Programming languages: JavaScript most used, Python most studied, Go most promising

Coder survey reveals developers' favourite and up-and-coming languages.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

JavaScript remains the most used programming language among developers, but Python is the most studied – and Go the one that most coders want to switch to.

According to a survey of developers by software company JetBrains, JavaScript was used by 69% in the past 12 months, with another 5% intending to adopt it.

HTML/CSS came a close second with 61% saying they had used it in the past 12 months, followed by SQL at 56% and Java at 50%. Although Python was only fifth on the list, used by just under half of developers (49%), it shows significant potential growth: 9% of respondents said they intended to adopt it or migrate to it.

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

Python was also ranked as the most studied language: 27% of respondents have started or continued to learn Python in the past 12 months. Data analysis, web development, and machine learning were listed as its top three uses by developers.

But according to JetBrains, Go is considered the most promising programming language. Currently used by just 18% of developers (up from 8% in last year's survey), almost as many again – 13% – identified it as a language they would like to adopt or migrate to.

In the survey, 40% of coders said that JavaScript was their primary programming language, followed by Java and Python. But Java was ranked the leading 'solo' language: 44% of its users said they use only Java or use Java first, compared to second-placed JavaScript, the sole choice of 17%.

JetBrains noted that there is a group of 'secondary' languages – used mainly as an additional language – which include HTML, SQL, and Shell scripting: "A lot of software developers have some practice with these secondary languages, but very few work with them as their major language." JetBrains surveyed 6,993 developers: 69% were employed full time, 15% were students and 12% were self employed or freelance.

MUST READ: Learn Python: Online training courses for beginning developers and coding experts (TechRepublic)

Editorial standards