What Stats and Surveys are saying about Swift in 2017

Guy Daher
Guy Daher
Oct 13, 2017 · 4 min read

As a Swift developer evangelist, I always get excited about how fast the Swift community is growing. This means more frameworks and features for more possibilities. That also means more tools for better productivity and efficiency.

But how good is the Swift community actually doing? How well does it compare to its fellow programming languages? Throughout this year, I’ve stumbled upon many articles that analyse programming languages. Each one give their own perspective. From asking developers and students, to applying data analysis, let’s take a look at some of those interesting studies from GitHub, StackOverflow, O’Reilly, TIOBE and IEEE.

GitHub: The State of the Octoverse 2017

The fifteen most popular languages on Github 🥇

This graph is based on number of pull requests, and we can see that Swift is in 13th place. That’s ok for a 4 year old programming language, but I’m interested to see how it will progress in the next 3 years. At least, it’s ahead of its Objective-C brother!

Topics 🤔

Github introduces topics to let us explore projects by technology and industry. We see that iOS is definitely a popular topic.

StackOverflow: Developer Survey Results 2017

Most popular programming languages 🏆

This is based on the number of StackOverflow questions. Swift ranks a respectable 11th, better than previous years.

Most loved languages 😍

Swift is loved by developers, and they express interest in continuing to develop with it. Ranked 4th this year, the only negative thing about this is that it lost 2 places, as it was ranked 2nd last year.

Most popular languages by occupation 💼

Swift ranks 13th here, far behind Javascript. There’s definitely more jobs available for people comfortable with JS and SQL.

Top paying technology worldwide 🤑

Swift pays well compared to the popular languages like JS, Java, C# and Python. However, it still lacks behind the more niche languages like Clojure, Rust and Elixir.

O’Reilly: 2017 Software Development Salary Survey

Future programming languages / intend to learn 👨‍🎓

Everyone wants to learn more Go, Python, Scala and Swift (in that order). That is very important to stimulate the growth of the Swift community.

Salary Range and Median 💰

Again, we see the differences in salary here, but with ranges in that case. Swift actually has a good range that goes well to the right ($$), but a median that is to the left of the average (disproportionate).

TIOBE: Index for October 2017

TIOBE Programming Community index 🎖

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. In the beginning of this year, the programming language Swift peaked at a rating of 2.3% and even reached a top 10 position. However, it wasn’t able to continue its growth, and is finding itself losing in popularity month over month. The obvious theory here is that hybrid apps are starting to become mature, and with the obvious benefit of maintaining only one codebase (and potentially not having to learn a new language), people are preferring this over using native languages. That’s definitely a warning sign, but nothing too big yet.

IEEE: The 2017 Top Programming Languages

Spectrum ranking 📈

The spectrum ranking combines 12 metrics from 10 carefully chosen online sources to rank 48 languages. Swift ranking 10 is actually impressive, as Swift debuted on the rankings just two years ago.


In summary, Swift is a language that is growing in popularity, that is paying well, and that users love. It is still not appearing in the top 5, but is somewhere in the top 15. I am excited to see how well Swift will do in the future!

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