Language Learning Insights From HackerRank 2019 Survey
Written by Janet Swift   
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A new survey from HackerRank reveals that last year knowledge of JavaScript overtook that of Java. It also highlights a distinct generation gap in developer's first coding projects.

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HackerRank is a developer hiring platform that uses coding challenges to enable technical recruiters and hiring managers to objectively evaluate candidates throughout the recruitment process. It has a community of more than 5 million developers which as CEO Vivek Ravisankar points out is more than 20% of the world’s developer population.

More than 70,000 developers.participated in its 2019 survey, an 82% increase from last year's survey. In this first look at its results we'll look at its findings about the languages that developers know and the ones they want to learn.

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Whereas in the previous survey (2017) Java was the most widely-known programming language, this time (2018) JavaScript tops the languages rankings. Overall 73% of respondents claim JS proficiency in 2018, up from 66% in 2017. However, as the report notes, there's a significant group of respondents who lack this knowledge:

Student developers are the exception. Only 42% of student developers in 2018 said they knew JavaScript. This could be because JavaScript isn’t taught in most university computer science programs, so more developers learn JavaScript once they’re out of school and creating applications for work.

Python had also become more widely known between 2017, when it was in 6th place in the rankings with 49%, and 2018 when it had risen to 4th place with 57%.

C retained its 3rd place position, sticking at 63% v and C++ was also static, 5th in the rankings and 56%.

While staying in the same position in the the rankings TypeScript, went from 15% to 24% with the report noting:

The language's rising popularity is most likely because of the ubiquity of JavaScript and the fact that many major JavaScript frameworks use TypeScript. 

Typescript is also one of the languages in which developers show keen interest:

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Among the languages that developers want to learn in 2019, Go is in the lead, with 37%. This, of course, partly reflects the fact that only 9% of developers already claim proficiency in it, up from only 6% the year before. There's a similar scenario for Kotlin which went from 3% in 2017 to 6% in 2018 and now has sparked the interest of 26%, the same proportion as wanting to learn Python. So there are some 18,500 devs among respondents to the HackerRank survey who are set on learning Kotlin and a similar number for Python. I'd like to recommend they look at titles in the I Programmer Library - The Programmer's Guide To Kotlin and Programmer's Python - both written at an intermediate level for those with experience in some other language.

The "fun fact" that is worth mentioning from the survey is how a developers first coding project has changed over time:

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For developers over 38, the first coding project was likely to be a game. Younger developers are most likely to have been introduced to coding by building a calculator or creating a website. This is more about how much more complex games programming has become since the days of Pong, Space Invaders and Commando Jump which were so prevalent as introductions of programming back in the days of the Atari, ZX-Spectrum and BBC Micro.

 

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More Information

2019 Developer Skills Report

Introducing HackerRank’s 2019 Developer Skills Report

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 January 2019 )