The 7 Most Popular Programming Languages on GitHub in 2019

GitHub is the most popular platform for code management and sharing. It is the home to software code worked on by a total of more than 31 million users from all over the world working in as many as 500 programming languages. Looking at how much GitHub has grown over time, I can boldly say that GitHub is here for the long haul.

Yes, Microsoft purchased it for 7.5 billion in 2018 but that doesn’t seem to matter despite the stories of many developers abandoning the platform after the purchase.

How do I know this? Complimentary of GitHub Octoberfest, let’s look at some statistics:

  • GitHub currently has 31 million+ users and is celebrating more new users in 2018 alone that the first 6 years of the platform’s launching combined!
  • GitHub had 40% more organizations in 2018 than 2017 which brings it to an approximate value of 2.1 million+ organizations.
  • GitHub also has 40% more repositories created in 2018 than 2017 which makes a total of 96 million+ repositories.
  • GitHub boasts a total of 200 million+ pull requests with over a third of them created in 2018!

Evidently, GitHub has become more used than it ever was and these statistics solidify my belief that the platform might never be second to any other platform in my lifetime. Given its humongous user base, GitHub is an ideal spot for seeing which computer languages are used the most with respect to their project count.


This is not a technical article on the inner workings of programming languages, their merits/demerits, or history. Rather, it is a list of the most popular languages on GitHub with concise backgrounds.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language initially designed for creating interactive effects in browsers. At first, it was used for majorly front-end programs but it has since become a developer-favorite seeing as it has given rise to an almost unending list of frameworks, libraries, and software solutions with big titles like Electron, node.js, AngularJS, to mention a few.

JavaScript which started as a client-side language is now used to build both front-end and back-end programs as well as games and has now proven itself to be a swift, versatile, and extensible programming language. If you ask me, JS will remain #1 for a while. Ps. JavaScript is not affiliated with Java in any way.

2. Java

Java is a compiled, general-purpose, high-level programming language with a focus on Object Oriented Programming. It is the language driving at least 15 billion devices with over 10 million developers worldwide.

Created by Sun Microsystems with code reliability and building platform-independent software solutions in mind, Java is now owned and maintained by Oracle and it is virtually impossible to make any list of programming languages without it.

Java is used for developing Android apps, databases, desktop applications, etc. and virtually holds the record of the #1 go-to language for enterprise systems and development in the cloud.

Its popular slogan is “compile once, run anywhere” and this is with thanks to its Virtual Machine which enables developers to run Java apps on any Operating System with the Java Virtual Machine installed.

3. Python

Python is an interpreted, general-purpose, high-level, open source programming language used to develop solutions in fields ranging from software development to Biomedical research. Some of its best features include extensive support for modules, easy integration with web services, and a GUI-based application for desktops.

Python is used to develop numerous games e.g. Civilization IV, Toontown, etc., software for creatives e.g. Blender, Autodesk, Inkscape, etc., and scientific research work especially in deep learning applications, statistical analysis, and robotics, to name a few.

4. PHP

PHP stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor and it is a general-purpose, high-level, server-side scripting programming language created for web development. It features built-in capabilities for web services, the flawless embedding of server-side code into HTML, and a loosely typed syntax.

PHP has been ridiculed for a few things over the years including the diversity in code quality between PHP developers and its security. The good thing, however, is that PHP developers offer a lot of frameworks (a lot of which are free and open source) which help users to handle difficult issues that they would have otherwise faced down the development lane as well as quicken the development process by smart bootstrapping.

5. C++

C++ is a high-level general purpose programming language that was created as an extension of the C programming language. Correctly dubbed “C with Classes“, C++ combines the features of C such as low-level memory manipulation with new features such as Inheritance to offer users powerful programming ability and flexibility. It is the core language in video games, web browsers, and too many Operating Systems to count.

Some of C++’s best features include giving users more control of system hardware than other high-level programming languages. And while Java is “compile once and run anywhere”, C++ is “write once and compile anywhere” which means that you can write your code and easily compile it for different systems since its cross-platform compatibility is achieved at the source code level, rather than at the compiled binary code level.

6. C#

C# (pronounced C sharp) is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language that enables users to work with generic, lexically scoped, declarative, imperative, object-oriented and component-oriented programming disciplines. Like Java, it is strongly typed, works well with databases, and features support for web services.

C# is often thought about as Microsoft’s version of Java with more development tools and has since become the most powerful programming languages in the .NET framework. You need to compile your C# code after making even the smallest of changes but the awesomeness of Visual Studio IDE makes up for that drawback.

7. TypeScript

TypeScript is an open-source programming language created and maintained by Microsoft as a strict syntactical superset of JavaScript for developing large applications. It features optional static typing and trans-compiles to JavaScript – meaning that it can be used in JS projects as is without the need to change syntax, import resources, etc.

TypeScript has a large community backing with an extensive environment for development, a compiler implemented in TypeScript which can be used in any JS host, and a development experience similar to that of C#. Ps. Its source code is hosted on GitHub.

While all the above-mentioned programming languages share features like objects, arrays, built-in types, functions, strings, and operators, they are implemented in unique ways and they have features that are unique to them.

The features unique the computing languages contribute to the reasons why you should choose one over the other depending on the project type you’re working on – but how would you know if you don’t choose a project and start building something?

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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