Main image of article Could GitHub's Fastest-Growing Language Threaten JavaScript, Python?

With 73 million developers on its platform, GitHub is the world’s largest code repository. Which programming languages are all those millions of developers using the most? And which lesser-used ones are on the rise?

GitHub’s latest State of the Octoverse provides a long-term visualization of the platform’s top languages. As you might expect, the top ranks are dominated by JavaScript, Python, and Java:

It’s worth noting that GitHub’s data dovetails neatly with SlashData’s recent analysis of the world’s largest software-development communities, which named JavaScript as the programming language with the biggest community worldwide (and also the fastest-growing). In addition to JavaScript’s community of 16.4 million users, Python (11.3 million) and Java (9.6 million) had also built substantial followings. 

Developers should also pay attention to the rapid rise of TypeScript on GitHub’s list. Technically, TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, which means that whatever you code in it is transpiled to JavaScript. Many developers (and lists of the world’s top programming languages) regard TypeScript as a full-on programming language, although just as many technologists seem to take issue with that.

Given how TypeScript and JavaScript are tightly entwined, you would expect that the latter’s enduring popularity would drive the former’s rise. Clearly, many of those developers who use JavaScript are turning to TypeScript because of its insanely useful features; many newer technologists might also be starting off with TypeScript before they master JavaScript. Newer TypeScript features include speed boosts and much more.

On GitHub, TypeScript has already surpassed languages such as C# and PHP. Overtaking Python, Java, and JavaScript would prove a much harder lift. These languages are firmly embedded in the codebases and workflows of many thousands of organizations around the world, with a multiplicity of specialized and generalist use-cases; they’re not fading anytime soon, to put it mildly.

For technologists everywhere, the latest GitHub programming-language update may provide some food for thought. While newer, up-and-coming languages such as Kotlin and Swift are fun to use, older and well-established languages continue to serve as the engines of software development worldwide; they might be decades-old, but they’re as good as ever at helping you unlock opportunities—provided you master them.