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Top Programming Languages to Use in 2020

scand profile image SCAND Originally published at scand.com ・6 min read

According to Wikipedia, there are almost 700 programming languages in the world and most likely you have never heard about some of them. As a custom software development company with a rich stack of technologies and 20+ years of experience, we know which one to choose for delivering the best possible solution. In this blog post, we want to highlight the top programming languages to use in 2020.

The Most Learned Languages

To see the popularity of languages among beginners and those who continue to expand personal technology stack, let us take a look at the PYPL index for February 2020. PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Languages) shows how often people search for language tutorials and learning courses in Google.
most learned programming languages

As we see, Python is the most learned language at the moment followed by all the top languages you have definitely heard of. Compared to the previous year, only two languages show the growth of popularity: Python (+4.1%) and JavaScript (+0.1%). All the other mentioned languages lose their positions: Java (-1.8%), C# (-0.1%), PHP (-1%), and C/C++ (-0.2%).
The ‘Other languages’ section contains 22 languages with notably smaller percentages of being searched for. However, there are two languages demonstrating significant popularity growth: Kotlin (+4 positions) and Dart (+7 positions). We believe they will continue to attract more attention and should be considered for learning.

The Most Utilized Languages

Now let us take a look at the languages that are actively used for software development. For that purpose, we will use GitHub’s statistics showing the popularity of languages over the past 5 years by repository contributors.
GitHub statistics

Being the most popular for learning and outranking Java, Python is only the second top language. JavaScript remains the undisputed champion year after year and we bet it will continue to stay number one.

We also want to mention the use of the languages that are not as popular as mentioned above yet demonstrating considerable growth of popularity compared to the previous year. Here are the 5 languages we want to highlight:
Programming languages popularity changes

With such enormous growth, these languages are worth attention from both new-learners and experienced software developers.

One more source we want to pay attention to — the TIOBE index. It is updated every month and shows the popularity of programming languages based on the number of learning courses, skilled developers, and other related data provided by top search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, Youtube, etc.) Here is the table representing the top 10 languages in February 2020 as well as their rating in February 2019 — to see the dynamics:
TIOBE index

Here we see a different picture even though the most well-known languages are still there: Java, JavaScript, C, C++, C#, Python, and PHP. Swift turns out to be the most fast-developing in terms of popularity. It can be referred to as ‘Objective-C killer’ as it was released by Apple to replace Objective-C (and its popularity has actually decreased — it can be seen in the first table). Swift is easy to learn due to simple syntax and mainly used for developing apps for iOS and Mac platforms.

Top 10 Languages to Use in 2020

Keeping all the mentioned information in mind and combining it with our 20+ years of experience in software development, we want to highlight the top 10 programming languages.

1. JavaScript

The number one language to be utilized (to keep being utilized), JavaScript is a high-level, multi-paradigm dynamic programming language that will remain the most popular in the world for many more years. Mainly it is used for developing interactive and feature-rich web applications but can also be utilized for creating other software that runs anywhere: servers, browsers, mobile devices, micro-controllers, etc.

2. Python

Being the most learned at the moment, Python will soon increase its utilization popularity as well. Due to elegant and simple syntax, it is considered to be the easiest language to learn and is used for teaching programming. It is widely used for machine learning (ML), deep learning (DL), data science as well as for mathematics, statistics, computational science. Being both simple and powerful, Python allows streamlining the development process of robust applications: web or mobile.

3. Java

Despite similar names, Java has little in common with JavaScript. It is an object-oriented, interpreted programming language that was the first one allowing you to write the code once and run it anywhere. This language can be used for the development of applications of all sizes both web and mobile as well as for developing enterprise-level applications and working with Big Data.

4. PHP

Having a large open-source community and being widely used by the industry giants like Facebook or WordPress, PHP remains on-demand even though its popularity slowly decreases. It is a general-purpose dynamic scripting language that was created for building dynamic web applications. Later the functionality of PHP expanded but it is still mainly used for web software development while constantly losing its positions to JavaScript.

5. C++

C++ appeared as an improved version of the C language introducing object-oriented features. It offers a lot of compilers and libraries to build powerful and reliable solutions that can handle high performance and rich functionality. C++ easily adapts to ecosystem or hardware changes and is a perfect option for cloud computing as well as for game development. It is one of the most difficult languages to learn.

6. C

C# is a multi-paradigm programming language created by Microsoft to run on its .NET framework. It combines the code compilation like in C++ with Java-like syntax. C# allows developing fast and feature-rich applications of any complexity across multiple domains: native apps for iOS and Android (with the help of Xamarin), desktop apps for Windows or Linux, complex web systems, etc.

7. Dart

Released by Google in 2011, Dart is a champion in growing popularity right now (+532% in a year). This language can be called user-oriented as it is focused on developing best-in-class user interfaces while providing excellent performance across all kinds of platforms and devices. Dart is mainly used with Flutter, a wide-spread UI toolkit from Google that allows building beautiful and user-friendly web and mobile applications.

8. Rust

Rust is another programming language with fast-growing popularity (+235% in a year). It is used for building VR applications, game engines, operating systems, etc. Being fast and memory-efficient, Rust is a perfect choice for powering performance-critical solutions and running on embedded devices.

9. Kotlin

Kotlin is another modern general-purpose programming language (released in 2015) that keeps gaining popularity. It runs on JVM (Java virtual machine) and allows using the multitude of Java’s libraries. Having a much more simple and clean code than Java, Kotlin offers the developer productivity close to Python’s. Due to all of these significant advantages, it is now the main language for android app development.

10. TypeScript

TypeScript is one of the fastest-growing open-source languages that calls itself ‘JavaScript that scales’. It has the same syntax as JavaScript which makes its learning as easy as ABC (by everyone who already knows JavaScript) — that is one of the reasons why TypeScript is so fast-adopted by the industry. One more reason is its extended functionality allowing software engineers to build larger-scale solutions.

Bottom Line

The key idea behind the diversity of programming language is that each task can be solved in a variety of ways and approaches. Each software solution can be focused on its specific goals and achieve them by different means. So, it is crucial to know the possibilities of each tool and analyze its potential for meeting particular business needs.

With 20+ years of experience and 600+ successfully completed projects, SCAND software development team perfectly knows and actively uses a rich toolset of both classic and modern programming languages as well as their frameworks, libraries, etc. Contact us to ask your questions and get any additional information.

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Custom software development company headquartered in Minsk, Belarus.

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