Developers Survey

JavaScript, GitHub, AWS Crowned Winners in Massive 32,000 Developers Survey

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Developers survey across the world reveal their tools, language choices, and more

A survey of nearly 32,000 developers has confirmed the dominance of JavaScript, showing a remarkable 91 per cent using GitHub, and growth in use of AWS despite the efforts of Microsoft and Google.

The survey was huge, with sections on 13 different programming languages, big data, databases, DevOps, developer demographics, microservices, collaborating tools, testing, and more.

JavaScript topped the language popularity charts, with 69 per cent usage, or 39 per cent when developers were asked to specify their “primary programming language.”

This is the same as last year, though it should perhaps be combined with TypeScript, which has risen from 12 to 13 per cent. More notable perhaps is that Java has declined from 37 to 32 per cent, while PHP is up from 15 to 22 per cent.

All is not what it seems. The “State of the Developer Ecosystem” survey is annual, but the 2021 effort was the biggest yet, up from just under 20,000 respondents last year.

Why the difference? JetBrains told us that the 2021 survey is global, whereas previously it targeted “18 countries, which contains 70 per cent of developers in the world.” JetBrains noted that these additional developers tended to use more PHP and less Java. Still, it means that the company no longer argues that Java is the world’s most used primary programming language, and has conceded that title to JavaScript.

Language trends over 5 years

Language trends over 5 years, in answer to the question ‘what programming languages have you used in the last 12 months?’

Language losers? No big surprises. Scala was down from 5 to 3 per cent “used in the last 12 months.” Visual Basic was down from 5 to 4 per cent. Objective-C was down from 4 to 3 per cent. And even Swift, once the bright star of new languages, down from 9 to 7 per cent (though the expanded regions could be a factor there).

There were some notable regional differences. Java was most popular in China and South Korea. The UK was above average for use of JavaScript, PHP, and Python, the USA for JavaScript and Python, and India for JavaScript, Python, and C++, for example.

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