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Java vs. JavaScript vs. Python vs. PHP: new survey reveals most popular programming languages

Java comes out top as the most popular primary programming language while JavaScript is the most commonly used language overall.
by on 12th June 2018

Java, JavaScript and Python are the first, second and third most popular primary programming languages, according to a survey by JetBrains, a company that specializes in the provision of tools for web developers.

The survey, titled “The State of Developer Ecosystem 2018”, aggregates perspectives from 6,000 developers on a range of topics including professional development, preferred development environments and most popular primary and secondary programming languages.

While Java is the most commonly used primary programming language, JavaScript is the most utilized language overall, with 64 percent of developers using it regularly; HTML/CSS is second (55 percent) and Java is third (51 percent).

Despite powering more than 80 percent of the web, PHP is only used regularly by 26 percent of the developers surveyed while Python, which is utilized by websites and applications including Google, YouTube, Spotify, Reddit and Dropbox, is used regularly by 41 percent.

It’s important to note that very few large website are ever built with a single programming language; developers looking to understand the development stack behind websites can visit for more information.

The survey also details which programming languages developers have started learning, or are continuing to learning, in 2018. In this respect, Python tops the table with 30 percent of those surveyed studying the language in 2018.

JavaScript is second (29 percent) while Java is third (21 percent).

Despite a marked increase in the prevalence of cloud solutions, most developers are still hosting their applications, services and databases locally. According to the survey, 55 percent of developers host on their workstation, developer environment or device, while 30 percent use Amazon Web Services (AWS) and 10 percent use Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.

Utilization of private and local servers will decline by 6 percent and 11 percent in the next 12 months, while AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure will grow by 8, 7 and 3 percent.

Windows is still a popular choice for developers, with 63 percent of those surveyed using the operating system. Meanwhile, 49 percent utilize Unix/Linux and 44 percent utilize macOS.

Android is the most popular mobile OS (86 percent) and places ahead of iOS (48 percent). 35 percent of those surveyed develop for both Android and iOS.

The survey also addressed the idiosyncrasies of its participants and found that 77 percent of developers listened to music while coding. The most popular genre was electronic (37 percent), however it was closely followed by pop (32 percent) and rock (29 percent).

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