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TOP-10 The Most Popular Programming Languages 2023

14.12.22 16 min to read
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The IT industry, particularly the software development sector, differs from most other business areas in its growth dynamism and innovation speed. It can be clearly seen in the diversity of methods and approaches of interaction between software engineers and machines, which is embodied in the multitude of existing programming languages, their specificity, and the pool of tasks for which they are designed.

Without special knowledge and competent advice, attempting to understand their variety may lead to confusion. And it is especially critical when the challenges facing your business need you to make responsible and rapid decisions.

In this article, we’ll discuss what are the most popular programming languages at the moment and compile a kind of top 10 from Academy Smart. We hope that the format with a minimum of technical information and focus on the areas of application of a particular programming language helps you understand what kind of specialists you need to work on your project in the future.

TOP-10 best programming languages by popularity

Currently, about 600 programming languages are used to implement various economic, production, and business technologies. Of course, such diversity is not only due to market needs. On the contrary, a creative search for the best solution plays a significant role here, which allows achieving the results faster, easier, and more elegant, of course, in terms of code size and purity as well as consumption of used computational power.

There are various approaches to ranking programming languages by popularity. Large communities of professional programmers, such as GitHub and TIOBE, and scientific and even governmental organizations have ratings based on industry analysis. They take into account many factors, including the scope of the language, the cost of development, programmer preferences, the dynamics of language learning, etc. However, it is noticeable that they are aimed more at the developer audience, representing trends in their professional field, as we detail in our review of the Top 15 Highest Paying Software Jobs In 2023.

Creating our list of top computer programming languages, we decided to shift the focus from the industry’s dynamics to the prevalence of technology in the world around us. In other words, on the things that require programs written in one programming language or another.

Agree that the wider the area of language application is and the more consumers it covers, the more popular it is with software developers and, of course, with its customers. And it does not matter how futuristic the technology is or how old the programming language that brought it into reality is too if millions of people use it on hundreds of thousands of devices daily. As we think, it is a simple idea and an understandable basis for a practical rating, in which you will find something that is guaranteed to work now and is likely to be helpful for you as well.

The list of popular programming languages, which we will look at below, will include those that are particularly in demand in 2023:

  1. JavaScript;
  2. HTML & CSS;
  3. Python;
  4. SQL;
  5. Java;
  6. TypeScript;
  7. C#;
  8. C++;
  9. PHP;
  10. Go.

By getting to grips with it, you’ll see why, in most cases, some of them will indeed be chosen as the basis of the technology stack for your project. You will also learn what software developers’ specializations will require to create your project. And finally, once you understand what you need, you can order the services of these specialists at Academy Smart.

The Most Popular Programming Languages 2023 Top 10
Top computer languages for custom software development in 2023

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is indisputably the leading technology of the World Wide Web. The JS engine is the primary tool in all modern web browsers and most browser operating systems. Therefore, over 95% of online applications and websites use it as a client programming language.

JavaScript creates dynamic, interactive interfaces, cross-platform web software, mobile apps or widgets, and browser-based games. At the same time, JavaScript is an effective tool for full-stack development, performing functions on the client and server sides. JS is also utilized to write macro scripts in many office programs. The versatility, ubiquity, and high demand for JavaScript will determine what the most popular programming language in the world in 2023 is.

The main advantages of JS programming are quick and easy coding, the broadest functionality of the mature language, and a wide variety of libraries and development environments for specific tasks. The disadvantages include noticeable differences in code interpretation by different browsers and the possibility of their prohibiting the execution of certain scripts in JavaScript for security reasons. Also, JS scripts can work slower in some specific cases than scripts written in other languages.

Let’s note that the language is actively being improved. Wonderful tools and frameworks have been created on the foundation of JS to optimize the coding process for specific needs. They are currently at the forefront of developing complex and feature-rich mobile, desktop, and cloud applications.

The technologies created and working based on JavaScript:

  • AngularJS – framework for building dynamic single-page applications;
  • Vue.JS – progressive framework for optimizing the development of SPA applications;
  • Ember.js – framework for creating scalable single-page web applications;
  • Node.JS – framework for the development of server applications;
  • Express.JS – back-end development platform, compatible with SQL databases;
  • Next.JS – framework for Jamstack developing and creation of server applications;
  • React Native – framework for cross-platform front-end development;
  • Backbone.js – library for SPA and client software creation;
  • jQuery – library for the event, CSS animation, and Ajax management;
  • React.JS – library for creating desktop and mobile user interfaces (UI);
  • Ajax and Comet – specific browser algorithms to optimize the speed of web page loading and data exchange.

