Programming languages: Python is the developers' favourite, with Java and JavaScript it's a love-hate thing

Developers can't decide if they want to run towards – or away from – two of the most widely used coding options.

Python remains a firm favourite programming language among developers, but when it comes to the popularity -- or otherwise -- of Java and JavaScript, the answer depends on which coders you ask.

French coding skills development company CodinGame surveyed 20,000 developers about their favourite languages and other details of their careers.

According to the survey, JavaScript, Java, Python, C++ and C are the best-known programming languages, while Clojure, F# and OCaml propped up the list.

SEE: Six in-demand programming languages: Getting started (free PDF)

'Most-loved' was different to best-known, but did see most of the same top five languages reappear, although in a different order. Python was rated the developers' most-loved language, followed by JavaScript, Java, C# and C++.

"Special mention for Python, in top position for the third year in a row. The language has truly captured developers' hearts," said the report.

In terms of 'most-dreaded' programming languages, PHP was listed by a quarter of respondents (although it did also appear at number seven on the most-loved list). And PHP was followed by Java and JavaScript, which were second and third on the most-loved list.

"These two programming languages seem to divide developers," the report noted. VB.NET and C rounded out the five most-dreaded languages.

The survey also found that while 40% learned to code at university, 34% said they were self-taught and 15% said they learned at school, while 5% said they learned at a bootcamp or other short-term training course. Only two percent said they learned to code via an online training course.

Developers said they were most interested in learning about machine learning and AI this year, followed by game development and web development.

Developers working in the UK rated themselves as the happiest, followed by Canada and the US; devs working in Russia and Poland rated themselves as the least happy in the top ten.

SEE: Programming language popularity: Apple's Objective-C tumbles down the rankings

"Unsurprisingly, the top three countries offer working conditions that are often very favourable for developers, especially in terms of salary range," said CodinGame co-founder Aude Barral. "France, standing at the 6th position, is a bit lagging behind. It could be explained by the fact that some countries have been moderately responsive to the extreme tension of the tech recruitment market, and do not yet consider developers as 'rock stars', unlike in the US or in the UK.

"Generally speaking, it is crucial for countries to consider that developers are essential to the economic development and innovation of their companies," she said.


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