Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages in 2021

Last Updated: October 24, 2021

Jason

Jason

This article analyzes the most popular programming languages used in various industries around the world.
Top 10 Most Popular Programming Languages of 2021
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Sometimes, there will be confusion as to which programming language is the best for beginners and experts. Some will prioritize huge salaries and choose a programming language to proceed, whereas others will analyze their skills and cross-check it with the best option that suits their skills.

Choosing the best-suited programming language to boost your talent is always better than selecting the highly paid one. But, again, that’s up to you!

This article analyzes the most popular programming languages used in various industries around the world.

Most Popular Programming Languages

  1. Javascript
  2. Python
  3. Java
  4. C/C++
  5. C#
  6. PHP
  7. GO
  8. Kotlin
  9. Scala
  10. R

#1. JavaScript

According to the stats, there are almost 1.8 billion websites in the world. And about 95% of them run with the help of Javascript.

A Bit of Javascript History

Javascript was originated in the labs of Netscape as part of the “Netscape-2” project by Brendan Eich in 1995. 

In 1996, Javascript was handed over to ECMA international standards organization by Netscape. As a result, ECMA created an expert technical committee(TC39) to develop the Javascript language.

The first browser that supported the ECMA-262 Edition 1 was Internet Explorer (IE).

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What Are the Applications of Javascript?

HTML and CSS build the basic structure of the browser, while Javascript gives life to the browsers. It is a text-based program script that makes the browsers interactive. You can use javascript on both the client-side and server-side. 

“Javascript adds behaviour to webpages.”

Source: heckreactor.com

1. Interactive Webpages

The major application of Javascript is to make the browser active to provide a better user experience. 

The usage of Javascript enables the browser to perform specific dynamic actions like:

a. Animations on the webpage

b. Image sliders

c. Button color change during mouse hover

d. Audios and videos on the web page

2. Webservers

You can create a robust backend setup as well as web servers using javascript. Node.js is the most used framework for this purpose. It is easy to build web servers using the Node.js framework.

3. Mobile App Development

Javascript is considered the most accessible programming language that people can use to build mobile apps. It helps to create a systematic environment and speed up the execution. In addition, Javascript can handle animations perfectly.

Some of the most famous apps that enjoy the built quality of Javascript:

  • Facebook
  • Netflix
  • Linkedin
  • Candy crush
  • Uber

Latest Javascript version: ES2015

#2 Python

What Is a Python Language?

“Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. “

Source: https://www.python.org/doc/essays/blurb/

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The most beautiful thing about Python is its syntax. Even the beginner can read and understand the codes and their purposes. In addition, Python is easy to learn and deploy, making it cost-effective and efficient. 

A Brief History of Python

In the December of 1989, Guido van Rossum was trying to make himself busy by creating a programming language. Rossum earlier was a member in the creation of the ABC language. Hence he was aware of the significant issues faced by the ABC language. 

Rossum was using the ABC programming language as a reference for the creation of Python. So the first thing Rossum did was fix those issues. Next, he designed the scripting as simply as possible. 

There were two things that he kept in mind during the creation of the Python language. They are:

  1. Easy code readability
  2. Few code lines to express the requirement

Rossum was a fan of the TV show ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ streamed in the BBC channel, from which he used the word ‘Python’ to represent his programming language. 

What Are the Benefits of Using the Python Program?

  1. Python doesn’t require a compiling stage. As a result, it is easy to edit, test, and run the code, which increases productivity.
  2. Python’s dynamic combination of binding and typing helps in Rapid application development.
  3. It is easy to reuse the code generated using Python due to the support of modules.
  4. The debugger is built with Python. A few print statements on the code can help point out the code flow and exceptions.

What Are the Applications of The Python Language?

1. Big Data Processing

The unstructured data that doesn’t follow a specific pattern is challenging to manage. But Python handles it very well, thanks to its vast data processing inbuilt ability.

2. Python for Business applications

The wide usage of smartphones created the necessity of mobile phone ERP, e-commerce apps that have to be dynamic and simple. The e-commerce giant Amazon uses Python for its various machine learning and data analytics modules.

3. Web Development

The easy-to-read scripts and simple frameworks are the main reasons for using Python in Web development. In addition, Python makes it easy to identify the errors and solve them. 

4. Machine Learning and Embedded Systems

The advanced usage of the Python language is its dynamic behavior and flexibility. In addition, Python offers extensive support to Machine learning algorithms, Data analytics, Visualization tools, etc.

