TOP 20: Programming Languages Research-2016

16 Feb 2016
10 min
author avatar
Alyona Z.

Developers around the world constantly argue about which programming language is better or the best. And perhaps you won't be surprised if we say that in this interminable controversy there are no right or wrong ones. Each of languages is differently good and is used to complete certain tasks.

The choice of language in each case will depend on the task. And, in part, the developer's preferences.

During 2015 certain trends in the popularity of programming languages were formed. IT newcomers often wonder which language is better to learn to become an in-demand programmer. And, in turn, customers are in search of the most suitable language for their projects.

We have prepared the research on this topic. Having read, you will be able to graphically see what programming language was the most popular in the past year. And also, understand which is better for you.

The article is useful for people who start their way in programming. And also, for those who want to improve their skill and also to decide in which direction to move. And indeed, it is helpful in making a lot of different strategic decisions.

To begin with, let's consider the global trend of programming languages popularity.

TIOBE Rating

TIOBE company published its rating of programming languages popularity in 2015. Rating is based on the search queries of different resources. Among them are:

  • Google; 
  • Google Blogs; 
  • Amazon; 
  • Wikipedia; 
  • Yahoo; 
  • Bing; 
  • YouTube; 
  • Baidu.

Let's see it in more detail.


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In the top ten, there are no radical changes in comparison with 2014. The most changed positions are in the second ten.

Well, the most popular language for a long time is Java. The growth of its popularity began at the end of 2014 and is still ongoing. At the end of 2014, Java was in the second position. Since then, it is steadily ahead of C language on the first line, gaining 21.145% in the ranking. It is 5.8% greater than in the previous year.

It is followed by the  C language, that lost its first position and 0,89% of rating. Now this figure is 15.594%.

On the third line, the C++ language is placed. Its position has remained unchanged. In 2014, it occupied the third place in the similar rating also. Nevertheless, there was a small addition to the ranking: + 0.29%.

The C# language takes the fourth position in the ranking. Last year it was on the fifth place.

In 2015, the Python language gained popularity by search queries on the Internet. It rose from the eighth position straight to the fifth one. Thereby leaving its closest competitors behind.

The next line is for the PHP language. It's the sixth place in the ranking. It also gained popularity. But it's ranking grew only on one point in comparison with 2015.

On the seventh line attached Visual Basic .NET. It increased in the ranking on 0.43%. It allows it to grow up from the ninth position to seventh.

A significant increase is observed in the rating of the Perl programming language. Adding 0.86%, it changed its position from the twelfth line to the eighth.

JavaScript decreased from the sixth to ninth place. Now it has 2.2201% rating left. This is 1.81% less than in 2014.

Delphi / Object Pascal closed the list of ten leaders. In 2014, it held the eleventh place. Having 2.163% (0.59% increase), in 2015 it appears in the top 10 list.

Following the first ten languages there are next ten respectively:

  1. Ruby
    12.Visual Basic 
    13. Assembly Language 
    14. Objective-C 
    15. D 
    16. Swift 
    17. R 
    18. MATLAB 
    19. PL/SQL 
    20. Groovy

PYPL Rating

PYPL index

There is also another ranking - PYPL. It is also based on the search query data. But not just on language searches, but on the language tutorials. Thus, it reflects the number of people who learn or plan to learn a language. Let's consider it in more detail.

According to the latest data (February 2016), the first place in the popularity of the languages ranking also takes Java. Moreover, its position remains to be unchanged compared with February 2015. Currently, it holds 24.2% of the market. This is 0.3% more than a year ago.

The second line takes Python. It was on the third line in the previous year. During the year, it gets 11.2% and now its share is 11.9%. At the same time, we see that the gap between the first and second position is large enough.

PHP is located on the third line. A year ago, it was ranked as second. During the year, it lost 0.8% of the market.


You should see how we create software at Cleveroad. Read How we create software

Positions of next languages remained unchanged. They are C++, C#, C, JavaScript, Objective-C. They take from the fourth to the eighth line, respectively.

Swift is located on the ninth line, rising from eleventh, and sending there the MATLAB language.

R programming language closes the rating PYPL of languages popularity. Its position in the ranking is the same compared with February 2015.

Rating PYPL contains several more languages. Among them are Ruby, Visual Basic, VBA, Perl, Scala, and Lua (from 12th to 17th place, respectively).

IDE index

The most popular IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) are also considered in this ranking. Three leaders are the same as in the previous year. They are Eclipse, Visual Studio, and Vim.

The fourth and fifth positions switched their points. Now, the fourth line is for Xcode, and the fifth one is for NetBeans.

