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The programming languages taking over in 2024 and beyond

5 mins

Germany was the largest market for software in Europe in 2023, accounting for almost a quart...

Germany was the largest market for software in Europe in 2023, accounting for almost a quarter of the continent’s $146.7bn market value—followed in second and third place by the UK and France. At the same time, tech start-ups continue to sprout in these nations, with the number of new startups across the continent growing by 20% each year since 2019. This wave of innovation is driving trends in the most in-demand programming languages in 2024, with the software engineering landscape looking much different for developers from previous years. 

Under these circumstances, it’s likely that you’ll have plenty of questions that need addressing, from “what are the best web development languages for my business to focus on?” all the way through to wondering what database programming or robotics programming paradigms your talented employees ought to hone their skills in to ensure that you can remain competitive. 

In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions, alongside discussing which programming languages software development team leaders should prioritise their hiring and learning and development efforts in 2024. Our list of the top 5 most in-demand programming languages will draw on GitHub’s 2022 data on user queries and community growth, which provides us with an excellent way to gauge programming language popularity. 

The Top 5 Most In-Demand Programming Languages in 2024

So, what are the most in-demand programming languages in 2024? Our list features some familiar names from previous years, taking the top three slots. However, we’ve also seen the rapid growth of the two other languages that we’ve highlighted, which coincides with the increased attention being paid to machine learning and automation over the last twelve months. 

1. JavaScript

JavaScript remains the technology to learn in 2024 if you’re focused on front or back-end web development languages. As one of the most in-demand programming languages, over 17 million developers across the globe utilise it to build powerful, interactive online experiences. 

Commonly used in the front-end of a web app to create dynamic pages, complex animations, or track user journies and ensure a cohesive site experience, JavaScript is also growing in popularity for back-end development, with frameworks such as Node.js, Koa.js, and Express.js helping engineers to store, retrieve, and process data quickly and securely.

The enduring popularity of JavaScript could be down to the simple fact that it is comparatively easy to learn, with beginners to web development languages often encouraged to master HTML, CSS, and JavaScript before moving on to more complex projects. 

Data available on the software development market in Germany shows that as of early 2022, the most in-demand programming languages for employers were Python, Java, SQL, and JavaScript—broadly similar to GitHub’s report, although slightly shuffling the order of entries on the list. 

2. Python

Python seems to go from strength to strength whenever the yearly discussion of the most in-demand programming languages arises. Considered relatively “easy” to learn thanks to the syntax of the language—much like JavaScript—this belies the true power of Python. Its creator, Guido van Rossum, prioritised code readability and simplicity, wanting to enable developers to have access to a language that is clear, concise, and versatile. 

By incorporating a library of functionalities for networking, file I/O, and an extensive collection of modules which can expand the capabilities of the language, Python has been designed for engineers to carry out a broad range of tasks without having to overly rely on external libraries or frameworks. 

Modules such as, PyRobot and Pypot have been created by users to extend the language’s base functionalities, empowering robotics programming and database programming duties. 

At the same time, the language aims to integrate with existing codebases, providing support for interoperability with Java, C, C++, and .NET, allowing companies to more easily integrate it into their existing workflow without disrupting the work they’re carrying out elsewhere. 

Since being named Programming Language of the Year in 2021, Python has seen its popularity grow exponentially, with an estimated 15.7 million active developers across the globe in 2023.

3. Java

Having been first released to the public in 1996, and with its most recent update being in September 2023, Java has remained one of the most in-demand programming languages for much of its life. given its power as an Objected-Oriented Programming (OOP) language, Java provides developers with an easy way to create modular and reusable code that allows them to build complex applications in a relatively straightforward manner. 

At the same time, Java has many years of development behind it, meaning that it now has an incredibly large library of functionalities and APIs which allow for networking, database programming, and other ready-to-use components that reduce the need for software engineers to build everything from scratch. 

It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that Java is one of the most popular solutions for building enterprise-scale software. 

