Over the years, hundreds of programming languages have come into existence. And, with the revolution of internet and the technological advances that come with it show no sign of slowing down. As a result, there are lots of companies who are on the lookout for people with right skills so that they can get the most from the digital economy and single market. It has also created promising careers for technical professionals who are looking for long-term opportunities in the software development industry.
However, the digital age brings its own challenges, and not least the skills that are required to survive and get ahead in the modern workplace. Demand for digitally competent professionals across all economic sectors continues to grow and is outperforming supply.
According to the European Commission:
As a sector, ICT is growing rapidly and creating about 120,000 new jobs each year. But due to differences in demands and skills, and despite high unemployment – especially among the young – Europe could face a shortage of up to 900,000 skilled ICT workers by 2020.
So, what kind of programming skills do you need to survive in the extremely ever growing competent market? Luckily, TIOBE (The Importance of Being Earnest) – a programming community index is a measure of popularity of programming languages – has been maintaining a popularity index of programming languages since 2001, watching multiple channels and job boards for the latest trends in the programming industry.
Based on research data as of February 2017, here is the list of the most popular programming languages in 2017:
In terms of popularity, Java has been the main rival of C sharing the first couple of spots. It won the “Programming language of 2015” award, and, according to Oracle, is actively used by 9 million developers.
Java is one of the most popular, most adopted and general purpose programming language used by millions of developers and billions of devices around the world. It is a class-based, object-oriented language and designed to be portable, which means that you can find it on all platforms, operating systems, and devices. It is used to develop all kinds of Android apps, desktop apps, and video games. It is also commonly used as a server-side language for enterprise-level backend development. This programming language has long-term compatibility and developers are comfortable with Java.
In March 2015, the programming language ‘C’ was ranked as the most popular language in the world. The applications and dependability on C are almost endless, and it has always been one of the two most popular languages.
C is the predecessor of C++ and is a simplified and less functional version. C is a compiled, procedural language developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie for use in the UNIX operating system. While designed to be portable in nature, C programs must be specifically compiled for computers with different architectures and operating systems. This helps make them lightning fast. Even though C is a relatively old language, it is still widely used for system programming, writing other programming languages, and in embedded systems. The kernel of the Linux operating system is written in C, which is used for the kernels of most popular OS.
For over a decade now, C++ has been fluctuating between the third and the fifth place for most popular programming languages.
C++ is a general-purpose programming language based on C language and the main programming choice for many of the most used desktop applications. It has imperative, object-oriented and generic programming features. C++ is a powerful, high-performance language used to build system software, games engines and desktop and web apps. Windows is largely written in C++, and desktop environments like KDE for Linux are programmed in C++ as well.
C# is a simple, modern, general-purpose, type-safe, object-oriented programming language. It is intended for use in developing software components suitable for deployment in distributed environments. C# is the leading programming language featured by Microsoft as a flagman for .NET applications. Since the release of the .NET Core open-source development platform in June 2016, it can now be used on non-Windows machines. Several features in C# 7.0 were released last year, including language support for Tuples, pattern matching, local functions, and more.
Python is a widely used high-level programming language used for general-purpose programming, as it is simple and readable. It is a versatile embedded scripting language, a solid foundation of many web frameworks, a preferred choice for automating tasks (including in 3D software applications), programming desktop tools, and performing data science and computation activities. Several libraries have been created for Python related to mathematics, physics and natural processing due to its use in the educational field. Python’s flexibility makes it possible to build applications for various operating systems, including Android. Tech giants like Google and Yahoo along with NASA, PBS, and Reddit use Python for their websites.
Microsoft launched the beta version 2.0 of its Cognitive Toolkit open source deep-learning framework in October 2016, which includes support for Python.
PHP (Hypertext Pre-Processor) is a server-side programming language, which can be used to create web pages written in HTML. It is used on more than 80 percent of websites today including Facebook, Wikipedia, Tumblr and WordPress. PHP is not only a popular language among new programmers due to its easy-to use techniques; it also does offer tons of advanced features for more experienced programmers. Its ubiquity and trivial distribution across hosting vendors, the seamless integration with the MySQL RDBMS, and starter applications have led to a massive demand for PHP web developers across the world.
In 2004, PHP was awarded the “language of the year” award by TIOBE. Further, PHP was the third most popular language in March 2010.
8. Visual Basic .NET
Designed by Microsoft, Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET) is a multi-paradigm, object-oriented programming language, implemented on the .NET Framework. The original expectation was that legacy Visual Basic application can be easily ported to VB. NET – taking advantage of the new runtime – which hasn’t been possible in most cases.
