Top 4 Programming Languages In 2021

Adhithi Ravichandran
9 min readFeb 3, 2021


Photo by Windows on Unsplash

We have all experienced one roller-coaster ride in the year 2020 with a global pandemic to deal with and getting used to working from home. I hope all of our readers are staying safe and have a fantastic new year ahead while we as a world come out of this pandemic soon this year.

Speaking of a new year, it is probably a good time to revisit our tech skills and review the top four programming languages to learn in 2021.

#1 JavaScript

For the eight year in a row, JavaScript has been voted as the most commonly used programming language by the Stack Overflow Survey of 2020. JavaScript also happens to be my language of choice for all my projects.

According to the average salary of a JavaScript developer in the United States is $112,508 per year.

Let’s look at why JavaScript is the commonly used programming language and where it is used.

Good Side of JavaScript

  • You can’t ignore it! Almost all the modern frontend applications today are built with JavaScript. If you are working on a modern frontend app, there is no way you can avoid or ignore JavaScript.
  • Adopted by modern frameworks: Today, there are plenty of high-quality frameworks and libraries that are written in JavaScript to support frontend development. React, Vue, Angular, React Native, Svelte, and many other frameworks are used widely to create modern frontend applications.
  • Developer Friendly and Ease of Learning: JavaScript is a beginner friendly language and developers who get into JavaScript, tend to love it. This could be because multiple factors. The language itself is appealing to developers and in addition to that the developer experience is enhanced with the modern ecosystems that are available to support development.
  • Job Opportunities: JavaScript developers are in demand in the global market. A plethora of Fortune 500 companies like Google, Facebook, Uber and so on are heavily invested in JavaScript development, thus bringing in lots of job opportunities to the JavaScript market.
  • Both Frontend and Backend Development: Although JavaScript is dominating the frontend development scene, it is also used heavily in building the backend using frameworks like Node.js. This means, with modern JavaScript you can be both a frontend and backend developer.
  • Excellent Community Support: With the huge adoption of JavaScript, there is a huge community and plenty of resources to learn the language.

Bad Side of JavaScript

  • Rapidly Changing: This could be considered a pro or a con depending on how you view it. JavaScript and its frameworks are rapidly evolving and today’s JavaScript is way different than what it was three years ago. The constant change indicates that there is a lot of momentum and community involvement in it. But it could also be intimidating to keep up with.
  • Security Concerns: JavaScript code is executed on the client side and the code is generally exposed. Hence, this could lead to some security breaches if the best practices are not used during development.

Overall, JavaScript has bagged the number #1 place, and will be a very good programming language to learn if you are building modern applications.

#2 Python

Python is one of the most liked programming languages of all time. It is extremely simple to use and free of any clutter.

In the StackOverflow survey of 2020, Python ranks as the most wanted programming language of the year by developers. 30% of the developers voted for Python in this category making it to the top of the list. This doesn’t surprise me because Python is known to be a developer friendly language.

According to the average salary of a Python developer in the United States is $110,593 per year.

Good Side of Python

Here is a quick summary of why Python is ranked as one of the top programming languages today.

  • Simplicity: Python is by far the simplest programming language to learn and write. It is free of boiler-plate code and clutter. This makes it the easiest programming language to learn for beginners.
  • AI, Machine Learning and Research: Python is used extensively in modern research projects specially in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. If you are a data scientist or an aspiring data scientist, Python should be your language of choice.
  • Both Frontend and Backend Development: Python has been used in several open source libraries and frameworks like Django and Flask, SciPy, etc.. Solid backend applications can be built with Django and it is used by top companies like Instagram, Shopify, etc.. to build their backend.
  • Language of the Future: Python is being used for all sorts of cutting edge research and is definitely the language of the future. It is being used in technologies like self driving cars, artificial intelligence, facial recognition and so on. We will be seeing more of Python in the frontlines of innovation.

Here is a video explaining Why Everybody is Learning Python.

Bad side of Python

Python is so developer friendly and popular, but there are always some drawbacks in every programming language. Here is a list of why Python may not be a good choice.

  • Not Suitable for Mobile Development — Python is hardly used for mobile development, due to the availability of other frameworks like React Native, Flutter and native languages like Swift and Java. Thus, you won’t find any mobile apps coded in Python.
  • Spoils You With Its Simplicity — If Python is the first language you learn, you may end up falling in love with its simplicity and eventually it gets harder to learn other programming languages. Other programming languages like Java may seem complex when moving from Python.