It’s commonly used for the most complex systems, powering mobile communications, banking, financial services, eCommerce, and government applications. The core of the Android mobile OS is Java, and organisations such as Uber, PayPal, and LinkedIn—which require robust security, real-time analytics, and database programming capabilities—have built their technology ecosystem on a foundation of Java.

The “Write Once, Run Anywhere” (WORA) principle, which guides the evolution of Java, means that it’s equally at home amongst other web development languages as it is in building desktop applications since it runs on the Java Virtual Machine, making it a choice for those looking to code within a platform-agnostic environment. 

4. Rust

Rust is gaining ground as a popular language each year. The second-fastest growing language—behind HCL, which we’ll discuss in the next entry—with a 50% increase in users participating in its GitHub community over 2022, Rust machine learning, data processing, and systems architecture roles are on the rise in 2024. 

Rust was designed with performance and safety in mind, helping to prevent common programming errors such as buffer overflows or data races, which can lead to unstable applications, crashes, or security vulnerabilities that allow attackers to execute their own code, which grants them unauthorised access to a system. 

As a result, it’s quickly becoming the go-to language in performance-critical situations where efficiency is demanded—such as in the case of Rust machine learning via the rusty-machine framework or scalable server-side applications utilising Rust’s concurrency features. 

At the same time, Rust allows engineers to gain low-level control similar to C or C++, meaning that they can optimise their codebase for the specific hardware architecture their users will be employing. This is especially useful for Rust machine learning applications since such programmes will want to eke out every bit of efficiency they can from specialised hardware such as GPUs. 

The Rust community is passionate and growing rapidly, and new frameworks are being developed which allow engineers to leverage and integrate their software with other popular languages, such as in the case of tch-rs, which allows Rust developers to interface with deep learning frameworks like Python’s PyTorch. Rust machine learning roles are attracting interest from developers familiar with other languages, and the community’s emphasis on high-quality documentation is helping to ease this transition for many.

5. HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language)

HCL, or HashiCorp Configuration Language, is the fastest-growing example on our list of the most in-demand programming languages in 2024. With 56% more users integrating with the community on GitHub in 2022, the language may still be unfamiliar to many, but within the field of infrastructure automation, it’s quickly revolutionising working practices. 

HCL is designed to work within a software development workflow known as IaC, or Infrastructure as Code—meaning that engineers working within the DevOps methodology can incorporate it into their current practices to ensure that all resources, such as virtual machines, networks, and storage drives are being managed in an efficient and version-controlled manner. The language has been designed to integrate with major cloud computing platforms, making the maintenance of these distributed systems less complex. 

At the same time, business leaders are encouraging their development teams to move towards HCL due to its focus on human readability, which allows non-engineers within operations teams to understand what each statement is making the infrastructure do. This promotes inter-workforce collaboration, facilitating the sharing of code between team members and further propelling its growth. 

With the increasing popularity of cloud-based control systems within the modern manufacturing environment, HCL presents organisations with an opportunity to automate the provisioning and management of their IT infrastructure, in much the same way that domain-specific and robotics programming languages such as Ladder Logic (LD) and Sequential Function Chart (SFC) allow manufacturers to automate the processing of materials and production of goods.

Given the market value of the cloud manufacturing environment is anticipated to rise to $207.5bn by 2030, it seems likely that developers will encounter HCL and similar technologies on lists of the most in-demand programming languages for years to come. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Amoria Bond’s insights into software development and its overlap with our Advanced Engineering specialism after reading this article, see our guide to the Advanced Engineering Sector Trends that are taking 2024 by storm.

What Drives Trends in the Most In-Demand Programming Languages?

When looking at the present demand for programming languages reported by recruiters and hiring managers, it becomes clear that the “Big Three”—JavaScript, Python, and Java—have remained uncontested for some time, with many roles available for these languages at all levels of specialisation and complexity. However, even if application and web development languages have remained unchallenged in recent years, new trends are nevertheless discernable. 

For instance, the growth of big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning has meant that languages such as Rust have experienced explosive growth over the last year. 

