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    Most Popular Programming Languages 2017

    What is the Most Popular Programming Language by Google Search?

    According to how frequently language tutorials are searched on Google, Java is the most popular programming language. While Java has consistently maintained popularity over the past 7 years, Python has grown the most at 10% over the past 5 years, with PHP losing the most at -5%. By the way, my entire career, I've heard nothing but hatred for PHP and Wordpress. However, knowing PHP still makes you very bankable as 25% of websites still run on Wordpress.

    The following data reveals the rate of popularity of programming languages over the last 7 years based on "[language] tutorial" searches, worldwide.


    What is the Most Popular Programming Language by Job Posting?

    The following chart reveals which programming languages are most popular by job posting. This will come in handy for when you want to know which programming languages companies are looking to hire for. C is the most popular programming language, based on this criteria.

    Source: JobTrends by Programming Language

    What is the Most Popular Programming Language by My Experience?

    Over the last 10 years, I've programmed as a Web Developer, Software Engineer, Systems Administrator, and QA Automation Engineer. As a manager, I've worked as a Web Development Lead, Director of Software Development, and Vice President of Engineering. I've also worked at 2 New York startups, as a manager at an enterprise sized company (500+ empoyees), and as a remote contractor.

    Over the span of my career, JavaScript was the most popular programming language. Whether we were enterprise level on the Microsoft stack or small to medium sized company relying on open source, programmers with JavaScript in their skillset were always able to provide value.

    Much of this is attributed to the fact that I've worked primarily in full stack development environments where the product or service was delivered over the web, in the browser. However, I still believe that regardless of the type of product or service, every developer should know JavaScript. Every company needs a website, and to market themselves over social networks, which involves an understanding of JavaScript plugins and embedded scripts.

    Lastly, JavaScript can run on both the frontend and the backend with NodeJS. It's a very versatile language and many APIs have JavaScript libraries already written, whereas they will sometimes support any combination of Java, Ruby, and Python on the backend.

    What is the Least Popular Programming Language by My Experience?

    Java was actually the least popular, with only one organization relying on a Java/Scala backend. C# was also the least popular. Both companies were either enterprise level or handled heavy amounts of traffic, so these where large, scalabale, backends. This just goes to show that throughout your career, you may never be exposed to certain languages, regardless of popularity.

    Another thing to note is that Java and C# were leveraged primarily within a service, whereas other languages were more commonly used across a wider array of applications. For example, I've seen Python written for both backend services as well as server provisioning, and general automation. I've also seen JavaScript/NodeJS leveraged similarly.

    Head over to this tutorial if you want a crash course on Python basics, and this article for JavaScript.


    My advice for anyone deciding on their first programming language is to choose the language that gives you the highest return for the time you put into it. So if you want to work for a certain company or you want to make a certain amount of money and a specific programming language will get you there, learn that language. But over the life of your career, you'll have more opportunities to provide value knowing a language that has wider applications.

    You'll be the one to step up with a programmatic solution when a unique problem in the workplace arises (which it most often will), and that's what catapults you up the ladder.

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