The SlashData survey received responses from over 19,000 people in 155 nations, and it differs slightly from other language popularity rankings from GitHub, RedMonk, Stack Overflow, and Tiobe.
Python users account for the second-largest developer community, with 10.1 million users, compared to 9.4 million Java developers.
The top three programming languages are the same as those mentioned by developer analyst firm RedMonk, which uses data from GitHub and Stack Overflow to compile its rankings.
C/C++ (7.3 million), Microsoft’s C# (6.5 million), and PHP (5.3 million) are the next three biggest developer groups, according to SlashData (6.3 million). Other common programming languages include Kotlin, Swift, Go, Ruby, Objective C, Rust, and Lua.
According to SlashData, Python is the fastest growing language, with over six million developers, and 70 percent of machine learning (ML) developers report using it, thanks to ML libraries including Google’s TensorFlow, Facebook’s PyTorch, and NumPy. However, Python is also commonly used to automate backend systems.
“For context,” SlashData points out, “only 17 percent use R, the other language often correlated with data science.”
However, according to SlashData, the two fastest growing programming language groups in the last 12 months were Rust and Lua, although from a lower base than Python.
Rust isn’t commonly used, but its ecosystem broke free from Mozilla’s shadow this year, forming the Rust Foundation, which is supported by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google, and Mozilla.
Because of its memory protection assurances, Google is aiming for Rust to become a second language for the Linux kernel and is using it to write new code for the Android operating system. Crates, Rust’s package management framework, is also well-liked by developers.