Top IDE index

More information about the IDE rating can be found by following the link.

DB index

Also, on this source, you can find the popular databases ranking in comparison with the same period of the previous year. The first seven positions are still for the same databases as in 2014. But there are significant changes in the next part of the list.

DB Index

Detail link.

Cleveroad Top list

We have composed our own rating for 2015. It is based on Google Trends data for that year. Geographically, our rating covers the whole world. We compared the data in January 2016 with the same period of the last year.

Rating is made as follows. The maximum of the number of search results on the Internet was taken as 100. Other indices were made relatively to the maximum one.

So, here's another version of the most programming languages ranking.

The first place among the popular languages has traditionally occupied by the Java language. Moreover, with a wide gap from a "silver medalist" which is the PHP language. C language closes the pedestal of the most popular programming languages.


How to make a successful project? See also Successful project delivery and how to control it

In this ranking, we also can observe the drop in popularity of Objective-C in favor of the new Swift language. Also, we can see the Ruby language in the top list, which is continuously growing in popularity.

Languages chart popularity

About programming languages

If you are choosing what language to study or with which one to carry out your project, we offer you to find out some facts about what these languages are used for. Also, with the use of which languages the most popular sites are created.

All programming languages

Java is the main language for developing native applications for Android. Also, using this language, you can create scalable web applications. These applications can run on different devices. Using Java the back-end of such popular sites:

  •  Google; 
  • YouTube; 
  • Facebook; 
  • Amazon; 
  • Twitter; 
  • eBay; 
  • LinkedIn.

PHP is used for dynamic websites creating. With the use of it, the majority of sites is created. Its syntax is similar to the syntax of the C language. PHP is used for developing:

  • Facebook; 
  • Yahoo; 
  • Wikipedia; 
  • WordPress.

C is one of the oldest languages. But it is still popular in the modern development industry due to the simple syntax. And also due to the fact that it can be used in the process of almost any development. It is the basis of the popular programming languages such as Java, C#. C language was used to create:

  • Google; 
  • YouTube.

Objective-C is the language that is used for development by Apple. It is one of the languages with the use of which the software for MacOS and iOS is created.

JavaScript is used for writing the majority of sites. The most widely used to make iterative web pages. This language is used to create a front-end almost all the popular sites. Also involved was to create a back-end:

  • Yahoo; 
  • eBay; 
  • LinkedIn; 
  • WordPress.

C# is the primary language for the development on Microsoft services and platforms. Its syntax is similar to C++ and Java. And it is used for development on the Microsoft .NET Framework.

Python is ideal for handling large amounts of data. It is focused on improving developer productivity due to the simplicity of syntax and a large set of useful features. It is used in the back-end creation of:

  •  Google; 
  • Facebook; 
  • YouTube.

R is also used to analyze large amounts of data. Also, it is used as the statistical software.

C++ is ideal for the development of applications that require a lot of memory to work correctly. It is widely used in a variety of spheres. From the creation of operating systems and servers to entertainment applications and games developing. It's used in:

  • Google; 
  • Amazon; 
  • Facebook; 
  • YouTube; 
  • Twitter.

The Swift language was created not long ago. It is aimed to develop applications for MacOS and iOS. This language is rapidly growing in popularity in comparison with Objective-C, which is used on the same platforms.

Ruby was created for the fastest work with web applications. Its framework is Ruby on Rails. With this language, a lot of popular applications are developed. The language is not difficult to learn, but the possibilities can be quite powerful.

Salaries of programmers depending on languages

According to the Quartz data, the most paid language is Ruby. Also, in the top-paid languages we see Objective-C, Python, Java, C++ and others. All of these languages are in the top of the most popular languages in 2015.

Level of programmers salaries

Whether it worth to pay attention to such promising facts it's for you to decide. But we recommend you to pay attention to your own preferences. As well as the requirements of your projects.


How do we estimate a project at Cleveroad? Read How to estimate a project

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that it is very difficult to be an in-demand programmer if you know only one programming language.

Prospects for 2016

Now let's look at the prospects for the current year. By reference to the trends of 2015 year, it can be assumed that:

  • in 2016 the growth Java popularity will be continued; 
  • PHP will become more popular due to the release of the new version of this language; 
  • Objective-C will continue to lose positions due to increasing of the Swift language popularity; 
  • JavaScript will stay popular due to the growth of web-based platforms as the key to interact with the vast majority of these data categories; 
  • the C language will stay popular and will appear in the top 5 again.

So, we considered several popularity rankings in order to see the aggregate picture of languages positions. And also, some prospects for 2016. Now you can make your choice deliberately since you are well-informed.

Stay with us to be always prepared!

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