Some of The Real-Life Python Applications:

  • Amazon
  • Instagram
  • Dropbox
  • Uber
  • Google search

Latest Python version: Python 3.9. 0

#3 Java

According to the stats of RedMonk, Java stands third after Javascript and Python in the most trending programming languages. It is because Java follows an object-oriented programming concept.

Java is the native programing language of Android. It is estimated that there are around 24000 unique Android devices and 3 billion android active devices in the world. It shows the importance of the Java language.

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A Brief History of Java

The beginning of Java was exciting. It was designed by a team called “Green Team” under the leadership of James Gosling was trying to develop a programming language that can control the cable tv system, set-top boxes, etc. But soon found that the Java program they created is more advanced than the digital cable Tv setup requirements.

“Greentalk” was the first name James put forward for the programming language. Later it was called “Oak.” An oak tree was a symbol of strength and was the national tree of America.

But since Oak Technologies was using the same name, the Green team had a meeting where the team members proposed many names. Finally, James suggested the name Java based on the famous Java coffee bean from the Java island in Indonesia.

What Are the Benefits of Java?

Statistics show that there are more than 8 million Java developers in the world. Java is a platform-independent programming language, making it easy to run the same program on different computers. The cross-platform ability of Java helped the World wide web software.

“The principles for creating Java programming were “Simple, Robust, Portable, Platform-independent, Secured, High Performance, Multithreaded, Architecture Neutral, Object-Oriented, Interpreted, and Dynamic.”

Source: https://www.javatpoint.com/history-of-java

Java is easy to learn and has plenty of security features that make it one of the best object-oriented programming choices.

What Are the Applications of Java Language?

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1. GUI Applications in Desktop

Using Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and JavaFX, we can use Java to create most of the Desktop applications.

 2. Mobile Applications

Java is compatible with Android. Android uses Dalvik Virtual Machine(DVK) to run the class files. Therefore, we can execute the Java class files through the DVK. The most popular Java framework for Android app development is J2ME(Java Micro Edition).  

3. Web Applications

We can create Java-based web applications with the help of technologies such as Apache Tomcat, JSP (Java Server Pages), Spring, Hibernate, struts, JRun, etc.

4. Gaming Applications

Android phones are so popular and common among people. Almost all Android games depend upon Java. The most potent open-source 3D engine is jMonkeyEngine which Java supports to build 3D games.

Some of the other Java applications are:

5. Java-built NetBeans IDE., Eclipse, etc., are some of the most commonly used software tools for developing, debugging, and analyzing purposes.
6. BigData – Hadoop, an opensource Big data framework, is created using Java
7. Java creates distributed applications

8. Java has Enterprise applications

9. Cloud-Technology based applications

Latest Java version: Java SE 11.0. 13

#4. C/C++

C is a procedural-oriented programming language, and C++ is an object-oriented programing language. The main objective behind the creation of C was to use it for making system software. C language can combine low-level language and high-level language.

Due to this ability, it is considered a middle-level programming language. Therefore, the C language is best suited for making firmware. A C++ program is created with the help of objects and classes. Compared to C, C++ supports pointers, function overloading, references, user-defined data types, etc.

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A Brief History of C/C++

In 1972, Dennis Ritchie created the C language. He was working at the bell laboratories of AT&T located in the USA. He made the C language to overcome the issues found in programming languages such as B, BCPL, etc. Thus, C inherits some of the features from these languages.

Later in 1980, Bjarne Stroustrup made C++ at bell laboratories of AT&T. He was trying to create an advanced version of C without avoiding any C features but adding inheritance, class, object concepts.

C++ ISO/IEC 14882:1998 is the first international standard for C++, released in 1998.

“C++ programming is “relative” (called a superset) of C, it means any valid C program is also a valid C++ program.”

Source: https://www.javatpoint.com/cpp-history

What Are the Benefits of The C Language?

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The C language is an easy-to-write programming language. Another vital benefit of C is its built-in libraries. C allows the use of plenty of built-in functions as wells as user-defined functions.

In addition, the C language is cheap due to its simple structure, easy debugging ability, and faster execution speed. Dynamic memory allocation is another benefit of C, by which the user can define the memory space for the objects in the code during the run time.

The OOP concepts of C++(encapsulation, polymorphism, abstraction, and inheritance) make it advanced compared to its predecessor.  

