Most Popular Programming Languages 2021 Statistics

Programming is a rapidly changing field so everyone who is thinking to learn a new programming language and deciding on which programming language to learn should track which ones are the most in-demand today.

Thus, in this article, you will see the most up-to-date statistics on programming languages for 2021 in comparison with 2020. This way, you can make a data-driven decision or just keep updated.

How to measure programming language popularity?

There is no one-way measurement, and it can be calculated in different ways. Moreover, many languages are related to a field they are used in (e. G. JavaScript in web development, Python for machine learning, etc). Here are some of the ways to measure is: job ads mentioning the language, results in search engines mentioning, counting posts on the popular developers’ communities (like Stackoverflow), surveys, and a lot of other methods.

And here we combined the majority of those methods and more.

5 Most popular programming languages
So, here is the list which appeared as a result of the analysis of the 4 most reputable statistics sources (this data you can find in the table below).
Python is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language with code readability as its design philosophy. Often used for data analysis and data science.
JavaScript is mostly used for web development. It is built into every modern web browser and is utilized on almost every website.
Java is a class-based, object-oriented language that is mainly used for client-server web applications. It is often utilized for mobile development (Android apps) and financial sectors.
C++ is a general-purpose language and is an extension of the C language. It is used for servers, desktop applications, video games, and performance-critical applications.
C# is a multi-paradigm programming language. It is used for web apps, desktop apps, mobile apps, games development and other purposes.

We see that Python, Java, and Javascript seem to keep a solid leadership in 2021. In the next part, we are going to dive deeper into this data and the comparison of 2021 with the previous years.

Most popular programming languages stats 2021

As we have already explained, finding out the most used programming languages is not a simple task. Thus, here is the table presenting the 2021 stats from different trustworthy sources.

#PYPL indexTIOBE IndexStack OverflowGithub
2JavaCHTML and CSSPython

Below, we will present more detailed stats from each source.

  • Stack Overflow Survey

Let’s see what are the most popular coding languages according to Stack Overflow, one of the biggest developers community. In the table, we are comparing the results of their 2021 survey (80K participants) with the 2018 survey ( 100K participants).

1JavaScript (64.96%)JavaScript (69.8%)
2HTML/CSS (56.07%)HTML / CSS (68.5%)
3Python (48.24%)SQL (57.0%)
4SQL (47.08%)Java (45.3%)
5Java (35.35%)Bash/Shell (39.8%)
Stack Overflow Survey
  • Github Stats

Next, let’s check the stats by Github, where Q3 2021 results are compared to Q3 2020 and Q3 2019. We see that the first four positions do not change over 3 years with JavaScript holding the first and Python is holding the second position. Moreover, the leader of this list is the same as in the survey by Stack Overflow.

1JavaScript (18%)JavaScript (20%)JavaScript (20%)
2Python (16%)Python (16%)Python (17%)
3Java (13%)Java (11%)Java (10%)
4Go (8%)Go (9%)Go (9%)
5TypeScript (7%)TypeScript (7%)C (7%)
Github Stats
  • TIOBE Index

TIOBE Index is calculated using the mentioning of the language in search engines. According to TIOBE Index, the most popular programming language in October 2021 was Python (while in 2020, the first position took C, in 2016, it was Java). This table shows the top 5 programming languages in 2021, 2020, and 2016 to see a wider perspective.

Position2021 20202016
1Python (11, 3%)CJava
2C (11, 2%)JavaC
3Java (10)%Python C++
4C++ (8%)C++ PHP
5C# (5%)C# C#

In the 2021 TIOBE Index, JavaScript took only 7th position which shows a very different picture from the previous stats.

  • The most trending programming languages (Google Trends)

An additional source of data is Google Trends which shows that the most popular programming languages [2021, US] are:

  1. Python
  2. C++
  3. Java

However, this source is mostly used for finding trends. So, as found on Google Trends, the most trended coding languages in the US (where the percent plus show how its popularity has risen during the year) are:

  • haskell (+80%)
  • kotlin (+160%)
  • scratch (+90%)

While the most trending ones in the UK are:

Julia (+160%) and Tust (+60%)

What is the difference between the most popular and the most trending ones? The first group shows programming languages that are the most commonly used in the chosen period (2021) and are the most in-demand, while the most trending shows languages that weren’t popular but which are rapidly gaining popularity.

Programming languages & Jobs statistics

According to Glassdoor (the US), the most in-demand programming languages for employers are:

  • C/C++ – 180,963 jobs
  • Python – 88,003 jobs
  • Java – 62,069 jobs
  • Javascript – 58,978 jobs

Top-paying programming languages/technologies (Stack Overflow Survey 2021) are:

  • Clojure – $95,000
  • F# – $81,037
  • Elixir – $80,077
  • Erlang – $80,077
  • Perl – $80,000
  • Ruby – $80,000
  • Scala – $77,832

Stats on learning a programming language

According to this survey by Stackoverflow [2020, 60K participants], the top 5 languages (technologies) which were the most popular to learn are:

  • Rust (86.1%)
  • TypeScript (67.1%)
  • Python (66.7%)
  • Kotlin (62.9%)
  • Go (62.3%)

Another data to include in this analysis is stats on which coding language has the biggest number of courses focused on it. We have taken the data from Udemy as this is one of the biggest e-learning providers which offers courses on various subjects. So, in Udemy’s software engineering section, the most popular subcategories are:

  • Python (51 courses)
  • C# (48 courses)
  • Java (27 courses)

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