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Programming Languages

The Most Popular Programming Languages of 2024

Written By HackerRank | May 6, 2024

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The world of software development is changing faster than ever before. Artificial intelligence (AI) has fundamentally changed the development life cycle. And expanding innovation and investment in technologies like machine learning (ML) and the internet of things (IoT) have impacted programming languages developers use every day.

In 2023, we witnessed significant shifts in the popularity of and demand for programming languages. New languages such as Dart, Vyper, and Kotlin have emerged to address the growing need for efficiency, blockchain development, and specialized use cases. 

Of particular note is the rapid growth of machine learning and AI tools, which have driven the popularity of languages like Python and C++.

So, which languages continue to hold sway in the tech industry? What languages should employers and developers be investing their time and energy in? To answer this question, HackerRank conducted an exhaustive study of developer preferences and language demand to create an unbiased list of the top programming languages. Here’s what we found.


Our data comes from our 2024 Developer Skills Report, which combines survey responses from developers, employers, and recruiters with data from the HackerRank platform.

To identify language popularity, we analyzed which languages candidates selected for coding tests with multiple language options and their proficiency levels within each language. We’ve also measured the demand for each of these languages based on the number of tests created with the language in the test name. 

The data change rates reflect differences between volumes in 2022 and 2023. 

The Most Popular Programming Languages

#1. Python

What this language is used for: 

  • Web development (back end)
  • Data analysis and visualization
  • AI and machine learning
  • Scientific computing
  • Numerical simulations
  • Automation and scripting
  • Game development

Python, a versatile and easy-to-read language, has surged in popularity for web development, data analysis, and artificial intelligence (AI) projects. It ranks number one in popularity and number two for employer demand—up 15% from 2022. 

Python’s variety of robust frameworks, clean syntax, and extensive libraries make it a top choice for beginners and seasoned developers. From building web applications to powering machine learning algorithms, Python’s popularity continues to grow. 

#2. C++

What this language is used for: 

  • Game development
  • High-performance applications
  • Embedded systems (IoT devices)
  • Graphics engines and rendering software
  • Real-time simulations
  • Financial applications

C++ is a fast and powerful programming language widely used in system software, game development, and high-performance applications. Its ability to directly interact with hardware and memory management gives it an edge in performance-critical scenarios. Despite being more complex than some languages, C++ remains a go-to choice for developers requiring high-speed computing. 

C++ is a top language for hardware-oriented applications, use cases that need fast rendering, and video game engines. It’s also commonly used for AI tasks that require control over memory management and intensive computations.

While it comes in second for developer popularity, C++ is the third most in-demand programming language, an 8% drop from 2022. 

#3. Java

What this language is used for: 

  • Mobile applications 
  • Enterprise applications
  • Desktop GUI applications (IDEs and games)
  • Back-end services
  • Big data technologies (Hadoop and Spark)

Java, renowned for its platform independence and extensive libraries, remains a staple in enterprise applications, Android app development, and web services. Its “write once, run anywhere” approach is ideal for cross-platform development. Despite competition from newer languages, Java’s reliability and ecosystem ensure its continued relevance. 

When it comes to programming assessments, Java ranks first for demand. This is no surprise, given Java’s platform independence and well-tested ecosystem of libraries to assist development. Java remains a top coding language for enterprise-level software and applications. 

#4. SQL

What this language is used for:

  • Querying and retrieving data from databases
  • Creating and modifying database schemas
  • Defining constraints to ensure data integrity

SQL is a widely-used structured query language for creating, defining, implementing, accessing, and managing relational databases. SQL stands out on this list as the only database-oriented language in a crowd of front-end and back-end languages.

SQL’s widespread use in database operations adds to its popularity, but its specialized focus restricts its broad adoption compared to more versatile languages like Python and Java. SQL climbed in rank to become the fourth most popular coding language among developers in 2023, though its total usage in programming language tests did decrease slightly during the same period.

#5. JavaScript

What this language is used for: 

  • Web development
  • Mobile development
  • Interactive design
  • Data visualization

JavaScript, known as the go-to language for web development, is crucial for making websites interactive and dynamic. While JavaScript is primarily a front-end programming language, popular frameworks like React and Node.js do extend its capabilities to back-end development. It also offers cross-platform development capabilities, especially with frameworks like React Native and Ionic, allowing developers to create mobile apps for iOS and Android using the same language.

JavaScript is widely favored by developers, ranking third in popularity and seventh in employer demand. However, JavaScript demand might be underreported, as employers could be assessing competency in this skill with more generalized test questions that test a variety of skills.

#6. C

What this language is used for: 

  • Embedded systems
  • Application software
  • High-performance computing

It’s no surprise that C remains among the top 10 most popular coding languages. C is a powerhouse in the programming world, known for its efficiency and versatility. It’s the go-to language for tasks where speed and direct hardware access are critical.

