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Most Popular Programming Languages

Last updated: 22.11.2021
Author: Hristina Nikolovska

As our modern society keeps on growing and progressing, so does the popularity of programming languages and software development. That is exactly why we’ve taken the time to compile a list of 11 widely-used programming languages and some interesting statistics from this fascinating industry. Without further ado, scroll down to learn about the most important facts from this trade and the most popular programming languages we should pay attention to in 2021.

Programming Language Statistics

  • JavaScript is the most widely used programming language worldwide, with 64.96% users.
  • Python is the most searched language globally in the PYPL Index with a 31.73% share.
  • With a 12.57% rating, C is the leading programming language in the TIOBE Index.
  • Worldwide programming language statistics show that 30% of developers think Python is the most popular programming language.
  • Java is the second most searched language in the US, India, Germany, UK, and France, with a 16.01%, 20.23%, 14.92%, 9.97%, and 11.22% share.
  • Rust is one of the most sought-after programming languages globally, with 86.98% of software developers using it.
  • Stack Overflow’s survey shows that 35.67% of respondents have been coding for less than five years.
  • 84.21% of software developers think that COBOL is the worst programming language, while 76.82% said Angular.js is the most dreaded framework.

Rundown of the Most Popular Programming Languages

1. Python

We’ll start our countdown strong with what many believe to be the most popular language. In fact, Python has won this title three times before, confirming its status as one of the most widely used programming languages worldwide.

An interesting fact about Python is that it was named after Monty Python. Dutch programmer and Python’s creator, Guido van Rossum, was reading the scripts from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” when the language was being implemented and decided that the name was short and unique.

Those of you who are starting in the programming industry now note that Python is a general-purpose language, which apart from its code readability, is among the core reasons behind its popularity.

It is also one of the most common programming languages for web and backend development, data science, software development, desktop app development, writing system scripts, etc. Website programming language statistics show that 30% of software developers and employers see Python as the most desired language to know at the moment.

It is also one of the most sought-after programming languages because it is fairly easy to learn due to its simple syntax, integration with other programming languages like C and C++, and its huge library of toolkits and standards. Python is also used to build sites like Pinterest or Instagram.

Being one of the most used programming languages, Python’s programming language market share sits at 0.68% with 52,618 websites using it.

According to the overall number of jobs on ZipRecruiter, Python ranks first with over 286,295 open positions, while the average annual salary is $111,889.

Python Statistics

2. JavaScript

According to GitHub language trends, JavaScript is still the most popular language for programming. GitHub programming language statistics further show that JavaScript’s popularity has increased since its modernization and overhaul in 2015 and 2016. That’s hardly the only reason programmers love it, though.One of its strongest points is that it is omnipresent on all platforms, supporting both server and client-side usage.

JavaScript is the most valuable programming language for website building and making them interactive. It is also one of the most popular, if not the most popular programming language for building web servers and developing server applications, creating web and mobile, and game development.

TIOBE, however, ranks it in seventh place, just like it did in 2020, with a rating of 2.55%. This might be due to one of JavaScript’s drawbacks – the fact that internet browsers disable it from running because it is used to code pop-up ads.

On the flip side, in terms of employment and business opportunities, JavaScript has a wealth of open job positions as one of the most in-demand programming languages. The programming language is featured in over 130,000 job listings, offering an average annual salary of $113,115.

JavaScript Statistics

3. Java

According to the TIOBE index, Java’s popularity has gone down by 2.37% since 2020, losing its first place to C and Python. It, however, remains the programming language that is most commonly linked to the development of client-server applications. According to Android programming language statistics, it is still the most popular language with Android app development companies.

Simply put, an app written in Java can run on all platforms that support Java. It is the first “write once, run anywhere” programming language. According to Datanyze, the Java market share is at 1.82% at the moment, with 141,379 current websites using it. Java is also known for being the most energy-efficient and fastest programming language.