Accompanying this is the shift in manufacturing towards “Industry 4.0”—particularly as organisations respond to volatility within their supply chains—which has seen more specialised programming languages becoming popular as developers look to empower the increased efforts in incorporating advanced automation and robotics programming into their skill sets, helping them to get a foothold in this lucrative sector. 

At the same time, programming languages such as C, C++, and C# remain popular, though less so than in previous years, whilst Typescript—a relative newcomer, having been released in 2012—whose use was not as widespread has grown in popularity, most likely owing to its advantage over JavaScript in giving developers more control over their code due to its statically-typed nature.

But what drives these trends in software programming and web development languages? There isn’t one straightforward answer, with the popularity of one language more often than not coming down to multiple factors, including: 

  • Technological advancements. Just as in any other area of engineering, what constitutes “best practice” within software development is subject to change as new, more efficient technology arises. Conferences, online community conversations, the rise of cloud computing, and the DevOps methodology have all led to discussions about what languages are best implemented for specific use cases, meaning that no language is treated as irreplaceable—sometimes, the case is that better tools come along that allow software engineers to do their jobs more effectively.
  • Industry challenges. Different industries have specialised requirements that necessitate the use of different programming languages. In an advanced manufacturing environment, robotics programming expertise is likely to be in higher demand than skills in web development languages, whereas the FinTech environment may require database programming professionals with a fine-grained awareness of compliance and data security. Software developers will respond to this need by learning the most in-demand programming languages, which will enable them to more easily find work.
  • The growth of automation, AI, and machine learning. With the increased emphasis on AIML technologies in 2023—thanks to major releases such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT LLM (Large Language Model) receiving increased media attention—this formerly niche area of research and development has rapidly expanded. Early-career engineers and laymen alike looking to hone their skills as they sense the disruptive effect these technologies will have on all sectors of employment over the coming years.
  • An increased need for collaboration. The shift towards hybrid and fully-remote models of work has been pivotal in encouraging software engineers and their employers to look for the app and web development languages that allow for effective collaboration regardless of geographical distance. This has, in turn, necessitated the development of new frameworks, libraries, and tools to empower existing languages with additional functionality.
  • Economic considerations. Cost-effectiveness, time-to-market, and lifetime value are all matters on business leaders’ minds when they’re considering which tech stack or language to build their product or service on. As companies strive to optimise software engineering processes and minimise overheads, trends such as low or no-code development, containerisation, and microservices architecture are gaining ground, shifting the software development landscape yet again.

Whatever the case may be for deciding to change the language they focus on, business leaders within the IT sector are aware that these technological trends can evolve rapidly, so whilst keeping abreast of these developments can help them to attract and retain talent, they’ll always be performing a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that they’re choosing appropriate technologies for their needs, meaning they can always deliver effective software solutions.

The Verdict 

Various factors, including technological advancements, industry demands, the growth of automation and AI, the need for collaboration, and market conditions, shape the programming language landscape in 2024. While JavaScript, Python, and Java continue to dominate the industry, new trends are emerging with the rise of big data and machine learning, leading to the popularity of languages like Rust.

Specialised programming languages are also gaining traction as industries incorporate advanced automation and robotics programming. Moreover, the shift towards hybrid and remote work models has emphasised the importance of collaboration-friendly programming languages. 

Business leaders in the IT sector are starting to understand the need to stay updated on these trends whilst considering the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of focusing development efforts on these new languages. By choosing appropriate technologies, they can ensure the delivery of effective software solutions in a dynamic and evolving business landscape.

Experts in Advanced Engineering and Programming Recruitment

At Amoria Bond, we’re committed to progressing lives everywhere, helping businesses to connect with the talent they need to succeed. Our specialist consultants are experts in recruiting for roles across the Industrial Automation, Enterprise Applications, and Systems Engineering sectors. 

Whatever your need might be, our extensive pool of talent covers 42 countries globally, meaning that we can quickly source professionals to ensure your business remains profitable and efficient. Contact us to discuss your software engineering requirements.