The wordplay welcomed a large community of old-school programmers who switched to the new environment, reducing the learning curve as compared to studying a new language from scratch.
9. Delphi/Object Pascal
Delphi is a programming language and software development kit (SDK) for desktop, mobile, web, and console applications. Delphi is the successor of Turbo Pascal – the software development system used with the Pascal programming language. It added full object-orientation to the existing language, and since then the language has grown and supports many other modern language features, including generics and anonymous methods, as well as unusual features such as inbuilt string types and native COM support.
Its adoption in schools and universities, along with its flexibility for Delphi-based applications, has led to a huge volume of enterprise and software applications that are still supported and extended. Just a couple years ago, Delphi’s popularity declined to number 20 and is back to number 9 in February 2017.
Perl was originally developed in 1987 as a general-purpose UNIX scripting language to make report processing easier. It served as a solid foundation for legacy web systems and UNIX-based operating systems. While its usability in modern days is questioned by developers, yet new versions are actively released in 2017. Professional security and networking experts depend on it for fast prototyping. It is often used by programmers and data scientists for data mining, statistical analysis, or script automation.
Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, object-oriented, and general-purpose programming language, which supports multiple programming paradigms including functional, object-oriented, and imperative.
Back in May 2016, the Ruby programming language featured in the top 10 and is still a preferred tool of choice for many start-ups, developers and established businesses. While Ruby has largely improved the framework (Ruby on Rails) and has brought agility and modular approach for developing new applications, the rise of Node.js was a reason for the disperse of new generation developers among competitive communities.
Swift, the successor of Objective-C , is one of the fastest growing programming languages in history. Built by Apple, Swift is suitable for building applications for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. It is a relatively clean, fast and error-free and can also reduce the length of the code, saving time and energy. Moreover, it is open source, so developers can also develop on Windows or Linux systems, design their compilers and be assured that their apps are compatible with Apple devices.
13. Assembly language
The assembly language is a low-level programming language often used as an intermediary layer between popular higher-level languages, and machine code. The high demand for Assembly developers comes from its performance benefits, the ability to program a wide range of devices with direct registry access, and the unique flexibility for direct hardware manipulations.
Developed by Google in 2007, Go (or GOLANG) is a free and open source programming language. It has an excellent standard library and it compiles fast. It’s also great with concurrent tasks as well as programs. It also receives a good amount of support from its parent company (being incorporated in several Google projects). For example, sites that use Go are Netflix, YouTube, and Adobe.
R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics that is supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. It is capable of conducting numerical computations through additional packages. Being open source (unlike MATLAB) has been useful to organizations that specialize in research and development, or are cautious about intellectual property and data governance.
16. Visual Basic
Visual Basic (VB) was designed by Microsoft in 1991 and officially declared legacy in 2008. Microsoft intended VB to be relatively easy to learn and use. VB is a widely understood high-level programming language, written using simple English-like words and syntax. It is an interpreted language, whose code can be run immediately after being written.
The language allows a beginning programmer to produce professional-looking Windows applications, as it includes drawing tools to create normal Windows forms. VB also includes advanced features – concepts and structures which allow programs to be adapted for use with the Internet. VB will not run on operating systems other than Windows and on machines with non-Intel compatible processors.
Being introduced to the .NET framework allowed first-generation developers to leverage the power of the new platform, leveraging their expertise without having to learn a new language from scratch.
MATLAB is a programming language developed by MathWorks. It is among the top software environments for scientists and engineers. It started out as a matrix programming language where linear algebra programming was simple. It can be run both under interactive sessions and as a batch job. Alternatives to MATLAB exist including open source software packages.
Unlike the other programming languages, MATLAB includes a complete computing environment as well.
PL/SQL (Procedural Language/Structured Query Language) is a procedural language built on top of SQL that provides the ability for creating more complex and powerful applications within an Oracle database engine. The main storage facility for the majority of the software and web applications is Relational database management systems (RDBMS).
Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language used by the Apple operating system. It powers Apple’s OS X and iOS, as well as its APIs, and can be used to create iPhone apps, which has generated a huge demand for this once-outmoded programming language. In March 2015, Objective-C was ranked in top 3.
Scratch is a free software programming language created in MIT Media Labs and has an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Since Scratch is used mainly for educational purposes, it has managed to enter the top 20 chart. It’s repository now hosts over 20 million Scratch projects with an actively increasing number of new users each month.