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The most popular programming languages and frameworks of 2017 with 2018 predictions

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The most popular programming languages and frameworks of 2017 with 2018 predictions

Out with the old, in with the new. That is how tech is supposed to work right?

It can seem to an outsider that technologies come and go faster than fashions on the Paris Catwalk. But if you hire developers, you have to stay abreast of these trends for fear of being late to the party when the next big trend technology needs to be sourced.

To help you out, we’ve checked a few of the big end-of-year technology studies to give you a look at what was big in 2017 and a window into what will be big in 2018.

The main source we are using is a handy study of Hacker News’s jobs board, neatly organized and analyzed by Hacker News Hiring Trends. Not only does it evaluate programming languages, but it looks at the technologies that are sought after among the startup skewed (according to freeCodeCamp) ads on the job board.

The next source we’ve looked at is the Stack Overflow 2017 Developer Survey. This is a survey that is carried out with Stack Overflow’s worldwide developer audience and provides a detailed snapshot of the types of things they are working on.

Finally, we had a look at open source repository GitHub. With 24 million users, they represent pretty much the entire open source community. Their State of the Octoverse 2017 report is a fantastic snapshot of which programming languages are most popular in the open source community.

So after an exhaustive reading of these sources, we alighted upon some interesting trends in 2017 that will have important implications for tech in 2018.

Is it JavaScript’s year?

The rise of front-end browser applications has solidified the importance of JavaScript and this year is no different. It’s speed and simplicity, according to Stackify, make it perfect both for frontend and backend applications, as is borne out in the Hacker News rankings (the top technology React is a Javascript library but more on that in a bit).

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: Hacker News Trends

In the open source playground, GitHub, JavaScript received over twice as many pull requests as Python, the next most popular programming language.

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: GitHub

But while JavaScript isn’t going anywhere, the interconnected web of technologies based on JavaScript are in a constant state of upheaval and 2017 is no exception. The big story is that the React library is the most popular technology advertised for on Hacker News. This is in large part due to the patronage of its creator Facebook but it is not the only JavaScript story

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: Hacker News Trends

Node.JS, the JavaScript server-side library continues to go up along with relative newcomer Vue.

Elsewhere, according to the Stack Overflow 2017 developer survey, which skews towards more established businesses (according to their own data) than Hacker News, has found that of the top four libraries used by professional developers, AngularJS comes out on top with Node.js coming after and React in fourth.

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2017

So why the disparity? Why would startups be more interested in React while more established businesses go for AngularJS? Well, React has taken much longer to gain popularity than AngularJS, a library championed and maintained by Google, partially because of licensing issues, explained in depth here on freeCodeCamp, that were only resolved in September. The result is that AngularJS has gained much more popularity for mainstream business applications.

But AngularJS is starting to show its age and React is surging ahead in the startup space which should spread more widely. Google has responded to this by developing a new iteration of Angular version 2 and above (or simply Angular). With its stable release in November ‘17 it is still very much in its infancy but expect AngularJS to lose more ground to React and Angular 2+ as they become more popular.

Elsewhere there are other examples of new technologies supplanting their older counterparts.

CoffeeScript, a transcompiler of JavaScript, is giving way to Typescript, a Microsoft designed challenger.

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: Hacker News Trends

Additionally, Backbone and JQuery have felt the bite of React’s rise and are on their way out.

Is it JavaScript's year?Source: Hacker News Trends

The biggest lesson that can be gleaned from the constant tectonic shifts in the JavaScript landscape is that while it will continue to be a dominant programming language, the technologies behind it will continue to shift. Expect React, Node.js, and Typescript to be big in 2018.

New programming languages to look out for

New programming languages to look out forSource: Hacker News Trends

Don’t let the drama in the JavaScript arena distract you. There are also new programming languages which were also on the rise in 2017 and should continue to gain more prominence in 2018. Four of these stand out.

Go is a new programming language announced by Google in 2009. Praised for its efficiency and scalability, Explained here by Keval Patel, it is rapidly becoming a popular choice for server-side applications.

