Top Programming Languages to Learn in 2018 (Part II)



And the list of programming languages to learn continues...

In a previous article, I highlighted five programming languages that one should consider learning in 2018. JavaScript, Python, Java, Swift, and PHP all found a spot in the list. But to limit yourself to only these five languages would be a mistake. There are always multiple factors to account for when deciding what language to tackle next. So, before deciding upon which one is for you, maybe take a moment think. What industry are you hoping to enter? Does your dream job require you to learn a specific language? What is currently in demand? Or maybe, it might just be that you’re interested in the language itself. But these are aspects to consider.

Once again, three reports will be called upon to support why these languages made it the list in comparison to others. They are: TIOBE, GitHub, and Stack Overflow. Here’s a short run-down on what they are:

Tiobe Programming index is a software quality company that has provided an index of what are the most popular programming languages. It’s calculated based on the number of search engine results for queries containing the programming language’s name. 

GitHub Octoverse is one of the most popular and largest coding repositories available online. The metric that will be used is from their statistics on the language with the most pull requests.

Stack Overflow is an online community where developers can come together to learn and share knowledge. Each year they conduct a 30-minute survey asking developers what are their favourite technologies, languages, work preferences, and much more. This article will focus on the category “Most Popular Programming, Scripting, and Markup Language” with 78,334 respondents, and released in January 2017. Although Stack Overflow’s list includes mark-up languages, this article focuses only on programming and scripting languages.

With that now clarified, it’s time to see what other languages you may want dive into:


This is a language with a steeper learning curve, so it might be slightly more of a challenge to learn. But don’t be scared off! Considering how the language is versatile and powerful, gaining the expertise in it would be a clever move. The ways that C++ can be used are aplenty. You can build mobile applications, web and desktop applications, use it in systems programming, and create video games. Major companies who have seen the value in the language and use it are Microsoft, PayPal, and Google. Even popular games you might have heard of, World of Warcraft and the Diablo franchise, are predominately written in this language as well. So, truly a multi-purpose language. In addition, it’ll give you foundational knowledge and insight into computer science and programming. For instance, if you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding into object oriented programming (OOP), C++ can help with that.

The Stats:

Looking at the stats provided in GitHub Octoverse, C++ came sixth (out of 337 unique programming languages) with roughly 413K open pulled requests. In Stack Overflow, C++ was made it into the top ten – resting in tenth place – most popular programming languages with 25.4%. Lastly, as of May 2018, C++ ranked third in TIOBE’s rankings with a rating of 7.688%.   


Next on our list is C#. Designed by Microsoft, here we have another general purpose and OOP language. Now why you should consider it… Well, to start off, the language is considered not as difficult to learn compared to other existing languages. On the one hand, it reads very much like English. And readability matters as it makes a language – especially for a beginner – easier to understand. On the other hand, it’s a statically typed language. That means the programmer must specify the type of a variable. This makes code easier to maintain as it monitors the possibility of minor bugs and errors. Just like C++, you can use C# to build web and mobile applications, and combined with the popular gaming development platform, Unity, it can create games. So, once more we have a language that offers you many different career paths!

The Stats:

C# does overall quite well in its ranking. It comes in 7th on GitHub Octoverse with 326K open pulled requests in 2017. Even though it isn’t as high as other languages, such as JavaScript, it still does considerably well in Stack Overflow’s listings. From those who took the survey, 34.4% of all respondents chose C# who took the survey choosing as their commonly preferred programming language. As for TIOBE, it placed fifth with 4.402% in May’s results. This was a significant rise compared to the 2.822% it reached in December of 2017.


Moving on, we have a language described as a great beginner language: Ruby. The defining characteristics of Ruby is that it’s easy to read, user-friendly, and clean. And because of this, you can be building your own app in no time! That explains why Ruby, like JavaScript, is commonly chosen by web development boot camps as the starter language for students. AirBnB and Groupon are examples of startups using Ruby to support their applications. If you plan to try it out, the compatible framework with this language is known as Ruby on Rails. But important to note, while a career with Ruby is often well-paid, it’s not as high in-demand as other languages. This means that finding a job may be a little harder.

The Stats:

In GitHub Octoverse, Ruby was placed at fourth with 870K opened pull requests made in 2017. Then, in the TIOBE’s index Ruby came in tenth with 1.182%. Ruby recently gained more popularity considering that before February 2018 the language had been out of the top ten spots for several months. Finally, on Stack Overflow 10.1% of all respondents chose Ruby as their (or one of their) preferences. Overall, while not always in the top five spots, Ruby does quite well overall in popularity amongst developers.


Go, also known as Golang, is a straightforward, readable, and a statically typed and compiled language created at Google. It is suited for building web and mobile applications, writing microservices. But what Go is recognized for is that it’s highly concurrent. Basically, more than one program can be run at the same time on it. And it’s not just Google that use this language, there’s Uber, Netflix, Docker, and New Relic. Already a strong list, so be sure to see it grow over the next few years as well.

The Stats:

Although Go isn’t leading in any of the reports used in this article, it still has gained popularity in the recent years. GitHub Octoverse shows that it achieved 285K opened pulled requests in 2017. So that means Go ranked better than Swift and C, two languages mentioned in my previous article. In Stack Overflow, it received 7.1% of votes – 2.8% higher than in 2017 survey’s. As for TIOBE, the popularity of Go in search engines fluctuates regularly and currently is recorded at 0.97%.

If you missed the first part of this article, check it out here.

What are the top computer programming languages to learn

Sophie van Wersch graduated with a B.A. from the University College of Maastricht, majoring in International Politics and Sociology. Soon after graduating, she made plans for a career change into the tech industry. This led to her attending the New York Code + Design Academy in Amsterdam where she completed a 3-month full-stack development bootcamp. She is now working as a web and back-end developer at the IBM Client Innovation Center Benelux in Amsterdam.

Follow Sophie: LinkedIn




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