November 18, 2018
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Status of the Developer World: August 2018

  • September 5, 2018
  • By Bradley L. Jones
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The developer world is constantly evolving. Whether it is programming languages that are gaining popularity, a sudden need for programmers in each area of expertise, or a new fad that enters the market to obfuscate what developers already know. In this semi-regular column, statistics and datapoints will be pulled together into one place so you can find them each month.

Programming Language Popularity Based on the TIOBE Index

When asked about the popularity of programming languages, the TIOBE index is often one of the first to be referenced. Figure 1 shows the TIOBE rankings for programming languages for August 2018.

The August 2018 TIOBE Index ranking programming languages
Figure 1: The August 2018 TIOBE Index ranking programming languages

At the top of the list are the 'heavy hitter' programming languages, including Java, C, and C++. This is followed by many others that should look familiar. The index also shows how the language has changed on the chart. For example, looking at Figure 1, you can see that Python and Visual Basic.NET have moved up at the expense of C#. You can see how other languages has shifted as well; however, in this chart, you should note that SQL was recently added to the index, so there isn't a historical value for 2017. As such, although it looks like it has moved up, that is really unknown.

The TIOBE index is not about lines of code or how popular a language is, but rather is a result of how much a programming language is being searched for on the search engines. In this case, Java is being searched for the most, and the amount of searching has increased by 3.92% since last year.

Programming Language Popularity Based on GitHub

Another way to review programming language ranks is to look at what GitHub is doing. Using the data from their repositories, GitHub is able to rank based on active repositories, total pushes, pushes per repository, new forms, new issues, and new watchers for repositories. The result is a complex chart, but clear rankings, as shown in Figure 2.

The GitHub language rankings
Figure 2: The GitHub language rankings

In Figure 2, you can see that, even though JavaScript is the top language, I've highlighted a couple of other languages, Scala and Rust. You can see in the chart, that although these are lower on the list, 19th and 28th respectively, they both show a relatively large number of pushes, issues, and new watchers. As such, both are worth watching over the coming months.

Table 1 shows a simple top 10 list with TIOBE and GitHub rankings next to each other. Although it doesn't carry a lot of meaning, I've also provided a column on the table that lists the ranked programming languages based on an average of the two charts. SQL and Assembly Language were not included on the averages because they did not appear on the extended data of both charts.

  TIOBE GitHub Averaged
1 Java JavaScript Java
2 C Java Python
3 C++ Python C
4 Python CSS JavaScript
5 Visual Basic.NET PHP C++
6 C# Ruby PHP
7 PHP C++ C#
8 JavaScript C Ruby
9 SQL Shell Objective-C
10 Assembly Language C# Swift
11 Swift Objective-C R
12 Delphi/Object Pascal R Visual Basic
14 Objective-C Go  
15 Ruby Perl  

Table 1: GitHub vs TIOBE

View of the Developer Job Market

Another interesting way to look at programming languages is to evaluate the number of job openings. This, again, will not show the popularity or usage, but rather give an indication on the level of demand there is for a given language. In Figure 3, you can see the number of job openings that are available on a variety of popular job boards, including Monster, Indeed, Dice, and LinkedIn. The chart of job openings includes a column for the average openings across the four sites.

Developer job openings—The numbers
Figure 3: Developer job openings—The numbers

Overall, the four sites polled list similar rankings for job openings. SQL is included on the chart, even though it tends to be peripheral to the other more common languages. Ignoring SQL, in all cases, Java is the number one programming language in demand. This is followed by JavaScript and Python. Figure 4 presents the job data in a chart for comparison.

Developer job openings—The chart
Figure 4: Developer job openings—The chart

In Conclusion

Overall, there are no huge surprises in the August data related to programming languages. Java continues to be the language that appears at the top of many lists.

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