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Comparing the Top 10 Programming Languages of 2023

2 min readView all articles
By Alice Zhao
Sep 19, 2023

Earlier this year, Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey was released with over 90,000 responses about which technologies developers are using, what they’re most excited about, etc.

I decided to dive a bit deeper into the top 10 programming languages that are currently used by developers today.

comparing popularity vs release year of programming languages

Most Popular: JavaScript, HTML/CSS and TypeScript

The most popular languages are currently JavaScript and HTML/CSS, with TypeScript coming in at #5. These languages are mainly used for web development and were all introduced within the past 30 years. TypeScript, which enhances JavaScript development, is the newest player of the three and was created just over 10 years ago by Microsoft.

Most Versatile: Python

The third most popular programming language at the moment is Python. Python is widely used by both beginners and experienced programmers. While its syntax is relatively straightforward, it can be quite powerful and handle large data sets and complex tasks.

Another notable characteristic of Python is that it’s used within a variety of domains, from data analysis to game development to web development.

Personally, as a data scientist, it’s my favorite programming language (check out my recent Data Science in Python course) and I think it’s a great first programming language to learn.

The Backbone: SQL

One reason it’s so surprising to see SQL in the top four is that it’s on the older end – it was introduced to the world almost 50 years ago! That said, it’s still going strong.

SQL is the language used for working with relational databases, which is where companies typically store their data. That means that anyone who wants to access company data will likely need to write SQL code to do so, including:

  • Web developers who mainly code in HTML / CSS / JavaScript
  • Software engineers who mainly code in Java
  • Data scientists who mainly code in Python

Along with their main programming languages, people in all these roles will also use SQL to work with structured data, which is why you see SQL as a part of so many tech stacks.

The Assistant: Shell

The shell is a general term used to describe programs that provide a command line interface, including Bash, Zsh, PowerShell, etc. These scripting languages allow you to interact with a computer’s operating system and perform tasks like automation, batch processing, interacting with version control systems like git, etc.

The Workhorses: Java, C#, C++ and C

These general purpose programming languages round out the top 10. They’re known for their versatility, performance, and wide range of applications. Most computer science majors will learn at least one of these in school. The programming languages were created from the 1970s to the 2000s, and continue to have relevance today in the ever-evolving landscape of software development.

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Author

Alice Zhao

Alice Zhao is a seasoned data scientist and author of the book, SQL Pocket Guide, 4th Edition (O'Reilly). She has taught numerous courses in Python, SQL, and R as a data science instructor at Maven Analytics and Metis, and as a co-founder of Best Fit Analytics.

Alice Zhao is a seasoned data scientist and author of the book, SQL Pocket Guide, 4th Edition (O'Reilly). She has taught numerous courses in Python, SQL, and R as a data science instructor at Maven Analytics and Metis, and as a co-founder of Best Fit Analytics.

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