2. HTML & CSS

The next most common and in-demand pair of standard tools for creating web pages and online applications is the hypertextual markup language HTML and cascading style sheets CSS. The combination of data structuring that HTML provides and their design with style sheets is the optimal basis for cross-platform front-end development of any websites and mobile applications of varying complexity now.

The primary purpose of HTML is to organize and type interface data. It is used to mark up semantics (paragraphs, headings, quotations, lists, links, tables, etc.), multimedia (images, videos), and service objects (buttons, forms, etc.). The modern HTML 5 standard perfectly supports interactive page elements and multimedia integration to create engaging interfaces.

CSS tables are used to visually design page elements that have been marked up in HTML. They help position, shape, size, and color the page elements, including various special effects like shading or stroke. The modern standard CSS 3 is a potent and flexible tool for creating the interface’s appearance. The combination of HTML and CSS is practically universal, and they can be used to create an adaptive design for pages of any complexity.

However, if we only use them, we will usually get a static template, which will have to be animated by JavaScript scripts. Otherwise, we risk having very cumbersome and slow-running code, especially for massive applications. Another disadvantage of HTML is that some of its elements are potentially vulnerable to careless coding, while CSS is very laborious and challenging to debug. However, knowledge of these excellent front-end development tools and adherence to standards effectively overcomes these shortcomings. It’s easy to see this by observing the many web pages and mobile apps built with them daily.

3. Python

Python is one of the best popular programming languages, which many developers consider universal due to its applicability in many industries, including the most innovative. Although it appeared in the 80s of the last century, during its evolution, it has significantly surpassed such powerful competitors as Java and C in prevalence and demand among programmers today.

It is a free, open-source programming language with an extensive active community and many libraries and frameworks for various technical tasks. It is compatible with well-known programming languages, such as C++, and integrates easily with third-party plugins, web services, data structures, and desktop GUI applications. At the same time, its syntax is based on English, and it is relatively easy to learn, so Python is popular as both a primary and an additional programming language among both beginners and experienced programmers with a long experience.

To appreciate how flexible and versatile language is, note that Python is actively used to create API, develop server systems, parsers, scanners, 2D-image packages, and 3D animation. It is also in demand for creating websites, web and desktop applications, data analysis systems, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Python is used by developers of many well-known online services such as Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube and by GameDev employees for their famous video games (Eve Onlive, Civilization IV, or Battlefield, for example). Python is used to run computational applications such as Abacus, FreeCAD, and to create scripts in Autodesk, Blender, and many other programs.

The disadvantages are the lack of multi-threading and higher requirements for the amount of RAM needed for computing. Therefore, Python is more in demand as a tool for back-end development and DevOps, but for the front-end or development of mobile applications sensitive to low memory usage, developers usually use other software tools, such as JavaScript, discussed above.

Additional technologies related to Python coding:

  • Django – framework for creating complex programs and applications;
  • Flask – framework for additional flexibility in working with databases and plugins;
  • CherryPy – framework for rapid development of web applications;
  • TensorFlow – library for computing and plotting neural networks and deep learning;
  • Pandas – library for modeling and data analysis.

4. SQL

SQL is a rather old declarative programming language whose sole purpose is to manage data in relational databases of various sites and applications. SQL was created specifically as a tool for creating, modifying and managing data, aimed at the average user. However, over time, given many additional tools and regulatory requirements, SQL has become a specific programming language.

Judging by its prevalence and demand, SQL is currently the best in its class. Compared with competitors, it provides more rapid and accessible data processing and integrity.

Certain difficulties with SQL also exist. It is quite slow, especially with large amounts of data. It is no secret that developers of database management systems rarely adhere to recommended standards, generating a kind of SQL language dialects, making it difficult to portability of procedural declarations between them. Yes, the language itself doesn’t fully meet the requirements of the relational data model, tending to become obsolete. However, an appropriate alternative to SQL is not yet visible, so even NoSQL databases with a fundamentally different data structure are now equipped with SQL-like query languages based on it.

SQL programming is ubiquitous in developing web applications, online stores, and data warehouses managed by various DBMS.

5. Java

The general-purpose programming language Java, which belongs to Oracle Corporation, is still stably positioned in the top computer languages, being the industry standard in the field of developing cross-platform applications for a variety of devices.

