Web Developer working on work projects at a cafe

GitHub’s annual State of the Octoverse breaks down the most popular languages on the world’s largest code repository. Given GitHub’s size, the fastest-growing and most popular languages on the platform are, by default, some of the most-used on the planet. Let’s also dig into Github language trends and see which languages have enjoyed the most usage year-over-year.

There are currently 94 million developers on GitHub, and the platform saw 413 million open-source contributions in 2022. Within that mountain of code, JavaScript remains the most-utilized language among its developers, followed by Python and Java. TypeScript, an ultra-popular superset of JavaScript (meaning whatever you code in it is transpiled into JavaScript), has held steady in fourth place since 2020.

What’s behind the enduring popularity of these top languages? First and foremost, they’re all used in a variety of functions, from building and maintaining websites to machine learning. Once a language has been in wide use for years, they’re deeply baked into companies’ tech stacks and developers’ legacy code, and thus difficult to replace with an up-and-coming language. 

Here’s a breakdown of GitHub’s language rankings going back to 2014:

Given their popularity, it might pay off to become familiar with JavaScript, Python, and Java, the top three languages on this list, which are likely to hold their respective positions for quite some time to come.

Learning JavaScript, Python, and Java

If you’re curious about learning JavaScript, take GitHub’s data as assurance that companies and developers everywhere find the language immensely useful. If you don’t know where to start your JavaScript journey, consider hackr.io, which lists a variety of courses and tutorials (and for many other languages, as well). Mozilla also has a resource with a very nice rundown of the language’s basics (comments, operators, variables, and so on). On the fundamentals front, JavaScript.info is another option. 

When applying for a job as a JavaScript developer, keep in mind that many interview questions will focus on your experiences with the language. It also pays to familiarize yourself with the most popular JavaScript frameworks, since you’ll utilize them quite a bit. Mastering JavaScript won’t just make you popular in the context of GitHub’s open-source projects; it’s also the most in-demand skill among freelancers, according to a study by Upwork

If you want to learn Python, another ubiquitous language, start by visiting Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. There are also Python tutorials at various online learning portals, including Datacamp (whose Introduction to Python course includes 11 videos and 57 exercises), Udemy (which offers a variety of free introduction courses, including one for “absolute beginners”), Codecademy, and the Microsoft Developer YouTube channel (“Python for Beginners” has dozens of lessons, most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes).

Java is likewise popular among developers, thanks in large part to “write once, run anywhere” (WORA), which means it can run on any device with a Java virtual machine (JVM). If you’re looking for help from a community of Java experts, Oracle maintains a forum where you can ask questions and review what others are doing, as well as a tutorial site. There’s also a subreddit for those needing Java help and tutorials

Whatever languages you choose to learn, keep in mind that mastering the most popular ones can translate into rich opportunities. In addition, knowing Python, JavaScript, and Java will allow you to participate in more open-source projects on GitHub, which can be fun and educational.