Programming Languages Ranking: Top 10 for 2020

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14 Jan 2020
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10 min
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Maria D.
Copywriter
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Kostya G.
Streaming Media Engineer

TIOBE index counts 265+ programming languages – quite a few to choose from for your product’s development.

But programmers tend to use only a dozen of languages, and their coding tops change from year to year.

That’s why in 2020 we have a brand-new list of trending programming languages.

We’ve analyzed Github’s PYPL and TIOBE rankings to make our list of 10 most-in-demand programming languages for 2020. And tried to predict 2020 programming trends.

Let’s check the results.

Programming Languages Ranking

PYPL and TIOBE indexes share the same working principle – ‘the more times the language is mentioned, the more popular it is assumed to be’.

Their approaches are a bit different, though.

TIOBE measures the sheer quantity of 25 search engine hits – including popular Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and Baidu.

PYPL – how often language tutorials are googled by exploring Google Trends.

No wonder TIOBE results differ from PYPL’s.

We’re going to check the hottest programming languages for 2020 shown by both indexes. And pick the most accurate one.

TIOBE Popularity Index

According to TIOBE, Java is this and last years’ winner – with just -0.01% change in rating.

While Java seems to hold its position tight, C is swiftly running up with a yearly increase of 2.4%, along with C# (+2.07%), and Python (+1.41%).

TIOBE programming languages

Programming language popularity, 2020 by TIOBE

Again, the TIOBE index isn't about the best programming language. Or the language with more code lines written.

It's for developers to check if their skills are still up to date or choose a programming language for building new software.

PYPL Ranking

PYPL gives the 1st position to Python, followed by Java and Javascript. Swift gets the 9th place, Kotlin – the closing 10th.

Languages as SQL and Visual Basic .Net didn’t even make it to PYPL’s 10 top coding languages for 2020 (Visual Basic's on the 17th place, SQL not included in the top 28).

The most progressing languages are Python (+4.3%), Kotlin (+0.5 %), and Javascript (+0.1%). The less – Java (-1.9%) and Objective-C (-0.6%).

PYPL programming top

Most popular coding languages, 2020 by PYPL

As I've said, the PYPL index is based on raw data coming from Google Trends.

They use 'tutorial' as Google Trends keyword: just the name, like Swift, may lead to inconsistent results. Plus, ‘tutorial’ is a word often used by developers learning a new language.

Top Programming Languages for 2020

As our list is about the most used programming languages for 2020, we used PYPL as the basis.

We did not include frameworks like Angular or TypeScript, only the programming languages.

And it’s time to start listing them.

#10. Kotlin

Kotlin's popularity can be explained by the rising number of Android users (last year, 124.4m in the USA) and, thus, Android-based devices.

80% of Kotlin programmers use the language to build Android apps, 31% for back-end applications, 30% for SDK/libraries.

Kotlin is also interoperable with Java, which allows developers to use all existing Android libraries in a Kotlin app.

Kotlin highlights:

  • Java interoperability
  • works for front- and back-end development
  • supports efficient incremental compilation

Popular applications: Slack, Netflix, Evernote, Basecamp

Cleveroad developers make use of Kotlin too. Here are some of Android apps we built with Kotlin:

Blockbuster app built with Kotlin

Blockbuster Android app built with Kotlin

#9. Swift

Sure, we couldn’t skip Swift in our programming trends of 2020 – it is the most trending language for building iOS apps. Why so?

First, as the name implies, Swift tends to be swift. apple.com claimed Swift to be 2.6x faster than Objective-C and 8.4x faster than Python.

!

Swift vs Objective-C: which is better? Check the full comparison in our extensive guide.

Second, Swift is an open-source language with simple syntax – its code is not just easier to write, but easier to read and maintain as well. Even for developers that used to work with other programming languages.

Swift highlights:

  • open-source programming language
  • stable version of ABI across Apple’s platforms
  • interoperable with Objective-C
  • simple syntax

Applications: Hubspot, Lyft, Pandora, OpenTable, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Yahoo Weather, Khan Academy

As Cleveroad provides mobile development services, we often deal with building iOS apps. Here are some of the apps we used Swift for:

RetailOps built with Swift

RetailOps iOS version built with Swift

#8. Objective-C

Objective-C was the first and only iOS development language since 1983 up to 2014 when Apple introduced Swift.

And now, Objective-C is being replaced by its swift successor. macOS and today’s iOS programming learning resources are mostly focused on Swift.

But Objective-C remains popular even in 2020. Partly because many iOS apps were written in this language, and developers need to continue maintaining them.

?

Looking for iOS developers? Check our ultimate hiring guide – for costs, tips, and options.

Objective-C highlights:

  • built on top of C
  • uses static libraries
  • uses the runtime code compilation
  • supported by Apple for iOS, macOS, iPadOS

Applications: Apple services – Apple Music, iTunes

#7. R

R, along with Python, is one of the best programming languages in 2020 for data analysts and data scientists. It’s a language to do statistics.

