Developers play kiss, marry, kill with programming languages


Which programming languages, frameworks and tools do developers really love – or really hate? Coding Q&A site Stack Overflow has the answers in its 2020 survey of almost 65,000 developers.

The survey found that TypeScript, Microsoft's Javascript superset, has stolen second place from Python in the ‘most beloved language’ category, while Rust takes the top spot.

86% of developers this year describe themselves as keen to use Rust, while 67.1% say they want to use TypeScript – just barely squeaking past the 66.7% who want to use Python.

What’s the secret of TypeScript's success? Stack Overflow cites Microsoft's readiness to embrace open-source software, along with the growing size and complexity of JavaScript and Node.js codebases.   

While TypeScript and Python duke it out for second, Rust is floating above them in a league of its own, having held the ‘most beloved’ spot for five years straight, even though relatively few developers use it. Just 5.1% of developers say they used Rust this year, while 68% used the ubiquitous JavaScript.

Top 10 most loved programming languages of 2020

  1. Rust
  2. TypeScript
  3. Python
  4. Kotlin
  5. Go
  6. Julia
  7. Dart
  8. C#
  9. Swift
  10. JavaScript

Top 10 most dreaded programming languages of 2020

  1. VBA
  2. Objective-C
  3. Perl
  4. Assembly
  5. C
  6. PHP
  7. Ruby
  8. C++
  9. Java
  10. R

Top 10 most commonly used programming languages 

  1. JavaScript
  3. SQL
  4. Python
  5. Java
  6. Bash/Shell/PowerShell
  7. C#
  8. PHP
  9. TypeScript
  10. C++

The report also investigates developers’ salaries. In the US, it’s engineering managers who command the highest pay at $152,000 per year, with site reliability engineers in second place on $140,000 per year.

Worldwide, the average salaries for these roles are lower, with engineering managers pocketing $92,000 and site reliability engineers $80,000.

Other lucrative roles that pay at least $115,000 in the US include educators, desktop application developers, scientists, mobile developers, embedded application developers, back-end developers, engineers, DevOps specialists, machine-learning specialists, and data scientists.

The programming language that’s associated with the highest pay in the States is Scala. With a good command of that, you’re looking at an average salary of $150,000. But there are plenty of others that will net you a salary of at least $120,000, including TypeScript, Python, Java, C++, Bash/Shell/PowerShell, Assembly, Haskell, Swift, C, Rust, Ruby, Perl, Kotlin, Objective-C, and Go.

However, developers don’t see pay as the most important factor when choosing a job. The languages, technologies and frameworks they’d be using matter more, as do company culture, professional development, and opportunities for flexible or remote working.

When it comes to platforms for development work, while Linux and Windows remain the most common (over half of respondents have used them), other popular platforms include macOS, Android, Docker, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Raspberry Pi, and Microsoft Azure.

In terms of other technologies, Node.js is the most used for the second year running, with 51% of developers using it, followed by 35% using Microsoft's .NET and 27% using Microsoft's .NET Core. 15% favour the Python data-analysis library Pandas, and 11.5% use TensorFlow.

When it comes to databases, MySQL reigns supreme once again, with PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server in second and third.

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