Programming languages: Developers reveal what they love and loathe, and what pays best

Behind Rust, Microsoft's TypeScript extension of JavaScript has overtaken Python in the most-loved language stakes.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Coding question-and-answer site Stack Overflow has released the results of its 2020 survey of nearly 65,000 developers, revealing their favorite and most dreaded programming languages, tools and frameworks. 

The survey shows that TypeScript, Microsoft's superset of the widely used JavaScript programming language, has overtaken Python as the second most beloved programming language behind Rust. 

This year 86% of respondents say they are keen to use Rust, while 67.1% want to use TypeScript, and 66.7% want to use Python. 

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Stack Overflow attributes TypeScript's rising popularity to Microsoft's embrace of open-source software as well as the existence of larger and more complex JavaScript and Node.js codebases.    

Rust has been the most loved programming language for five years running, despite few developers having experience with it. This year, just 5.1% developers report having used Rust, compared with the 68% who use JavaScript, which is the most commonly used language. 

Microsoft is exploring Rust for systems programming and using the language's memory safety features to reduce memory-related bugs in software written in C++, which is widely used at Microsoft. The creator of Node.js also opted for Rust to build Deno, a new runtime for running JavaScript outside the browser.    

Other top commonly used languages following JavaScript include HTML/CSS, SQL, Python, Java, Bash/Shell/PowerShell, C#, PHP, TypeScript, C++, C, and Go on 8.8%.  

The top 10 most loved programming languages this year are Rust, TypeScript, Python, Kotlin, Go, Julia, Dart, C#, Swift, JavaScript and SQL.   

Meanwhile, the top 10 most dreaded programming languages are VBA, Objective-C, Perl, Assembly, C, PHP, Ruby, C++, Java and R. 

The report also looks at average salaries of each developer role. In the US, engineering managers attract the highest salary at  $152,000 per year, followed by site reliability engineers who earn $140,000 per year. 

Salaries across the globe for these roles are lower, at $92,000 for an engineering manager and $80,000 for a site reliability engineer. 

Other high-paying roles with an average salary of at least $115,000 in the US include data scientist and machine-learning specialist, DevOps specialist, engineer, back-end developer, embedded application developers, mobile developers, scientist, desktop application developer, and educator.

Scala is the programming language associated with the highest pay in the US, with an average salary of $150,000. Other languages associated with a salary of at least $120,000 include Go, Objective-C, Kotlin, Perl, Ruby, Rust, C, Swift, Haskell, Assembly, Bash/Shell/PowerShell, C++, Java, Python, and TypeScript.  

Developers report that the most important factors when choosing one job over another are the languages, frameworks and technologies they would be using at work. Other important factors include company culture, a flexible schedule, professional development, and remote-work options. 

SEE: Developers say Google's Go is 'most sought after' programming language of 2020

The two most commonly used platforms for development work remain Linux and Windows. Over half of all respondents have used Linux or Windows. Behind two OSes come Docker, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Android, macOS, Raspberry Pi, and Microsoft Azure.

Looking at other technologies developers use, the top one for the second year in row is Node.js, which is used by 51% of developers. Microsoft's .NET is in second place at 35%, followed by Microsoft's .NET Core at 27%. 

Pandas, a Python data-analysis library, is used by 15% of respondents, while TensorFlow is used by 11.5% of respondents. 

The top database is one again MySQL, followed by PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server.      


Rust again takes the top spot as the most loved programming language, but this year TypeScript moves past Python into second place.

Image: Stack Overflow

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