R works for adhoc analysis and exploring datasets, for statistics-heavy projects, and one-time dives into a dataset.

R language is used for to run R programs and get results (graphics or text) within Mediawiki, the software behind Wikipedia.

R programming highlights:

  • acts as an interactive statistical environment
  • used for statistical inference, data analysis, ML algorithms
  • runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Application areas: banking analysts (scoring, prediction, clustering), healthcare data analysis, government, and consulting.

#6. C/C++

PYPL points out that C++ has the same popularity as C on Google trends. That’s why it is not included in the PYPL index.

C programming language was developed back in 1973, and it remains one of the most common programming languages in 2020.

Just to give you an idea, here’s some the systems programmed in the C language:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Linux
  • Mac
  • iOS, Android, Windows Phone kernels

Oracle Database, MySQL, MS SQL Server are also coded in C and C++, PostgreSQL – in C.

C++ is very close to the C language. It takes the concept of object-orientated programming and combines it with syntax and power of C.

So C and C++ are quite similar:

  • they have the same basic syntax
  • basic memory model close to the hardware
  • separate compilation, but the same mechanism for exporting interfaces

Application: Adobe products, Mozilla browser, and Microsoft software are written in C++.

#5. PHP

PHP is mostly used for web development services. It powers all kinds of websites and web applications as a server-side scripting language.

So PHP code is usually (and most appropriately) used for creating dynamic web pages.

PHP highlights:

  • open-source server-side scripting language
  • short learning curve
  • cross-platform
  • in-built support for working with MySQL
Projects developed with PHP

Applications built with PHP

#4. C#

Another variation of C languages with some Java features in it.

C# a multifunctional language that allows devs to create almost anything – from server apps to mobile games.

C# highlights:

  • deeply integrated with Windows
  • has dynamic variables
  • supports native resource-management idioms
  • enumeration support

C# is commonly used with Microsoft's .NET framework to develop desktop Windows apps.

#3. JavaScript

Javascript is a constant trend for several years, no wonder it got to the top programming languages for 2020.

After all, JavaScript is the basis of front-end development.

JavaScript is commonly used to enrich web pages and make them interactive. Using JS devs can add pop-ups, effects, and even small games to web apps.

Besides, with the release of the ECMAScript 6 and frameworks like Angular, Node, Express, and React, devs started to use JavaScript for both client- and server-side programming.

JavaScript highlights:

  • access to several frameworks
  • data validation functionality
  • compatible with several programming languages

Applications: Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, Wikipedia

We used Javascript to build Ayoo Dance, oMap, and AYIO social business platform.

Web version of oMap application

Web version of oMap application

#2. Java

Another popular programmer's choice for many years running.

The world’s biggest brands use Java to build web apps and backend web systems – Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay.

And that’s not all.

Java is also the official language for building Android apps. It has the biggest support from Google, and most apps on the Google Play store are written in Java.

Java highlights:

  • portable across operating systems
  • stable environment
  • high-quality code compilation
  • high stability

Java's current popularity helps to ensure its future reputation. Today, 1,625,874 questions about Java are placed on StackOverflow and 94,183 public repositories on GitHub.

Our developers used Java to build TrainAway app, School App, and Matchplayer for Android.

TrainAway app written in Java

TrainAway app developed by Cleveroad

#1. Python

The number one in PYPL’s list and one of the best backend language for 2020.

Python evolved from the language to write automation scripts or swiftly prototype apps to the first-class language for web and mobile development.

No surprise: Python is a language with consistent syntax, a uniform standard library, best documentation, lightweight frameworks, including super-popular Django.

Python highlights:

  • open-source, object-oriented language
  • cross-platform solutions
  • asynchronous coding design
  • used for AI and ML, desktop and web apps
  • access to several modules
Apps that use Python

Applications built with Python

Future Programming Trends

Okay, we now know what the top 10 programming languages for 2020 are going to be. But what should we watch out for in the future?

Here are 5 future programming trends, according to Github’s ‘ The State of the Octoverse’ report.

Programming trends in 2020

Programming trends in 2020

Today’s trend is statically typed languages focused on type safety and interoperability – like Rust and Kotlin.

And with Flutter being in GitHub's trending repositories (17,192 commits), no wonder Dart gains this many contributors.

?

Why everyone’s crazy about Flutter? We're explaining its pros, cons, and reasons to use in ' Flutter Framework As An Efficient Tool' guide.

Finally, the number of HCL (human-readable language for DevOps) contributions is growing too, up to 213%.

What Programming Language Suits Your Project

Let’s face it: sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all these current and future programming trends.

But it’s the choice of the right tech stack that stands for your product’s maintainability and scalability. That’s why you should know what tool you’re picking and why.

At Cleveroad, we have a skilled team of business analysis that deal with technology stack selection for our clients’ projects.

BA team studies the projects’ requirements, its complexity, and then picks the best-fitting tools for software development.

Need help with choosing a language?
Tell us your project details, and our BA team will help you pick the best-fitting tech stack.

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Johnson Sieu
14.05.2020 at 03:43
I find this article very helpful.
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