how do developers feel about programming languages
Though web developers are often hired onto a project or team based on their knowledge of languages – no, not Spanish or French, but C# or PHP – how they truly feel about these languages could come as a surprise. Are they fans of the programming languages they’ve chosen to work with, or do they bite their tongue when you ask them to use Visual Basic?

In this web developer tell-all, we share the feelings of 909 developers and examine their love affairs with programming languages. We reveal which languages are the easiest to learn and which ones they’d break up with tomorrow if they could. Continue reading to learn more.

who's coding what and where? Computer programming languages, by gender and location

Key Programming Trends

With coding continuing to be marketed to younger and younger crowds, we decided to explore who’s taking up the craft, which languages users most prefer, and where most coders reside in the U.S.Of the more than 909 programmers surveyed, nearly 70 percent were men, and 31 percent were women. While the presence of women in the computer science industry has declined in recent years, nonprofit organizations like Girls Who Code and are working toward closing the gender gap in technology.

When it comes to languages programmers are most comfortable with, HTML takes the top spot. Created in 1990, this markup language acts as one of the primary tools for creating standard web pages and applications across any browser. It ranked as the most favored language. C++, Java, and JavaScript ware also popular among our survey participants.

While states like Florida, New York, and Texas have a higher volume of residential programmers, California takes the proverbial cake with 14 percent of the 909 programmers we polled. As home to giant tech corporations, like Google and Apple, it’s no wonder California houses so many of our respondents.

Flexible Languages

what do programmers think is the most versatile language

Versatility can be a primary concern for tech professionals when learning and implementing programming languages. When we asked our survey participants which language they thought was the most versatile, 8.6% answered C++. As a standardized, general-purpose programming language with fairly generic features, C++ has increased the functionality of application infrastructure and even 3D gaming. Websites like Amazon and PayPal are written in part using C++, highlighting the robust nature and, of course, the versatility of this particular coding language.

Respondents also identified Java (6.3%) and C (5.7%) as versatile languages to write in, while JavaScript and C# also earned a spot in our top five, with 5.0% and 4.5% respectively.

Coding With Creativity

what do programmers think is the most creative language

Creativity can go a long way in the world of computer programming. From app design and webpage layouts to software infrastructure and video games, creative programming languages may help coders craft content that stands out from the crowd and draws recognizable attention in a busy market.

When we asked our 909 survey participants which language they found the most creative, 5.4% told us it was Javascript. This open-source code utilizes a combination of C, C++, and Java functions that are designed to allow programmers to pick the language that works best for them. Open-source hardware even allows users to manipulate code in either a standard text-based mode or in a visual mode.

Ruby, Assembly, and C++ also earned top spots for the most creative languages by our 909 survey participants.

A Coder’s First Lines

what do programmers think is the easiest language to learn

While there might be a specific need to use a particular programming language first, 13.3 percent of programmers said HTML is the easiest language to learn. It’s the backbone for most modern webpages and it’s easy to view the source of other webpages – that is, to take a peek under the hood and better understand code by examining the work of others.

Python, which came in second place with 9%, is known for its high readability and simple syntax that is easy to learn. For new coders especially, the consistency and simplicity of Python both contribute to its ease of use and approachability. Initially developed in 1989, Python has been in use for almost 25 years since its first release in 1994.

Programmer’s Intuition

what are the most and least intuitive programming languages
Similarly to the easiest language to learn, HTML topped programmer’s lists when it came to the most intuitive languages. Just behind this was Google’s Go, also referred to as golang, the software and search conglomerate’s open-source programming language. It’s helpful for developing web applications with minimal frameworks, web servers, or even APIs. It’s also easy to deploy a Go app running on Google Cloud Platform, which – if used in the programmer’s environment – might make it a first-choice language to use, too.

Emacs Lisp, developed at MIT by Richard Stallman and first introduced in 1985, earned the dubious honor of being the least intuitive language, according to programmers.

Complex Code

what do programmers think is the most complicated language

Assembly – believed by many programmers to be the most complicated language – is often seen as difficult to learn, read, understand, debug, maintain, and write. But even if it is believed to be the most complicated, Assembly offers ways to make existing software run faster on the same hardware, instead of upgrading the hardware to make the software faster.

C#, TeX, and Objective-C are additional programming languages programmers associate with being the most complicated. Could these be the few that scare them away from applying for a project or job when they’re listed on the job posting?

Leftover Languages

what do programmers think is the most inefficient language

It was almost unanimous – developers surveyed feel Vimscript or Vim Language (VimL) is an inefficient language. As Vim’s built-in scripting language, if you’ve ever worked with virmc files, you’ve worked with VimL. Robust enough to allow you to write entire plug-ins, VimL has its benefits, but while Vim does allow users to script in common languages like Ruby and Python, you can’t get out of using the VimL interface along the way.

Cozy Code

which programming language do you feel most comfortable using

Whether you or your programmer have been a web developer for 10, 20, or even 35-plus years, everyone feels comfortable with HTML. It is the top (or tied for first place) language web developers are most comfortable using. Those with less than 10 years of experience have a second love, though: C++. This was close to being the most comfortable language for newer programmers to use.

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Programmers’ Passions and Purgatories

If only every web development project could be completed using only HTML, you’d have a comfortable team of coders. While we’ve uncovered how cozy programmers feel about HTML and its intuitive nature, we know they view Assembly as one of the most unintuitive and most complicated languages to use.

If your team doesn’t yet have the skills in some of these languages and you want to create a website able to fully showcase your business, WP Engine offers 100 percent customized solutions to help drive your business forward faster with managed WordPress hosting. With a full time engineering staff and dedicated labs team, we offer solutions that scale to a business of any size and can help you unlock your brand’s full potential by leveraging our innovations.


We surveyed 909 computer programmers through SurveyMonkey in order to find out various sentiments towards programming languages.


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