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For beginners in the world of programming, the biggest dilemma is to decide where to begin or which language one should master for career benefits. At times, professional coders also face a situation where learning a new language seems more fruitful.

Whatever may be the reason, here is a list of the most popular programming languages across the world to know which languages are ruling the charts. This list is based on the data sourced from TIOBE Programming Community Index, which is a popular indicator of the popularity of programming languages.

TIOBE calculates the ratings by analyzing data from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon, Baidu, and YouTube. Variables like the number of professional developers worldwide, training courses, and third-party vendors have also factored in this list.

Top 10 Programming Languages In 2018

The following list contains the top 20 programming languages and their performance in comparison to last year’s ratings. After that, top 10 languages have been individually described in brief:

June 2018 Jun 2017 Change Programming Language Ratings Change
1 1 Java 15.37% 0.0088
2 2 C 14.94% 0.0809
3 3 C++ 8.34% 0.0261
4 4 Python 5.76% 0.0143
5 5 C# 4.31% 0.0078
6 6 Visual Basic .NET 3.76% 0.0065
7 8 PHP 2.88% 0.0011
8 7 JavaScript 2.50% -0.53%
9 SQL 2.34% 0.0234
10 14 R 1.45% -0.70%
11 11 Ruby 1.25% -0.97%
12 18 Objective-C 1.18% -0.78%
13 16 Visual Basic 1.15% -0.86%
14 9 Perl 1.15% -1.16%
15 12 Swift 1.15% -1.06%
16 10 Assembly language 0.92% -1.34%
17 17 MATLAB 0.89% -1.10%
18 15 Go 0.88% -1.17%
19 13 Delphi/Object Pascal 0.88% -1.28%
20 20 PL/SQL 0.85% -0.72%

Now let’s talk about the ones that have managed to secure top 10 positions in this list:

1. Java – the undisputed winner

Java still continues to top the most popular programming languages charts as it did a year ago. According to TIOBE’s data, Java has secured the first and second positions more than any other languages for about a couple of decades. A large number of renowned companies use Java to develop software and applications so if you happen to know Java, you definitely won’t have to struggle to find a job. The major reasons behind the popularity of Jave are its portability, scalability and a large community of users.

Learn Java from Scratch

2. The good old C programming language

As one of the oldest programming language, C still stands tall, thanks to its portability feature and early adoption by tech giants including Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple. It can work with nearly every system and is highly suitable for operating systems and embedded systems. Since it has a relatively small runtime, C makes the perfect choice for keeping such systems lean. Highly recommended for beginners, C is essentially the universal language of programming languages and has given birth to spinoffs like C++ and C# which are also quite popular.

C programming for beginners

3. C++ continues to dominate

This object-oriented programming language was developed in 1980s and is still found in numerous systems from desktop web apps to server infrastructure. C++ still remains in demand owing to its flexibility, performance and multiple contexts where you can use it. A career in C++ would usually involve the development of desktop applications which are focused on performance-intensive tasks. Mastery of C++ can give a deeper understanding of how programming languages and help in acquiring low-level memory manipulation skills.

C++ for absolute beginners

4. Python – on the rise

The last 15 years have seen a steady growth in the popularity of Python. It has been able to secure a spot in the top 5 of TIOBE index since the past couple of years. As the major language behind some of the most promising technologies today such as AI, machine learning, Big Data and robotics, Python has amassed a huge fanbase in the recent years. You will be surprised by learning how easy it is to learn Python and this is the reason why many seasoned developers opt Python as their second or third language.

Python 3 Bootcamp

5. C# – Game developers’ favorite

C# is a modern object-oriented programming language that was developed by Microsoft to rival Java, which was heavily used by business software developers at that time. It was designed for developing apps on the Microsoft platform and needs the .NET framework on Windows to work. Like the previous year, C# has maintained a steady position with no major shift in its graph. You can use C# to develop almost anything but it’s particularly strong in case of Windows desktop applications and games development.

The Complete C# Foundation

6. Visual Basic .NET

Visual Basic .NET continues to hold the sixth position as last year in the index. It is one of Microsoft’s OOP language which combines the power of .NET Framework-based classes and run-time environment. Derived from VB6, it is well known for the development of GUI applications making tasks easier for programmers and improving productivity. For coders, VB .NET offers a fast and easy way to create desktop applications for Windows platform as well as web-services and web development.

Guide to VB.NET

7. PHP for web development

According to TIOBE, PHP has moved up to number seven in TIOBE most popular programming language ranking displacing JavaScript as a more preferred scripting language. PHP is mostly used on the server side for web development accounting for about 80% percent of websites on the internet. Facebook began its journey with PHP and its role in the WordPress content management system makes it quite popular. PHP offers several frameworks like Laravel and Drupal to help developers build applications faster with more scalability and robustness. So if you are looking for a career in web development, PHP is not a bad choice to begin with.

Advanced PHP programming

8. JavaScript is an essential

This year saw some decline in its usage making it slide down to a position below than last year. But all software developers these days use JavaScript in some way or the other. Used along with HTML and CSS, it is essential for front-end web development that creates interactive web pages and displays content dynamically to users. Over 90% of the websites use this language and is one of the friendliest programming languages for learners to begin with. So, there will be no shortage of opportunities if you master JavaScript. However, you will need to learn other supporting languages and frameworks to pursue a career as a front-end developer for desktop, mobile app or game development.

JavaScript: Complete Guide

9. SQL

SQL has made a remarkable growth by securing the ninth place; given that it couldn’t make it to the top 20 programming languages in TIOBE index last year. Despite the presence of other database technology, this standard query language for managing databases has been reigning for the past four decades. The reason being its simplicity, reliability, ubiquity and an active community that does a lot to keep this open source language around. SQL is typically is easier for beginners to learn compared to other languages and as far as a career path is concerned, several well-paying jobs like Data Analyst require SQL as a must.

Fundamental SQL Programming

10. Programmers R loving it

The demand for R programming language and the number of people using it is increasing rapidly in the recent years. It is evident from its TIOBE ranking which has significantly improved by four places moving up from 14 to 10. For data scientist, R stands as the number one choice for statistics, graphic representation, and data visualization analysis. It has turned into a Big Data tool and finds its uses in machine learning, and some areas of scientific computing too. The scope and future of R programming look quite promising, and it is definitely stable and profitable career choice for people interested in data science.

Complete Introduction to R

It’s time to code

So this concludes the list of most popular programming languages you should learn in 2018. I hope this article helps you choose the right language career path based on your interests and the type of software development you would like to indulge in. Since each language has its pros and cons,  take your time in weighing each option and choose accordingly. More importantly, make sure you hold a good command over the language you choose for programming. Until then, enjoy coding!

Also Read: Best Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages To Learn 
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