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Jun 02, 2020 | 4 min read

Hottest Programming Languages of 2020

Pavel Kaplunou , Marketing Communications

Another best programming language list? Not exactly. Many a list have already been announced this year, but not all are as eagerly anticipated or often as definitive as StackOverflow’s Annual Developer Survey. Get the scoop and insight breakdown on the top programming languages of 2020 and more.

While not solely focusing on the most popular programming languages, the in-depth survey also sheds light on matters related to gender, geography and salary distribution across the software developer world, both internationally and specifically in North America. At the same time, the majority of qualified responses worldwide were sourced from Europe, North America, and Asia in descending order.

Because the study was conducted in February, a time when the cinders of the current crisis were just heating up, it is uncertain how different the findings would be, had it been run today. But without further speculation to the what-ifs, let’s look into the top contenders from the 700 programming languages out there.

Top programming, markup, and scripting languages

This year’s leader as the most popular programming language is the 25-year-old Javascript. With the survey annually running for the past decade, JavaScript has maintained its place for the last eight. It should come as no surprise, given the scripting languages prominent place in web development.

Compared to the results of the other years, which have mainly seen the presented contenders shift upward or downward by one position, the most striking finding is that TypeScript is slowly creeping up on PHP.

Mainstays in the list are Java, PHP, C#, and the Python programming language, with the last seeing more interest in recent years, owing to its use in Machine Learning and Data Science.

Top beloved programming languages

This particular category reflects the percentage of software developers, who are currently developing with the technology and want to continue using it further. However, it should be pointed out that it does not reflect how familiar they are with the technology and how advanced their skillset in it is.

Rust has secured its top place as the most loved language for the fifth year in a row. The 14-year-old programming language is today employed in software built for the web, security systems, embedded computers, distributed services, and DevOps, which coincidentally was identified to be the top paid position in terms of salary. 

Software developers tend to think of rust as a memory-efficient language that boasts a slew of features from high-level languages. At the same time, Rust is generally thought to be easier to use, compared to C or C++.

Top wanted programming languages

This is a niche of programming languages that developers have voted in favor of in terms of wanting to use, albeit without currently employing it in development. Once again, Python secures the first spot, fourth year in a row.

If you have been up with developments around Python, you probably know that brands such as Netflix, Spotify, Uber, and Instagram all rely on the programming language. Further backing its case is its involvement in Data Science, with analysts and scientists using it as the most viable alternative to the R programming language.

If another language on the list deserves extra praise, it would have to be Go, which has been steadily climbing through the ranks of the most beloved and need-to-learn languages out there. In many lists, it has superseded older languages such as Ruby and C# as the go-to development language (excuse the pun).

Parting notes

The information from the survey should not be taken for the list of best programming languages that exist today. Rather, it represents a snapshot of what the software development ecosystem is using at a particular moment in time. 

The impressive number of participants, standing at 65,000 people from all corners of the world is a great number that captures the big picture in the world of programming.

Obviously, this is a great reference to gauge market supply and demand for any given programming language, as well as a good starting point to define the technology stack for your next software development project.

If you would like to shuffle through a detailed insights report from the annual Developer Survey, head here to take a closer look. 
Other surveys released this year include popularity of programming languages by Google search, by GitHub commits and based on engineers, courses, and vendors, just to name a few.

02 June 2020


Pavel Kaplunou, Marketing Communications

Pavel is Smart IT's Marketing Communication Manager. He oversees content creation and is in charge of the official Smart IT blog. Contact Pavel to learn about potential media and content collaborations. [email protected]