Kotlin is another new programming language, first appearing in 2011. It aims to compile as quickly as Java while including more features. As of the release of Android Studio 3 in October ‘17, it is fully supported by Android, making it much more useful while avoiding the legal baggage Java brings with it. This has helped it jump in Hacker News from 150th place in 2016 to 87th place.

Rust is a high-level replacement for C/C++ created and supported by Mozilla. It is designed to run as quickly and efficiently as C but without C’s security vulnerabilities. Not only that, it is immensely popular with the programmers who use it. According to Stack Overflow, it is the most loved programming language out there, meaning that more developers who use it want to continue doing so.

New programming languages to look out forSource: Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2017

Elixir is another new general purpose programming language that has a particularly useful feature: it can support many more simultaneous connections, explained beautifully by Rudi Cilibrasi, than Python or Ruby. This makes it particularly well suited for communication systems like messenger apps or connecting IoT devices.

Mobile trending towards hybrid solutions

Mobile is an area that has seen a ton of benefits in recent years but the big news of 2017 is that platform-specific skill sets (Android and IOS) are becoming less and less popular.

Mobile trending towards hybrid solutionsSource: Hacker News Trends

But don’t think for a second that this represents a general downward trend in the demand for mobile development. Instead what we see is that frameworks like Xamarin, Firebase, and Cordova becoming more popular. In fact, mobile hybrid solutions make up three of the top 10 most loved frameworks, libraries, and technologies according to Stack Overflow.

Mobile trending towards hybrid solutionsSource: Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2017

So, still expect to be recruiting for mobile in 2018, just expect that you will be moving away from devs with platform-specific skills towards devs who can develop cross-platform.

Hyped developer technologies of 2018

Like in any field, there are hyped technologies that grab all of the headlines and software is certainly not immune. The big 4 of machine learning, data science, AI, and blockchain have all seen a rise this year.

Hyped developer technologies of 2018Source: Hacker News Trends

Expect each of these to continue to increase in popularity in the coming year.

Programming languages that aren’t going anywhere

If you read look at the top 20 technologies advertised in Hackerrank you will find only 5 programming languages listed among the technologies. This might suggest that technologies are more important than knowledge of programming languages. It is certainly true that certain technologies are more popular but there are certain programming languages that aren’t going anywhere.

As you can see, demand for Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby is pretty consistent:

Programming languages that aren’t going anywhereSource: Hacker News Trends

These four programming languages continue to be relevant. Why is that? Of the top 50 technology requested in Hacker News: these programming languages are involved with a great number:

Technologies that use Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby

Python JavaScript Java Ruby
AWS React  AWS  PostgreSQL
PostgreSQL AWS  PostgreSQL  DevOps
Machine Learning Node.js  Machine Learning  Rails
DevOps DevOps  Data Science  Linux
Data Science AngularJS  Linux  Front End
Django Linux  Elasticsearch
Linux Redux  AI
Elastics search Front End  Kafka
 AI  React Native  Blockchain
Front End  Typescript

Source: Hacker News Trends

What 2018 will bring

It is shaping up to be a dynamic year:

  • Programming languages like Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby will continue to be relevant in 2018.
  • The popularity of the frameworks, libraries, and technologies that use these programming languages will continue to change.
  • Javascript technologies will continue to duke it out for supremacy and mobile development will become more cross-platform.
  • New programming languages like Rust, Kotlin, Go, and Elixir will continue to become more relevant.
  • Technologies like Blockchain, Machine Learning, AI, and Data Science will continue to be more sought after.

Additionally, there are some topics will be covering in upcoming posts but we expect to have a big impact on the coming year.

  • The move from regular to serverless applications will accelerate with technologies like AWS Lambda and Azure Functions growing in popularity
  • Technologies like the internet of things an automation will grow in demand.
  • The importance of containers and orchestration will continue to grow, raising the demand for technologies like Docker, Swarm, Kubernetes, Mesos, and DC/OS.
  • As a part of the move away from platform-specific mobile technologies, expect to see progressive web apps become more common.

Happy hunting in 2018!

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