#3 Java

The next top programming language to learn in 2021 is Java. Java is still one of the most widely used programming languages that will be a perfect language to learn in 2021. A majority of enterprise applications use Java in their development stack. So if you are going to be working for a big name enterprise company, the chances that you will be using Java, is very high!

Good Side of Java

Here is a quick summary on why you should learn Java:

  • Enterprise Software — One of the primary reasons to learn Java is that, it is used in plenty of tech companies across the world to build large scale applications. Top companies like Uber, AirBnb, Twitter and many others use Java in their tech stack. This means that finding a job as a Java developer is relatively easy in big companies.
  • Performance — Apps written in Java are optimized for performance and are faster than dynamically typed languages. The JVMs are modernized and performant, making it a good fit for large apps.
  • Android Development — Java is used in developing native Android apps. If you are interested in becoming Android developer, then learning Java makes a lot of sense.
  • Huge Community — Java has been a popular programming language for over a decade now, and there is a huge community support. When you start learning Java you will encounter tons of resources, forums and books to help with your learning.
  • Platform and Tools — Java ecosystem has evolved over the years, and there are various cool tools and IDEs that support development in Java like IntelliJ, Eclipse and so on.

Bad Side of Java

Alright, let’s explore why not Java.

  • Verbose Code — Java code is extremely verbose and tends to confuse a beginner programmer. This means the code comes with a lot of repetitive boiler-plate, which could be frustrating to some developers. You can compare the code snippets from our example above to understand the verbose nature of Java.
  • Older Language — The new age developers and startups tend to pick other alternatives to Java. Developers are moving towards languages like Kotlin, GO and other comparable languages. This is because Java is older and they would rather explore a newer, cutting-edge programming language, that is easier to learn and implement. If you are planning to work for startups and cutting-edge technologies then, you may want to consider learning a different programming language that may be a better fit.

Overall, Java is still ranked as one of the top programming languages and there are plenty of opportunities for Java developers. But if you are looking to learn something new and easy, Java is not for you!

#4 Kotlin

A new addition to the top tier programming languages this year is Kotlin.

From the Stack Overflow survey of 2020, an interesting find is Kotlin. 62.9% of developers have voted for Kotlin as their most loved language to work with. Rust, TypeScript and Python are ahead of Kotlin in this list.

Kotlin is used alot these days in developing Android applications. Although it is popular in the Android ecosystem it is also used in developing web, desktop and server-side applications as well.

Kotlin developers are in high demand, and earn over $130,000 per year in the United States!

Good Side of Kotlin

  • Modern, Concise, and Safe: The tagline for Kotlin is that, it is modern, concise and safe. It was created with an intention to be better than Java and many developers can vouch for that. Kotlin’s syntax is easy to understand and concise, making developers fall in love with it.
  • Compatibility with Java: Kotlin is 100% compatible with Java and can be integrated with existing Java applications with ease. This is a huge pro while including Kotlin to existing enterprise applications. Developers can add Kotlin gradually to their projects, while also running most of it in Java.
  • Easier to Code, Maintain and Test: When your code is concise and simple, it results in easy maintenance and improved testing. With Kotlin all the errors are detected at compile time instead of run-time making sure it is less prone to errors and stable.

Bad Side of Kotlin

  • Smaller Developer Community: Kotlin is gradually gaining popularity over the last couple years. But the developer community currently is still small. This will get better with time, but if you are a looking to start learning Kotlin, you wont have a huge community to rely on. The learning resources are limited, compared to other languages.
  • Scarcity of Kotlin Developers: This too will get better with time, as more developers get proficient at Kotlin. But if you are building a team of Kotlin developers, it maybe harder to find talent that are already proficient at it. Which means, you will have to provide training and a higher salary for experienced Kotlin developers.


Alright folks that is a wrap! We discussed the Top 4 Programming Languages of 2021! Pick and choose wisely, and remember you don’t have to learn all 4 of these to succeed as a developer. Pick one based on your liking and the kind of apps you plan to develop, and stick to it!

We have reached the end of this post. If you enjoyed this post, please share it and leave a comment on what your favorite pick is for 2021.

I am an author, speaker and consultant working primarily on frontend development. Checkout my courses on Pluralsight to learn React Native, GraphQL and other topics from me.

You can follow me on twitter @AdhithiRavi for more updates from me.

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Adhithi Ravichandran

Software Consultant, Author, Speaker, React|Next.js|React Native |GraphQL|Cypress Dev & Indian Classical Musician