Popular and Trending Programming Languages for 2021

Pie chart of most popular languages based on Github Data 2020
Example languages for various software specializations
Taken from dataflair


According to Microsoft’s Github data, Javascript is the most popular language as of the end of 2020. Javascript is an essential language for web developers, with all modern browsers supporting it. It is a client-side script which speeds up execution time and its data validation is also done in browser rather than server. The browser will only need to update the selected portion of the page rather than a full refresh. The language allows us to create interactive web pages that can dynamically display information to the user.

Taken from dataflair


Right behind Javascript is Python, a language also known as beginner friendly. Its syntax was designed on being user-friendly, possibly the most on this list, with a mantra of “There should be one — and preferably only one — obvious way to do it”. It has been rising in popularity in the world of data science, while R is often favored by data scientists at academic institutions, Python is known as a general language with broader applications. Many programmers have been advocating Python for a great general use language to learn with a lower entry barrier. My colleague with a Master’s in Data Science learned R and Python for his program, but exclusively uses Python in the industry and has not touched R yet.

Images taken from dataflair


Java was designed to be a loosely coupled language, so that an app written in Java can run on any platform that supports it, known as Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA). Its conception stemmed from programmers trying to create an alternative to C++. They wanted a language that was easily portable, novice-friendly(perhaps not as much as Python), and had automated memory management. The end result was Java, which has current day strengths in enterprise computing for finance and the Android mobile OS.

Java hello world requires an object vs. Python, taken from reddit.com/r/programmerhumor
Taken from devathon


Go is one of the younger languages on this list, being developed by software engineers at Google and released in 2009, with a very recent rise in popularity. It was designed to be an efficient, readable, and more secure language for systems programming (designing computer software). They based it off of C, retaining much of the same functionality but with a less steep learning curve. Being a compiled language, it has stronger performance, fast runtime, and utilizes resources of a processor more efficiently. It works well for distributed systems that are located on different networks and exchange information between each other. Go also has gained uses in machine learning and data pipelines, in part due to having such a powerful parent (Google) promoting and supporting its usage.


C is a language that first appeared in 1972, as a low-level procedural language, while C++ built upon those foundations to incorporate procedural and object-oriented programming. With derivations from one the older and more popular languages, C++ has many uses, being known as THE language to learn back in the day if you desired a program that would run smoothly. It has wide support, being released in 1983 and is a powerful compiled language with great runtime. It has many uses in high performance client/server applications, video games, device drivers, embedded software, and mathematical modeling to name a few. Being a multi-paradigm language, its 3 pillars are generic, imperative, and object-oriented. Generic refers to having a single idea that can be used for several purposes. Imperative explicitly tells a program through statements in order to change its state, compared to declarative that expresses the logic without describing the control flow.

Taken from medium Data Driven Investors


Swift is in a way similar to Go, it was created by Apple in 2014 and is used for iOS/mac OS applications. On the flip side of Apple we have Android, with Java being heavily used by Android, until they recently created their own language in 2017 called Kotlin, that is an alternative to Java. Since Apple is a huge leader in the tech industry, Swift is relevant for many products ranging from iPhones, iPad, Macs, Apple watches, and so far. The Apple Store has a large impact as well, with Apple estimating it being responsible for $519 billion in billings just in 2019, and $64 billion in gross sales in 2020.

Taken from Stackoverflow

Closing Thoughts

This post was just meant to highlight a portion of popular languages I believe is beneficial for complete beginners to consider learning. The above graph is just one opinion on popular languages, but other websites will give differing results. There are many others that I did not include due to being more specialized such as HTML, SQL, Rust, PHP, and R just to mention a few. .At the end of the day, what you learn will be based on the field that you enter, so there is no one language that is superior to others. A hammer may be better at a specific task than a saw or screwdriver, but there will be instances where the other tools are more optimal. If I were to give a generalized opinion, I think Javascript is a great entry point for web development, and Python being the other language to cover a broader spectrum. Lastly, for a fun closing thought and shed some light on how varied programming languages are, I’m including a link to some very interesting languages. Remember that coding is a long journey and it never hurts to diversify your talent pool to remain competitive, best of luck in your careers!

Proud Bruin and Software engineer

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