For both enterprise IT managers and job seekers, a programming language's popularity matters a great deal.
IT managers often want their teams to use popular programming languages because those languages are more likely to be supported by a variety of platforms and to be around for a long time. In addition, more help is available on the web for popular languages, and it is easier to find developers who know those languages.
Inversely, job seekers want to learn popular languages because it makes it easier to find and keep a job, and right now, it’s even easier to find training resources. Skills in a popular language are less likely to go out of date.
With all those benefits in mind, several organizations publish lists of the most popular programming languages. However, the criteria they use to evaluate popularity vary widely and can result in very big differences among the lists. For example, one of the most well-known lists is curated by software quality tool vendor Tiobe. Tiobe bases its index on web searches on "the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses, and third-party vendors."
The competing PyPL index bases its rankings on how often people search Google for tutorials on the various languages. GitHub publishes lists based on code used in its repositories. Stack Overflow surveys developers about which languages they like best. And several job boards put out lists based on the number of job openings that include mentions of various languages.
For its list, InformationWeek culled through those published by Tiobe, TyPL, GitHub, StackOverflow, Redmonk, Indeed, and Coding Dojo. Programming languages received a score based on their position in each list, and the following slideshow highlights the 10 languages with the best overall scores. In addition to the 10 in the show, the following five deserve an honorable mention:
15. ScalaCynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio