Main image of article The Future's Biggest Programming Languages
Ask your average developer to name the most popular programming languages, and they’ll likely rattle off a list that includes JavaScript, PHP, C#, Python, Objective-C, and a handful of others—all easy to name, as they’re the languages that have collectively built the foundations of the IT world. But what will be the most popular languages next year, or even five years from now? While predicting the future is often a fool’s errand, there are signs a few lesser-known languages could become very big over the next decade. Check out the latest developer jobs. RedMonk, a tech-industry analyst firm, uses data from GitHub and Stack Overflow to create rankings of not only the most popular programming languages, but also the up-and-comers. Based on those analytics, it thinks that the R language will make big gains in coming years, thanks in large part to its utility in statistical analysis. Go, a programming language developed by Google, has likewise leapt up RedMonk’s rankings over the past year. “While the language has its critics, its growth prospects appear secure,” read a posting on RedMonk’s blog. “And should the Android support in 1.4 mature, Go’s path to becoming a Top 10 if not Top 5 language would be clear.” Julia and Rust both climbed the RedMonk list, as did Swift, which is Apple’s replacement for its popular Objective-C programming language. “Swift’s growth is more obvious on Stack Overflow than GitHub, where the most active Swift repositories are either educational or infrastructure in nature,” read RedMonk’s posting, “but even so the growth has been remarkable.” Despite the growth in these languages, none are likely to overcome the major ones—JavaScript, C#, and so on—anytime soon. By far the highest-ranking language on a recent Dice list of the fastest-growing tech skills, for example, was Python, while you’d be hard-pressed to find many job postings asking for developers skilled in Julia. But over the long term, these rising languages could assume much greater importance, especially (as in the case of Swift) if they become replacements for an existing, popular language.

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