Which programming languages are being phased out? That’s an important question for recruiters who are building out teams and prioritizing candidates and skill-sets.
In order to determine which programming languages are likely to be phased out in the medium- to long-term, we looked at the popularity rankings by TIOBE and RedMonk, as well as Dice’s own database of job postings. If you are building a team based around any of the following languages, it might be increasingly difficult to find talent and could be worth diversifying skill-sets.
Once upon a time, Ruby enjoyed a fair amount of popularity. It was a top-ten programming language on TIOBE’s monthly list, and developers praised how easy it was to learn. But over the past 18 months, it has dipped in TIOBE’s rankings, from ninth to 12th place (after falling at one point to 16th).
Even more telling: An analysis of Dice job-posting data over the past year shows a startling dip in the number of companies looking for technology professionals who are skilled in Ruby. In 2018, the number of Ruby jobs declined 56 percent. That’s a huge indicator that companies are moving away from Ruby—and if that’s the case, the language’s user-base could rapidly erode with it.
Haskell is rumored to be headed for a major update in 2020. Several prominent firms and projects (Facebook, GitHub, etc.) have all used the programming language to implement vital programs at one point or another. However, Haskell continues to flatline on RedMonk’s long-term language rankings, suggesting that there’s virtually no developer buzz around it. Dying, or totally dead?
Apple’s Objective-C is 35 years old, and it’s clear that the company wants it dead. Five years ago, Apple executives took to the stage to unveil Swift, its new-and-improved programming language for its software ecosystem. No doubt they expected developers to quickly embrace Swift at Objective-C’s expense.
And to be fair, more developers have begun using Swift (especially as it’s become more feature-rich), but Objective-C hasn’t crashed as much in the popular-language rankings as some folks might have expected. Blame that on 35 years of legacy code, and many developers simply preferring to work with a programming language they’ve always used.
At some point, though, Objective-C will likely fade away entirely. Apple’s too keen on its eventual demise, and Swift is becoming an incredibly effective language for building iOS and macOS.
Years ago, R was an increasingly popular language for data analytics. Now, however, it seems that Python is rapidly swallowing up R’s market-share. Although R is still used by academics and data scientists, companies interested in data analytics are turning to Python for its scalability and ease of use. As a result, R has dipped on TIOBE's index of programming language popularity, and other studies have shown a slow decline in R usage in favor of Python.
If R is going to survive in any form, it’s because data analysts might end up using it in conjunction with Python. But even that scenario might end with R used by a handful of academics and nobody else. That’s not viable.
Even if RedMonk has Perl’s popularity declining, it’s still going to take a long time for the programming language to flatten out completely, given the sheer number of legacy websites that still feature its code. Nonetheless, widespread developer embrace of other languages for things like building websites, means that Perl is going to just fall into increasing disuse