The 14 most popular programming languages, according to a study of 100,000 developers

It’s a good time to learn how to code.

The job market is growing and demand for software engineers is increasing, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. But before you can land a programming job, you need to learn at least one major programming language.

Fortunately, Stack Overflow – the go-to question-and-answer site for programmers all over the world – tracks the most popular languages in its annual developer survey. For the 2018 report, Stack Overflow got answers from over 100,000 developers, making it a great peek into the technologies that programmers are taking to work.

Here’s what’s on the list:

#1: Javascript: Despite having similar names, Javascript isn’t actually related to Java.¬†It allows developers to build interactive elements on websites, making it one of the most ubiquitous languages on the web, and the most popular in the world.

#2: HTML: Although it technically isn’t a programming language — it’s a “markup language” — HTML is the basis for the structure of every single website.


#3: Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is the programming language that’s widely used to design websites and browser-based apps.

Wikimedia Commons

#4: SQL, pronounced “sequel,” stands for Structured Query Language. It lets you deal with large amounts of data by accessing and managing databases. Most of the time, it’s used in conjunction another language, like PHP.

Kimberly White/Getty Images

#5: Java: Java was originally invented by Sun Microsystems in 1991 as a programming language for interactive television systems. Since purchasing Sun, Oracle has turned Java into a powerhouse. The programming language is the most common way to build Android apps.

#6: Bash/Shell: Shell isn’t exactly a programming language. Instead, a shell script instructs an operating system to automatically run a pre-designed list of commands. For instance, a shell script might have an operating system convert every “.bmp” file to a “.jpg” whenever it’s run.


#7: Python: Python dates back to 1989 and is loved by its fans for its highly readable code. Many programmers believe it’s the easiest language to get started with.

Herme Herisyam/Malaysia’s Civil Defence ForceMembers of Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force hold a python believed to be 26 feet long and found on Penang island.

#8: C#: This language, pronounced “C-Sharp,” was developed by Microsoft. It’s a rival to the even more popular Java and largely used by business software developers.

Wikimedia CommonsA sharp note.

#9: PHP is used for websites and apps that are heavy on data. It even powers WordPress and Facebook. But many programmers hate PHP with a passion. “PHP isn’t so much a language as a random collection of arbitrary stuff, a virtual explosion at the keyword and function factory,” Stack Overflow founder Jeff Atwood¬†once wrote.

#10: C++ is an offshoot of the C programming language. It was originally created in 1983, and can be found in everything from desktop web apps to server infrastructure.

Wikimedia CommonsBjarne Stroustrup, inventor of C++

#11: C, one of the oldest programming languages still in common use, was created in the early 1970s. In 1978, the language’s legendary and still widely read manual, “The C Programming Language,” was published for the first time.


#12: Typescript is relatively young by programming language standards, created by Microsoft in 2012. It’s closely related to the mega-popular JavaScript and designed to run big applications.

#13: Ruby has won lots of acclaim for being easy to read and write. Also popular is Rails, an add-on framework for Ruby that makes it simple to build web apps. The language’s official motto is “A programmer’s best friend.”

Sergio Caltagirone via Wikimedia CommonsThe slippers on display at the Smithsonian.

#14: Swift was released by Apple 2014, touted as a better and easier way to build software. Swift has become trendy; Lyft, among others, used it to make its iPhone app.

Getty Images/Mike CoppolaTaylor Swift rocks an iPhone circa 2012.

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