Some of The Other Benefits of C++ are:

1. 3- paradigm based language(Generic, Imperative, Object-oriented)
2. Better Portability and Scalability
3. Dynamic Memory Allocation helps memory management
4. Availability of several built-in libraries
5. Support from various communities

What Are the Applications of C/C++?

1. Operating Systems

C program is a vital part of Microsoft Windows, Unix-Kernal, and android operating systems. In comparison, C++ is used in Symbian mobile operating systems, Mac Osx, Microsoft Windows, etc.

2. Database 

Both C and C++ are integral parts of the MySql database. MySql is used by several industry giants like Google, YouTube, Yahoo, etc.

3. Games and Graphics

C language is behind some mobile/computer games like archery, bouncing ball, chess, etc. In addition, the C++ language is used in creating Unreal Engine, a game suite development tool. C++ is swift and has better control over hardware. Due to this, it is used in most 3D games.

There are a lot of other applications for both the programming languages like GUI applications, graphical applications, compilers, engineering and medical streams, enterprise editions, etc.

Latest Version of C: ISO/IEC 9899:2018

Latest Version of C++: ISO/IEC 14882

#5. C#

C#(read as “See Sharp”) comes from the family of C, due to which it will be familiar to C, C++, Java, JavaScript developers. C#  can create secure and robust applications with the help of .net. It is fifth in the Github Ranking of programming languages.

“C# is an object-oriented, component-oriented programming language. C# provides language constructs to directly support these concepts, making C# a natural language in which to create and use software components.”

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/csharp/tour-of-csharp/

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A Brief History of C#

Microsoft brought C# to the market with Visual Studio .NET Framework 1.0 in 2002. It was created by Anders Hejlsberg. C# was built using C++ and Java and had a lot more to offer. Previously, C# was named “Cool,” which is the short abbreviation of C-like Object-Oriented Language.

What Are the Benefits of C#

C# is famous for its ability to build functionalities that are needed for dynamic web applications. C# creates an interactive environment and performs a variety of operations.

One of the main benefits of C# is its code simplicity. Even though it is not as simple as Python or PHP, people can learn the language much more effortlessly than Java and C.

Also, it has a simple code directory that can be read and understood by beginners and people using other languages.

People can correct the errors in the C# codes effortlessly due to their simplicity. Moreover, C# is flexible and easy to maintain, making it a suitable choice for beginners. People can use C# in the .NET framework and opensource platforms, making it scalable and efficient.

What Are the Applications of C#

Let us check out some of the applications of the C# programming language.

1. Web Applications

C# Using the .NET platform can build highly interactive web applications. It can ensure the code’s credibility and security.

2. Video Games

The vast community support of the C# language is because of its ability to create the best performing video games. C# supports PC games as wells as console games. The Unity game engine was built using C++ and C#.

It is one of the most popular game engines with more than 1 billion active supporters. Mobile developers can also access it with the help of cross-platform technologies.

3. Windows Applications

C# is a Microsoft product. Hence the primary purpose of this programming language is to create applications that support the Windows platform. The developers get great support from the C# communities while building windows based applications.

Latest C# version: C# 9.0

#6. PHP

“PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.”

Source: https://www.php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php

JavaScript is a client-side script, whereas PHP is a server-side script that can be interpreted with PHP installed servers only.

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A Brief History of PHP

Rasmus Lerdorf was the founder of PHP in 1994.  His idea was to keep track of people who are visiting his online resume. Later in 1995, he updated the PHP code by combining it with Form Interpreter and MySql tools, and PHP/FI was created. Soon the PHP version became a talk among the small communities, and people started contributing to the PHP/FI script. By the end of 1997, more than 50000 websites had used PHP script.

Later, Andi Gutmans and  Zeev Suraski updated the basic script entirely and created PHP3( PHP version 3) 

What Are the Benefits of PHP?

The most crucial benefit of using PHP is that it is a free open source version, and most of the supporting tools are also free. 

Even though PHP is a general-purpose server-side language, it can also be used to build desktop-based applications. Moreover, from version 5 onwards, PHP supports object-oriented programming by which plenty of new features are available.

PHP language is flexible since it can be joined with other programming languages easily. Symfony, Laravel, Phalcon, Yii, and Zend Framework are some of the PHP frameworks. 

PHP is a language that is very easy to learn and execute. Due to this, a lot of people, especially beginners, are using PHP. The wide range of PHP usage creates more competition, but this indirectly helps industries build high-quality PHP products at reasonable costs.

