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The Most Popular Programming Languages of 2018

Staying up to date with the latest trends in programming languages is crucial for anyone involved in the constantly changing face of technology.

Top quality candidates capable of using the most popular languages are likely to have more job opportunities available to them. If you’re looking for a new job it may be worth checking if your programming skills are up to date and consider learning a new popular language to increase your chances of gaining employment.

The companies we work alongside should also keep a close eye on what languages are hot and cold to provide a firm ground for basing strategic decisions. It’s important to ensure new software systems are being created using the best technology stack to future proof your company.

For our recruitment team at Listo Brands it’s important for us to keep up to date with the latest trends in programming languages to identify where to focus our efforts to be in the best possible situation to provide advice to our clients on issues such as programmer salaries, what languages are hot or cold in 2018 and continue to match the best employees to amazing companies.

In this post I’ll be sharing some of the methods we use to determine which languages are going to be in demand this year and which are sadly dying out.

The Importance of Being Earnest (TIOBE)

The Importance of Being Earnest (TIOBE) rating index is widely respected as one of the top indicators of the popularity of programming languages among developers worldwide.

It’s rankings are updated monthly and decided by the quantity of searches for phrases containing programming language names on the 25 highest Alexa ranking search engines.

It’s based on the assumption that the higher the number of searches for a particular language positively correlates with more people trying to learn that language, therefore makes the language more popular.

TIOBE Index April 2018
The April 2018 TIOBE Index (Source: Tiobe.com)

The latest TIOBE rankings reveal the object-oriented programming language Java is still the most popular programming language. This is no surprise given its portable nature allows it to be used on billions of devices across the world along with the fact that its easy to learn, write, compile and debug than many other languages.

Java is followed by C, a powerful language that can be used on a range of different applications, and C++, which is often used to create software, games and apps. The position of C and C++ in the TIOBE popularity rankings has remained the same as last year, however it is worth noting that they have both gained significantly more popularity since last year.

The gains in the popularity of Python over the last year could be down to its suitability to beginner programmers looking to start a career in software development. Python is simple to both read and write, often being cited as the easiest language to learn.

It’s worth noting the decline in popularity of both Perl and Objective-C over the last year. The demise of Objective-C is almost certainly linked to Apple abandoning this language a couple of years ago, replacing it by Swift. Whilst the decline of the once dominating scripting language Perl is less obvious, but is likely related to delays in new releases and a lack of clearly defined future direction leading developers to look for alternative languages.

Additional Ranking Systems

Whilst TIOBE is a highly regarded programming language ranking system, we also use a number of other sources to stay up to date. One of our favourites is the Stack Overflow annual developer survey which gets opinions from 100,000 developers on their network.