Main image of article 10 Fastest-Growing Languages on GitHub Offer Some Surprises

Many software developers devote their time and resources to learning the world’s most popular programming languages, such as Python and JavaScript. As a strategy, that makes sense: you want to know the languages behind most of the world’s apps and services. But it’s also worth keeping an eye on up-and-coming languages that could hit the mainstream in coming years.

GitHub, as part of its annual Octoverse report, has a breakdown of the programming languages that enjoyed the most growth on the massive code repository between 2021 and 2022. You’re probably familiar with many of these languages, although the one in the top spot might surprise you: HCL.

“The Hashicorp Configuration Language (HCL) saw significant growth in usage over the past year,” GitHub wrote in a note accompanying the data. “This was driven by the growth in the popularity of the Terraform tool and IaC practices to increasingly automate deployments (notably, Go and Shell also saw big increases).”

Rust, in second place, was another big winner. “Rust saw a more than 50 percent increase in its community, driven in part by its security and reliability,” the note added. “And Python continued to see gains in its usage across GitHub with a 22.5 percent year-over-year increase driven, in part, by its utility in data science and machine learning.”

Rust has become increasingly popular among software developers and engineers, particularly as an alternative to C++. It’s managed to linger in the top 20 on the TIOBE Index, a monthly update of the world’s most popular programming languages, and it’s utilized by a nifty cross-section of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Atlassian, Microsoft, Meta, and a wide range of fintech, A.I., cloud, and automation firms.

Meanwhile, TypeScript has also enjoyed burgeoning attention. Technically, TypeScript is an open-source superset of the ultra-popular and well-established JavaScript, but many programming-language rankings treat it as a full programming language unto itself. Many developers enjoy how TypeScript’s features (including type safety and generics) allow them to effectively manage the complexities of programming in JavaScript.

It’s always worth familiarizing yourself with the world’s most popular programming languages such as Python, C++, and JavaScript. But if you find your experience with those languages frustrating, take a look at languages such as Rust that are designed as easier-to-use alternatives; you could find the experience quite enjoyable.