A key feature of Java is its Virtual Machine (VMJ) usage paradigm. It allows the program code execution on any device, regardless of the hardware and operating system type, if a VMJ for such a device exists. Of course, programmers and their customers greatly appreciated the practical ability to transfer once-written code to other devices without the expense of later adaptation. Today, more than 3 billion devices are running programs written in Java, and the number is constantly growing.

Even though many specialized Java programming tools are available on a paid basis and the language itself requires some effort to learn, the Java developer community is one of the largest and most active in the IT industry. Experienced Java programmers are in high demand.

Java is used to develop high-performance cross-platform software, web and mobile apps, and client-server applications. Java is often used to create technical systems for the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning. Java is also well-known as a platform for developing mobile and console games.

Among the disadvantages that somewhat limit Java usage is quite complex code that requires more programming time and memory, so Java is more often used on the server side rather than the interface. In addition, there are better choices than Java for cloud applications. Of course, the license price for specialized Java development tools will also have to be included in the cost estimate when creating software based on it.

Technologies that are often used in conjunction with the Java language:

  • Spring – framework for creating secure, cross-platform enterprise web applications;
  • Spark – framework for working with data science, data engineering, and machine learning;
  • Hibernate – library for easy operation with SQL databases;
  • Jackson – library for data processing.

Solid skills in top computer programming languages, which we have already reviewed by this time, are a must-have experience for companies providing custom software development services. You may see how proficient Academy Smart programmers are at it.

6. TypeScript

TypeScript is a fairly young language designed by Microsoft to extend the capabilities of the popular JavaScript language when creating web applications. Without going into the essence of the technical differences between them, let’s note that the additional features that TypeScript has received accelerate the development process, and increase code comprehensibility, and optimization ability. As a consequence, that increases the speed of execution of scripts in comparison with JS.

Code written with JavaScript is fully valid in the more general TypeScript space. In addition, TypeScript code is also supposed to be backward compatible in JS to work in all browsers. You can also plug popular libraries for the JavaScript language into TypeScript. The language, in all senses, is good and promising, but it requires a certain level of professionalism to apply its tools as effectively as possible.

The primary usage TypeScript founds in the developing and upgrading of cross-platform front-end stack for mobile applications, interfaces of desktop and web applications based on JS, as well as their back-end. It is one of the best solutions for large-scale web projects now. That’s why TypeScript is increasingly popular with full-stack developers. TypeScript is also being used more and more for scripting in DevOps.

Technologies that help TypeScript coding:

  • Angular – framework for integration with HTML and CSS when developing websites and web applications for PCs and mobile devices;
  • Svelte – compiler framework to create high-performance web applications;
  • Deno – runtime environment for debugging package management and server security;
  • Aurelia – modules suite for component development.

7. C#

Microsoft developed C# as an applied development language for the .NET Framework, devoid of its predecessor’s weaknesses, C. For this reason, C# is one of the best and in-demand tools for creating a server and desktop Windows operating system applications. However, like other C-like languages, C Sharp can be used on different platforms and operational systems. That’s why it is often employed to create utility software for embedded devices such as IoT and develop mobile applications for iOS and Android.

Among the main advantages of C# are computational speed and usage simplicity, good interoperability with code in other languages, and convenient scalability. On the other hand, the dependence on the .Net environment limits the flexibility and applicability of this technology with few compatible stacks.

Programmers use C Sharp most often as a part of back-end technologies for web-based and cloud-based applications (Azure), data processing, and DevOps. C# is widely applied in game development on the Unity platform and for machine learning and artificial intelligence tasks.

The main related C# technologies:

  • ASP.NET – framework for building web apps and services;
  • Accord.NET – machine learning platform;
  • LINQ – relational database component.

8. C++

C++ is an extended version of one of the oldest programming languages, C, used today to develop various applications. Despite its venerable age, C++ is not about to leave the programming language popularity trends, as it provides developers with superior control over executable code and its cross-platform portability.

Particular attention of developers to C++ is due to its remarkable ability to combine the properties of high-level and low-level languages and perform procedural, object-oriented, and generalized programming in one language environment. In addition, C++ allows flexible and efficient memory usage control, making this language very popular in cases where high performance is critical. Moreover, the language is constantly evolving, updating, and extending standards and has many implementations for different platforms, both paid and free. Naturally, C++ is in many ways compatible with its predecessor C, although their application fields are usually slightly different.

