Programming languages: Developers reveal most loved, most loathed, what pays best

Here are the most-loved programming languages and what developers can expect to earn by knowing them.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Developer knowledge-sharing site Stack Overflow has released its 2019 annual developer survey, revealing the most popular programming languages and which languages are linked to the highest salaries worldwide and in the US.   

If you're a programmer who loves Rust, Python, and TypeScript, you're not alone, according Stack Overflow's 2019 survey, which asked 90,000 developers around the world what their most loved, dreaded, and wanted languages were. 

The top 10 favored languages included Rust, Python, Microsoft's TypeScript, Kotlin, WebAssembly, Swift, Clojure, Elixir, Go, and C#. 

The common thread between the most loved programming languages is that they were all created in the past 10 years or so, with the exception of Microsoft's C#, which appeared nearly two decades ago, and 29-year-old Python.

It also seems developers have a distaste for older languages, with the top 10 most-dreaded all first appearing over 20 years ago. 

The most widely dreaded language is Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), followed by Objective-C, C, PHP, Erlang, Ruby, R, C++, and Java. 

Python, which is shaping up as one of the most popular languages, is also the "most wanted" language for the third year running, according to Stack Overflow's results. 

Other languages that developers would like to learn but don't yet use include JavaScript, Go, TypeScript, Kotlin, Rust, C++, WebAssembly, and Java. 

The survey also offers a profile of the languages associated with the highest levels of pay. At a global level, Clojure is linked to the highest salaries, averaging $90,000. Other languages associated with salaries above $70,000 include F# , Go, Scala, Elixr, Ruby, WebAssemnbly, Rust, and Erlang. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

Reported top salaries in the US are way higher than median global salaries for all languages included in the survey. HTML/CSS and C# are linked to the lowest salaries in the US, which bottom out at $105,000. 

Languages associated with the highest salaries in the US of between $120,000 and $143,000 include in descending order Scala, Clojure, Go, Erlang, Objective-C, WebAssembly, Kotlin, Rust, F#, Elixir, Ruby, C, C++, and Swift. 

Languages associated with salaries in the US between $108,000 and $118,000 include in descending order Bash/Shell/PowerShell, Java, Python, Asssembly, TypeScript, Dart, JavaScript, SQL, and R.        

For web developers, Microsoft's Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio are the most popular development environments. Just over half of mobile developers report using Google's Android Studio, and the same proportion report using Visual Studio Code. A third report using Apple's Xcode.   

It seems developers almost exclusively expect male tech execs to shape the tech world this year. 

Offering a blank field, Stack Overflow asked who will be the most influential person in 2019. Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk tops this list, with 30 percent rating him as the most influential, while just seven percent name Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and four percent picking Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. 

The only woman to make the list is AMD CEO Lisa Su, who was nominated by 0.2 percent of respondents. Meanwhile, 2.2 percent think Donald Trump, who ranks fifth, will be the most influential person in tech. 

As with Stack Overflow's previous surveys, it reports that globally 90 percent of respondents identify as men. In the US, 11 percent of respondents identify themselves as women. 


Stack Overflow asked what languages are associated with the highest salaries worldwide, left, and in the US, right.

Image: Stack Overflow

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