The top 10 programming languages 2016

C is soooo hot right now

Written 4 years ago on Oct 27, 2016

Never mind the Great British Bake Off, the real competition everyone wants to know about in 2016 is the most popular programming languages list from IEEE Spectrum.

How do you compile a list of 'the most popular programming languages'?

Spectrum basically look at 12 different metrics from 10 different online sources and normalise these into one list. They provide an interactive version of the list where you can weight different metrics based on your own preferences and see the impact it has (see link below). The published version and its presets take into account the preferences of the average IEEE member.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at the Top 10 from the list...

The top 10 programming languages 2016


Any surprises in there for you? Personally I find it interesting that C tops the list in 2016, it's been there for 2 years now having knocked Java from the top spot, proof that Java really is having a tough time these days? I'll run through a basic, superficial history / overview of each language for those who aren't familiar with any from the list...


The original imperative, procedural daddy of all modern languages - developed in 1969 by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs.


Developed by James Gosling and released in 1995, Java is an object-oriented (OO), concurrent language designed to run on anything (running a JVM) without recompiling.


Created in the late 1980s by Guido van Rossum at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) (Netherlands). Python is a dynamic interpreted language, it's powerful but user friendly.


C++ was started in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup. Initially it was a project to add 'classes' and some other extra functionality to C. As a derivative of C it has low level memory capabilities making it a top choice for system development.


R was developed by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman in New Zealand in 1992. It's a language focused on statistical computing and graphics. It's popular now in big data applications.


That's C sharp, not C hashtag (OMG ## RTFM). C# is a Microsoft .NET language that sprang up in 1999. It remains popular thanks to web applications running on the .NET platform.


PHP was created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994. It was originally a set of scripts to pre-process content for web pages. It's since developed into a full OO language and the latest version PHP7 has addressed many of the issues developers had with the language.


Javascript is another dynamic, interpreted language. It began life inside web browsers (Netscape 2.0 in 1995) to provide some functionality for manipulating web pages. It's since been liberated and now is running applications on it's own on the V8 JavaScript Engine (other JS engines are available).


Ruby is a dynamic, OO, interpreted language developed in the mid 1990s by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Why is it so popular? One word... Rails.


Created by Google in 2007 by Robert Griesemer. Go (golang) is a compiled language designed to work efficiently with multicore and networked machines.

So there you have it, any surprising omissions in the Top 10? Perl? Bash? Visual Basic... (behave yourself). Check out the interactive version and the IEEE Spectrum analysis here:

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This is the question you're all dying to ask, I can sense it. We mainly use PHP to build web applications running on Linux with MySQL databases. Front end development is Javascript and CSS using Vue JS, JQuery, Bootstrap, Sass, Less, Webpack and a few others. We can also code backend applications in Javascript, and we've been known to write a few things in Python, Bash and Perl.

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