Java is at the top of the list of the leading backend programming languages by market share and offers many business opportunities. A Java programmer makes an average annual salary of $118,139, according to ZipRecruiter.

Java Statistics

4. C#

C# was created in 2000 by Microsoft as a part of the .NET initiative, which places it firmly on the list of the most used programming languages. Although it started as an imitation of Java, it became one of the commonly used programming languages. It was designed as a part of the Common Language Initiative (CLI) platform, which runs on the Common Language Runtime (CLR).

While C# is a lot less flexible than C++, it is also more secure and faster than C. One of its virtues is that it’s fully integrated with Microsoft’s software framework. Essentially, the framework supports the development of apps for Windows, mobile devices, and browser plug-ins.

This helps it rank among the most commonly used programming languages for Microsoft and Windows application development. Thanks to CLR, C# is platform-independent and can run on Linux, mobile devices, and, of course, Windows. On the other hand, most iOS development companies list C# as their go-to programming language.

Finally, C# has nearly 65,000 job listings on ZipRecruiter, while the average annual salary for a C# programmer is $106,173.

C# Statistics

5. C

C is one of the first programming languages developed, and it makes a great foundation for learning how to program. It was the base for writing languages such as PHP, Ruby, and Python. C is the go-to choice for software development.

However, the list of most popular programming languages by GitHub places C as number 11. Its popularity has improved since 2019, but the programming language still has a long way to gain more traction. It is often criticized for its unsafe programming, lack of features, and its accidental complexity. Another thing to keep in mind is that its code is not portable, meaning it is platform-dependent.

C ranks 31st with its web programming languages market share of 0.05% since it’s an older programming language and not really suitable for mobile applications and websites. It is usually used to program hardware instead.

The average annual salary for a C programmer is $100,629.


6. C++

Having talked about C, it’s only fair we mentioned its successor. C++ is C’s extension and can be used for programming systems that run applications rather than applications themselves. It is the most used coding language for various actions, from mathematical simulations to computer games.

C++ has complex syntax, just like its precursor, C. It also has many features that may seem complicated to new programmers. On the other hand, it works great for multi-platform and multi-device systems. While it used to be one of the most popular programming languages on Google Trends, C++ saw a decline in its popularity in 2020. However, C++ ranks 14th in terms of market share, with 0.16%, notably more than C.

All in all, C++ is everywhere. It sits among the top coding languages used for developing operating systems, games, browsers – you name it. It also makes for a lucrative career with an average annual salary of $100,629.

C++ Statistics

7. Go

Go (also referred to as Golang) is a relatively new programming language. It is fairly similar to C in terms of syntax. However, it also features CSP-concurrency, garbage collection, structural typing, and memory safety. Considering that it was launched in 2009, it’s admirable that it became one of the most popular coding languages in such a short period. Still, seeing how Go works well for distributed systems located on different networks and considering its extensive documentation and large standards library, the programming language popularity shouldn’t come as a surprise.

One of its major downfalls is that it doesn’t include a library for graphical user interfaces which are the most common interaction between end-users and any device with a screen.

At 2.70%, the Go programming language market share is well above that of Java. All in all, Go has become one of the most popular programming languages and is commonly used for applications such as Netflix, Uber, and Twitch. The average annual salary for a Go programmer is $110,456.

Go Statistics

8. Dart

Dart, developed by Google, is a client-optimized language for apps on multiple platforms. It is considered a great first language because of its flexibility and the fact that it is pretty easy to learn. It is also used by Flutter, and it can be run on both Android and iOS.

Another thing that made Dart one of the top programming languages in a short time is that it embraces the open-source ecosystem. It also has rich tooling support. Most IDEs and Text Editors have great support for this language, meaning that you can use both simple editors like Sublime Text, VIM, Atom, or heavy IDEs such as Android Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, or Webstorm- all with remarkable support.

The Dart programming language market share is less than 0.01%, and it is in 36th place according to TIOBE, with a rating of 0.29%.

The average annual salary for a Dart programmer is $87,820.

