How to Predict This Decade’s Most In-Demand Programming Languages

In the world of programming, things are rarely static. Protocols change, technology evolves every second of the day, and innovation seems never to sleep. And while keeping up with every single one of these changes is close to impossible even for the most resourceful of us, informing yourself about current and upcoming innovations in your area of expertise should be second nature for any enthusiastic professional.

And second nature it is for Alina Nechita, Delivery Manager at R Systems – an experienced professional always eager to learn about everything new in terms of programming and information technology. And, given her recent involvement in a very successful podcast with Hipo.ro, who better to ask to be the first featured Innovator in our newest project – Innovators pick?

What’s Innovators pick, you ask? It is a series of articles where our very own R Systems Innovators join us to discuss the hottest topics in the fields of telecom, IT, development, CSR, human resources, or the current employment landscape altogether. Keep an eye on our blog for more!  

Now that you’re in the loop, it’s time to dive into the actual topic of today: Which will be the most in-demand programming languages of the next 10 years?

The evolution of programming languages – noticing patterns

Instead of offering us a traditional answer, which usually implies listing what the general public agrees to be the most popular coding languages today, Alina has a slightly different approach to this topic. A game of noticing and applying patterns that will help you make these educated predictions yourself.

Programming is a lot about observing patterns, and even though changes happen so often in this field, they are anything but random. If you keep an eye on things and are open to understanding the dynamics of the programming world, you won’t need an article to tell you which programming languages will dominate the next decade – you will know.

Looking back in time, I think the answer to this question can be found very easily.” – Alina begins, preparing for her very informative intro to Programing Languages History 101.

For example, the 60s were dominated by languages such as Fortran and Cobol, while the 70s dethroned Cobol in favor of Pascal – a procedural language that many of us continued to learn in high school decades later. In the 80s, it was all about Ada and C, with C continuing to be further popularized in the 90s together with a new companion – C++.”

Finally, some familiar names start popping up as we get closer to current times. But even so, it is worth noting that it took a decade for C++, for which development started back in 1982, to gain traction and become a popular language – a pattern that we’re going to continue seeing, as we pass through the decades and an important thing to keep in mind when talking about the future of programming.

The 2000s – validating patterns

Come the 2000s, this was when many of the programming languages used today on an almost daily basis started gaining traction. These are, of course, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and C#. But even with this array of new and exciting technologies taking the market by storm, it is important to notice that C and C++ continued to be among the top 10 most in-demand languages, and they do so even today.”

Again, with a bit of research, we can notice that these programming languages, popular in the 2000s, were launched back in the ‘90s (except for C#, which launched in 2000). The reason they gained traction a decade later is, as Alina explains, the role they began to play in innovating certain technologies or markets.

What I want to point out with this short history lesson is the fact that there is certain inertia even when it comes to a dynamic field such as programming, despite how things may appear. These languages have an obvious purpose for which they have been created – to serve a specific device or market area. So, they can’t simply disappear overnight.”

That being said, if you’re currently working with a language such as Java and a newer, better one launches tomorrow, don’t expect Java to simply disappear. It will take at least a few years for a new language to begin replacing an existing one, and it must be for a good reason. Because, while dynamic, the field of IT is quite resilient to purposeless change. “We can, however, be ready for when these changes happen by following the natural evolution of such languages.”

This decade’s most in-demand programming languages – applying patterns

Getting back to the actual question and what the next 5 to 10 years may have in store when it comes to programming languages, I believe we will continue to depend heavily on Java, Python, JavaScript, SQL, and C/C++/C#. Of course, Angular and React have their own special places for web development, and we can’t forget Objective-C and Swift for mobile development.”

As you can see, there will be continuous reliance on programming languages that already have notoriety in the field. But, because there has been a constant focus on mobile and web development over the past decade, it was only natural for mobile- and web-oriented programming languages to start making it to the top 10 – this is the type of evolution Alina suggests IT professionals should keep an eye on.

As for what the future brings, it’s all a matter of applying the patterns we have learned. “Among the languages that have not made it into the top 10 yet but have all the means to do so in the coming years due to a constant increase in usage are Go (Golang – Google’s very own programming language) and Kotlin. Kotlin, for example, has nearly doubled its users in the past two years. Typescript, a language created on top of JavaScript, is also growing in popularity and is now used when it comes to statistics.”

When it comes to how this evolution of programming languages will change the future of IT careers, Alina believes professionals will grow and adapt together with them. “They say change is the only thing that remains constant, and this certainly applies to the IT field. I simply think we will prepare ahead of time for these changes, and we’ll adapt – including when it comes to new programming languages.

What we can take away from this is that there’s a very purposeful dynamic in the IT sector, which, if observed properly, can help us better understand the changes and innovations of the future. Be it for programming languages or new technologies, change won’t happen unless it has to, and once you come to this conclusion, the trajectory of these changes is going to become easier and easier to notice.

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