Most often, C++ is used to program operating system kernels, application programs for embedded devices (for example, IoT or smart clock), client-server and desktop applications, and software products with a large amount of graphics, for instance, in video games. C++ is also often used for neural networks and machine learning, especially when computational speed and efficient resource consumption are required.

The relative disadvantages of C++ are the complexity of its syntax and larger code size, as well as the high labor intensity of programming. Coding in C++ is not suitable for some devices with little memory. It is known that negligence in the code can make a program unportable to another platform, at least until it is eliminated. Specific security issues also stem from the C++ data type logic itself. Anyway, the programmer’s qualifications and knowledge of modern methods and libraries minimize the impact of these harmful factors.

Technologies extending and supplementing the capabilities of the C++ programming environment:

  • Qt/QML – a framework for creating cross-platform applications;
  • Juce – cross-platform toolkit for developing GUI applications and plug-ins;
  • Cinder – library for generating images;
  • Microsoft LightGBM – gradient enhancement tools for machine learning;
  • OpenCV – library of computer vision and machine learning algorithms.

9. PHP

A decent place in our ranking is occupied by PHP programming language, which in its better days held the first place in terms of demand. Even today, despite less interest, PHP is one of the leading development tools for web pages. And it is not surprising. The PHP evolution went hand in hand with the Internet expansion. And about 80% of all sites on the web are running on this technology now.

The main advantages of PHP are flexibility and simplicity of syntax, compatibility with different types of databases, and portability to different platforms. Like any other developed language, there are ready-made comprehensive frameworks and content libraries for coding in PHP. Given the prevalence of this technology and the relatively low cost of its implementation, the choice in favor of PHP is still a cost-effective solution.

PHP is used in back-end scripting for static and interactive web pages, applications, and e-commerce platforms, as well as Content Management Systems (CMS) and some console applications.

However, PHP’s influence is gradually narrowing in favor of more modern technologies. PHP scripting loses out to competing back-end solutions in terms of security and execution speed. Therefore, we note that for massive web applications, it is no longer suitable.

The main accompanying technologies:

  • Laravel – open-source web framework for development using the MVC architectural model;
  • Symphony – framework for rapid creation and management of web applications;
  • Yii – framework for developing large-scale web applications using the MVC model;
  • PHPUnit – library for unit testing of web applications.

10. Go

Golang, or Go, is one of the youngest programming languages, which quickly became popular due to its ease of use and ability to solve the most complex computational problems. Google originally developed the language to benefit its large software projects, so it is based on concise and transparent code that improves program execution speed and security. Its simplicity has found an efficient application in network and multi-core systems on various platforms and in the environment of cloud technologies.

Most often, Go is used in creating software for embedded or back-end systems, as well as for DevOps. However, recently high speed of execution of programs in Golang has been in demand in data science, artificial intelligence, and even GameDev.

Following a minimalist philosophy, the language lacks some tools that could make Go programming more flexible. Of course, being a comparatively new tool, Golang doesn’t have such a wide set of complex frameworks and libraries yet as more mature programming languages. Despite this, Golang is growing dynamically, as is the need for developers proficient in it.

Among the technologies associated with Go are:

  • Fiber – framework for developing Web applications;
  • Echo – high-performance framework for web development;
  • Go-kit – the standard library of microservices ;
  • GORM – relational database library.

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That is the list of top-10 computer programming languages in 2023 from the viewpoint of Academy Smart. Of course, it only covers some current technologies, and we intentionally limited our review to the most universal and popular today.

As you can see, it contains both time-tested languages and relatively young and promising development tools. Now you better understand in which situations they are usually used and can roughly estimate the tools that can be used specifically in your case.

Undoubtedly, Academy Smart will help you with the technical evaluation of your project, choosing the best tech stack, and providing experienced and knowledgeable programmers for development. Our long-term experience in custom software development as an outsourcing company and the work of our employees as programmers-outstaffers in various third-party projects allow us to sensitively and deliberately balance out the time-proven and most up-to-date technologies. Get in touch with our team, and we’ll turn the power of our skills into your profit.

TOP computer languages: Frequently Asked Questions

Which language is best in 2023?

The best programming language will be the one that fits the technical goal facing developers. JavaScript, HTML 5, CSS 3 will still be best for cross-platform front-end development, and Java, Go and Python for back-end engineering.

New programming languages

  • PureScript;
  • Go;
  • Elixir;
  • Dart;
  • F#;
  • Swift;
  • Crystal.
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