Dart Statistics

9. Rust

Rust has been gaining traction as one of the most popular programming languages for web development in the last couple of years. But why do programmers like it so much? For starters, Rust is beginner-friendly, open-source, memory safe, and has a similar syntax to C and C++. It has become C++’s major competitor in the past couple of years for these reasons. It is also handy in web development and operating system contexts.

The Rust programming language market share still stands below 0.01%, ranking it 121st among other programming languages. Rust programmers’ average annual salary is $91,709.

Rust Statistics

10. Scala

Scala is a general-purpose language aimed at supporting both functional programming and object-oriented programming. Its JVM and JavaScript runtimes allow building high-performance systems. Its static types help avoid bugs in complex applications, which is why it ranks high when listing programming languages by popularity.

The Scala programming language market share is 0.09%, placing it in the 21st spot, but it is also the leader with the biggest functional programming languages market share.

The average annual salary for a Scala programmer is $139,292.

Scala Statistics

11. PHP

According to programming language usage statistics, PHP is used by 21.98% of software developers worldwide. As you may already know, this language is used for server-side web development. It has a large ecosystem of users who have produced libraries, automation tools, and frameworks to make PHP easier to use.

Its security vulnerabilities are a major flaw, though, which is why its popularity dropped a bit as soon as Python and JavaScript started gaining traction. Speaking of the most popular programming languages, StackOverflow developer research showed that 40.24% of developers said they still used and liked PHP.

With 3,472,686 domains, the PHP market share is 44.77%. On the other hand, the PHP percentage of the web does the popular programming language some justice. PHP’s version 7 is used by 67.8% of all sites that use PHP.

The average annual salary for PHP programmers is $91,735.

PHP Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions

How many programming languages does the average programmer know?

An average programmer is proficient in 3-5 programming languages. However, ideally, a programmer should know one language which is close to systems (C or C++, for example), one object-oriented language (Java, Python or C++), one functional programming language (Scala or Haskell), and one powerful scripting language like (Python or Ruby, JavaScript).

How many programming languages are there?

As of 2021, the number of programming languages is about 700, but if we count the most notable ones, the number drops to 245.

Is C++ still popular?

C++ is still one of the most important programming languages among developers and employers. It’s ranked sixth in the TIOBE index.

Are programming languages only in English?

While most popular programming languages are written in English and use English keywords, some languages are written in other languages. For example, LSE (Langage Symbolique d’Enseignement) is based on French keywords. However, non-English programming languages generally don’t do well with developers and eventually die out for this reason.

Is Python better than Java?

Python is a dynamically typed and interpreted language. On the other hand, Java is a statically typed and compiled language. Because of this, Java beats Python in programming language speed ranking, but Python is easier to read and use. Each has their pros and cons, so it all depends on software developers and their preferences.

Which programming language is most in demand?

According to Indeed’s list of the top 10 most popular programming languages, Python is still in most demand by employers.

Which programming languages pay the most?

As previously mentioned, Python is the most in-demand programming language, making it also the highest paying. The average Python programmer makes $111,889 annually.

Which developer type pays the most in the US?

The Stack Overflow programming language statistics show that US engineering managers make the most of all developers, with an average annual salary of $152k.

Which language has the biggest market share?

PHP is one of the most popular programming languages by market share, with over 3.4 million domains and a market share of almost 45%.


No matter how many similarities programming languages share, each has a niche where it would do best. While web developers make the most out of Python or Rust, app development companies do best with Java. Be that as it may, the 11 most popular programming languages we talked about today are the market leaders, and we can only expect their popularity to keep growing in the years to come.

Sources: SkillCrush, VentureBeat, NorthEastern, TIOBE, Datanyze, Medium , Insights, Scala, Statista, Statistics Times, Stack Overflow Insights, JetBrains, ZipRecruiter, ZipRecruiter, W3Techs, DZone, Career Karma, Y Studios, SnapLogic, Indeed, Level Up