The 15 most popular programming languages, according to the ‘Facebook for programmers’

GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath

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GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath
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GitHub

If you’re looking to get hired as a programmer, you’re going to need to know the right coding languages.

There are few better windows into the tech trends sweeping Silicon Valley than GitHub, the $2 billion startup that’s been called the “Facebook for programmers.” Each year, the company puts out its “Octoverse” report which lays out some of those trends, including the most popular programming languages among users of its site.

GitHub knows a lot about what’s going on in coding. It has some 24 million users in 200 countries who are working in 337 different programming languages. Those users include employees from some of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook. They all rely on GitHub for spreading their open source software to the world.

Here are the top languages they’re using, according to GitHub:


#15: Objective-C

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Getty

This offshoot of the C programming language is still the most popular way to build iPhone apps.


#14: Scala

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

First released in 2004, Scala was designed as an alternative to Oracle’s popular Java. Scala’s biggest boosters say it’s a better way to build large-scale software.


#13: Swift

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Taylor Swift rocks an iPhone circa 2012.
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Getty Images/Mike Coppola

Apple released Swift in 2014, and the company says it’s a better and easier way to build software. Swift has become trendy; Lyft, among others, used it to make its iPhone app.


#12: Shell

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Nintendo

Shell isn’t exactly a programming language. Instead, a shell script instructs an operating system to automatically run a pre-designed list of commands. For instance, a shell script might have an operating system convert every “.bmp” file to a “.jpg” whenever it’s run.


#11: TypeScript

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Flickr/Christian Gonzalez

Relatively young by programming language standards, TypeScript was created by Microsoft in 2012. It’s closely related to the mega-popular JavaScript and designed to run big applications.


#10: C

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Flickr

One of the oldest programming languages still in common use, C was created in the early 1970s. In 1978, the language’s legendary and still widely read manual, “The C Programming Language,” was published for the first time.


#9: Go

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Adam Berry/Getty

Go was originally designed by Google to build systems at the immense scale needed to power the world’s busiest search engine. It has since become a hit with developers who want to tap into that capability.


#8: C#

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A C# note.
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Wikimedia Commons

This language, pronounced “C-Sharp,” was also developed by Microsoft. It’s a rival to the even more popular Java and largely used by business software developers.


#7: CSS

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Wikimedia Commons

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, is the programming language that’s widely used to design websites and browser-based apps.


#6: C++

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Bjarne Stroustrup, inventor of C++
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Wikimedia Commons

Another offshoot of the C programming language, C++, which was originally created in 1983, can be found in everything from desktop web apps to server infrastructure.


#5: PHP

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An Internet meme explains the feeling many programmers have about PHP.
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Reddit

Big web companies including Yahoo and Facebook use PHP as the code behind their flagship sites. Meanwhile, many programmers hate PHP with a passion.

“PHP isn’t so much a language as a random collection of arbitrary stuff, a virtual explosion at the keyword and function factory,” Stack Overflow founder Jeff Atwood once wrote.


#4: Ruby

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Sergio Caltagirone via Wikimedia Commons

Ruby has won lots of acclaim for being easy to read and write. Also popular is Rails, an add-on framework for Ruby that makes it simple to build web apps. The language’s official motto is “A programmer’s best friend.”


#3: Java

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Sam Howzit/Flickr

Java was originally invented by Sun Microsystems in 1991 as a programming language for interactive television systems. Since purchasing Sun, Oracle has turned Java into a powerhouse. The programming language is the most common way to build Android apps.


#2: Python

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Members of Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force hold a python believed to be 26 feet long and found on Penang island.
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Herme Herisyam/Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

Python dates back to 1989 and is loved by its fans for its highly readable code. Many programmers believe it’s the easiest language to get started with.


#1 JavaScript

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Shutterstock

Despite the similarity of their names and popularity, JavaScript doesn’t actually have much to do with Java. JavaScript underlies much of the modern web, but it also catches a lot of flak for slowing browsers and sometimes exposing users to security vulnerabilities.


For bonus points, here’s the chart showing these languages’ relative popularity.

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GitHub

The chart shows the number of pull requests (requests to download and change a project’s code) in each language. Pull requests aren’t a perfect proxy for popularity, but they’re a good indicator. And take note JavaScript’s huge margin of victory.

You can view GitHub’s full report here.