Another important thing is the loading speed. It is estimated that PHP loads 3x faster compared to Python. People always prefer a fast-loading website. So, content creators should use PHP for their websites to get more crowd support.

Since it is easy to learn PHP, there is plenty of documentation available on the internet. Hence, PHP is beginner-friendly. PHP is compatible with almost all the databases, including MSSQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc.

Some of The Other Benefits of PHP Language Are :

1. PHP applications can be used in cloud services(For e.g., AWS Lambda)
2. PHP is cheap in hosting
3. HTML and PHP are excellent combinations
4. Flexible programming language

What Are the Applications of PHP?

1. Graphic Designing and Image Processing

One of the essential requirements of a website is images and graphics. PHP is used for performing various image processing techniques such as cropping, rotating, resizing, watermarks, thumbnails, etc., and converting images to multiple formats such as png, jpeg, gif, xpm, etc.

2. Web Content Management Systems

MySQL, Oracle, etc., are some of the databases that can be easily connected using PHP. It can also interact with protocols such as HTTP, COM, SNMP, LDAP, etc.; hence PHP can make a great content management system like WordPress. In addition, PHP code is used for creating Facebook, Drupal, MediaWiki, Joomla, etc.

3. Web Pages

According to statistics, there are 244 million or more websites in the world fueled by PHP. In addition, more than 80% of the server-side webpages are created using PHP.

Some of The Other Applications of PHP Are :

4. PHP is used to create Desktop-based applications(GUI)
5. PHP can create Flash
6. Applications in the Data Analytics field

Latest PHP version: PHP 7.4

Now let’s have a brief review of some of the popular programming languages in 2021

#7. GO

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Go is created by Google with a syntax similar to C language. It is used in Google and Uber, and experts predict that the programming language will be popular in the future.

Some of The Benefits of Go Are:

  • High Efficiency and performance
  • Garbage collection
  • Multithreading
  • Usage in Cloud computing  

Latest GO version: version 1.16

#8. Kotlin

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The current world android development uses Kotlin. It supports Java and Java-based libraries. Kotlin is much easier to understand for beginners and better to handle for developers compared to conventional Java.

Kotlin can be used for web applications as well as desktop applications. Netflix, Uber, etc., are also supporting Kotlin as a token for future changes.

Latest Kotlin version : Kotlin 1.5.0

#9. Scala

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Scala supports object-oriented programming and functional programming methods. Netflix, Twitter, eBay, etc., are actively using it.

The simplicity and flexibility of the language make it popular among new generation developers. It was created to rectify the significant issues caused by the Java language. 

Scala is a simple programing language, just like Python. Therefore, it has great scope in the fields of Machine learning, Data analytics, web development, etc.

Latest Scala version: 3.0.2

#10. R

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The rapid growth of data science, data analytics, machine learning, etc., paved the way for developing a new programming language named R.

R, an open-source programming language with an extensive collection of libraries and frameworks. Facebook, Google, etc., are already using R for their data analytics and studies.

Some of the benefits of using R are:

  • Big data computation
  • Distributed computing
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • High-quality graphic representation

Latest R version: R-4.1.1

Conclusion

We cannot summarize the list of programming languages in a single article! Even though this list showcases the most popular languages of 2021, it doesn’t mean that what you are following is terrible.

Sometimes specific programming languages get more hype compared to the others based on the market trends. The current trend is Data!

So learning R will be a good thing for people who like to start/switch careers in business intelligence, quantitative analysis, data visualization, data analysis, etc. 

Learning new languages will always help acquire knowledge and build confidence. 

However, old languages and technologies are still used in the world. For example, C/C++ still has enormous demand in the market, just like python.

So the only question here is, Which programming language is best suited for the growth of your career? Plenty of choices are available for you!

Reference Links:

  1. https://bootcamp.berkeley.edu/blog/most-in-demand-programming-languages/
  2. https://thenextweb.com/news/most-in-demand-programming-languages-2021
  3. https://www.codingame.com/work/blog/hr-news-trends/top-10-in-demand-programming-languages/
  4. https://spectrum.ieee.org/top-programming-languages-2021
  5. https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/top-10-programming-languages-that-will-rule-in-2021/
  6. https://www.analyticsinsight.net/top-10-in-demand-programming-language-that-will-rule-in-2021/

Written by Jason

Hi! I’m the editor at EarthWeb. I have a deep interest in technology and business. I also enjoy testing products out. Contact me to be featured!