Stack Overflow Survey: JavaScript Is the Most Popular Programming Language

For what it's worth.

According to the 56,033 developers surveyed by Stack Overflow as part of its annual user poll, JavaScript is again the most popular programming language. Other findings: developers are more into dogs than cats (except in Germany), are mostly self-taught, and are way more into Star Wars than Star Trek. Meanwhile, a mere 7 percent of adult developers would identify themselves as "rockstars" while another 10 percent consider themselves to be "ninjas." Would you even believe that 98.2 percent of them were also males? Males earning a mean annual income of $106,000, that is.

So, while "JavaScript is the most popular language can you even believe it" makes for a nice headline, there are some significant caveats here. For one thing, looking a bit closer will reveal that respondents were almost entirely web developers of some sort. So, it may be a bit more reasonable to say that JavaScript is the most popular web development programming language, which is a pretty well, duh result. JavaScript has been at the top of the Stack Overflow annual survey since 2013, as one would expect given the extent to which JS has become omnipresent on the web.

The other languages in the SO top 10 are mostly other web languages. These include SQL, which isn't quite a language in the same sense anyway, along with Angular.js and Node.js, which are both JavaScript frameworks. You will eventually find C and C++ way down on the list, as well as Python, but their showings are about what you'd expect given a survey of web developers.

You will find a much better, much less bro-centric look into the "most popular language" question via IEEE Spectrum's ranking, which is based on 12 metrics from 10 different sources (including job postings, GitHub code, published papers, etc). Relatively speaking, it's a scientific look, with conclusions more representative of the whole spectrum of code. Here, JavaScript comes in at number eight, behind Java, C, C++, Python, and emerging data powerhouse R.