupal, Salesforce, mainframes and, attention, Windows Phone.

There is much more data in this interesting survey that takes the pulse of the community of developers in these areas and many others such as databases, development environments (NotePad ++ in third place and ahead of SublimeText, surprising) or even their multimonitor configurations : almost 70% of respondents make use of 2 or more monitors to work. Undoubtedly, a large number of interesting conclusions can be drawn from this study.


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Alejandro Brega

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TheStartupFounder.com — Startups, fintech, e-commerce, crypto and online advertising.