One of its key applications is in embedded systems—think of the software running on your smartwatch or controlling the sensors in your car. C’s ability to communicate directly with hardware makes it indispensable.

C ranked sixth, remaining in the same position from 2022 to 2023. However, C didn’t manage to make the top 10 of the most in-demand coding assessment languages. While C continues to be important for specific applications and industries, its demand seems lower than other programming languages due to complexity, safety concerns, and the abundance of alternatives.

#7. C#/.NET

What this language is used for: 

  • Game development
  • Desktop application development 
  • Mobile app development 

C# and the .NET framework, developed by Microsoft, are popular for building desktop applications, web services, and games on the Windows platform. 

What sets C# apart is that it’s a strongly typed language, helping developers avoid errors and bugs in their code. Pair that with the extensive libraries and tools offered by the .NET framework, and the seamless integration with Visual Studio, and you’ve got a winning combination that’s favored by Windows developers far and wide.

Despite competition from cross-platform alternatives, C#/.NET’s ecosystem and tooling make it an indispensable language for many developers. Companies that have adopted C# include Bloomberg, Dell, and Siemens.

C# ranks seventh for developer popularity. However, when it comes to demand in real-world assessments, it secures the fifth spot. This underscores its practical appeal and reliability in delivering tangible results, making it a cornerstone programming language.

#8. Go

What this language is used for: 

  • Web development
  • Systems programming 
  • Cloud services

Go, or Golang, is a modern, statically typed language developed by Google. Known for its simplicity, concurrency support, and efficiency, Go is popular for cloud computing, microservices, and back-end development. Despite being relatively new, Go’s performance and growing ecosystem make it a promising choice for scalable applications. 

Since its launch in 2009, interest and demand have continued to grow. Between 2018 and 2020, Go was the top language developers wanted to learn. In 2023, Go rose in popularity, landing eigth on our list, and it remains within the top 10 in-demand programming languages. Tech giants like Uber, Docker, Dropbox, and Twitch have adopted Go to manage data and provide creative solutions. 

#9. PHP

What this language is used for: 

  • E-commerce websites
  • API development (Laravel and Symfony)
  • Content management systems

PHP, a server-side scripting language, is essential for creating dynamic websites, content management systems (CMS), and e-commerce platforms. Despite its critics, PHP’s ease of use, extensive frameworks like WordPress, and compatibility with various web servers maintain its popularity.

PHP remains within the top 10 for both popularity and demand. However, its popularity among developers did decrease in 2023, dropping from eighth to ninth. 

#10. TypeScript

What this language is used for: 

  • Mobile app development 
  • Server-side scripting 
  • Desktop applications 

TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript, adds static typing and tooling to the language. Popular for front-end development with Angular and React, TypeScript catches errors at compile time, enhancing code quality and maintainability. 

The robust tooling support, including features like code navigation, intelligent code completion, and automatic refactoring, makes TypeScript a solid coding language for developers and tech teams. Despite its learning curve, TypeScript’s benefits for large-scale applications are undeniable. 

Typescript rounds out the top 10 most popular coding languages among developers but did not manage to crack the top 10 for most in-demand languages. 

#11. Bash

What this language is used for: 

  • DevOps
  • Automation
  • System maintenance
  • Scripting operations on Unix-based systems

Bash (Bourne-Again SHell) is crucial for system administrators and DevOps engineers who use it to automate tasks and write shell scripts in Unix-based systems. Many developers are drawn to Bash for its simplicity, versatility, and efficiency in automating tasks and managing systems. Despite its age, Bash remains indispensable for managing Linux servers and executing automation scripts.

Bash rose in popularity among developers from 12th in 2022 to 11th in 2023.

#12. Swift

What this language is used for: 

  • Apple products app development

Swift, developed by Apple, is the primary language for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS app development. Its safety features, speed, and integration with Apple’s ecosystem have made it popular among iOS developers. 

Swift’s popularity has declined slightly: from 2022 to 2023, it fell from 11th to 12th in preference among developers. Swift’s decline in popularity may have been influenced by the many competing languages, platform diversification, and the maturation of existing codebases. It also never managed to catch on as a general-purpose language. Unable to achieve broader popularity, Swift’s usage levels reflect its role as a specialized technology. 

#13. Kotlin

What this language is used for: 

  • Server-side development 
  • Desktop application and Android app development 
  • Data science and analytics

Kotlin, a modern programming language from JetBrains, is interoperable with Java and favored for Android app development. Its concise syntax, null safety, and seamless integration with existing Java codebases have increased popularity among Android developers.

While Kotlin falls last on our developer popularity list, its demand is noticeably higher than its popularity, ranking ninth in employer demand. Given its adoption by major companies like Netflix, Google, and JetBrains, Kotlin presents a compelling choice for developers and tech teams to consider.

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