What are the most popular programming languages?

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The software space is incredibly diverse and this is reflected in the sheer number of programming languages that you can learn today. If you are just starting out choosing one can seem daunting -- this list of the most-popular programming languages should help narrow down your options.

Each of the major programming languages has its fair share of fans, as you might have realized by now, but JavaScript, Java and Python have the most followers. RedMonk, which just posted its latest Programming Language Rankings, looked at both GitHub and Stack Overflow to give you an answer that reflects what developers are using and talking about in 2017.

"JavaScript and Java retain their respective positions atop our rankings. The lack of movement in JavaScript is particularly notable given that some argued that measuring by repo overweighted JavaScript’s actual significance versus a metric like pull requests, the basis for the new query. PHP has dropped a spot for the first time in the history of our rankings, but remains enormously popular even at the number four spot," says RedMonk.

Most top options in the list which you can see below, are well-established by now, and that includes PHP, Ruby, Perl, and the members of the C family, C#, C++, C and Objective C. As some would say, you can't go wrong with any of those.

1. JavaScript
2. Java
3. Python
4. PHP
5. C#
5. C++
7. CSS
7. Ruby
9. C
10. Objective-C
11. Scala
11. Shell
11. Swift
14. R
15. Go
15. Perl
17. TypeScript
18. PowerShell
19. Haskell
20. Clojure
20. CoffeeScript
20. Lua
20. Matlab

This is a top 20, but there are actually 23 in the list, because some programming languages share the same ranking, as you might have observed. The list doesn't see major changes all that often, but there are some interesting developments that you should know about.

Swift, the open-source programming language that was introduced by Apple in mid-2014, has managed to rise quickly in the charts, reaching the 11th place (which it shares with Scala and Shell). "Swift has reached a Top 15 ranking faster than any other language we have tracked since we’ve been performing these rankings," says RedMonk.

TypeScript is proving to be a solid contender as well, breaking into the top 20 for the first time. "Of all of the top tier languages, none jumped more than TypeScript on our GitHub rankings, as the JavaScript superset moved up 17 points." PowerShell posted a solid performance as well, with RedMonk attributing it to the programming language being open-sourced a couple of months ago.

To learn more about how the list was compiled and how the programming languages evolved in terms of popularity, hit this link for RedMonk's blog post.

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