10 Most Popular Programming Languages on GitHub

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.

Github Statistics

GitHub, the world’s leading platform for open-source development, boasts impressive statistics that showcase its immense popularity and impact on the developer community.

  • It is the largest source code repository as of June 2023.
  • Currently, GitHub has over 100 million developers and counting.
  • GitHub boasts over 372 million repositories, and this includes at least 28 million public repositories.
  • GitHub boasts over 1 million active users per month.
  • More than 227 million requests have successfully been combined so far.
  • Most of the active users are spread across America, India, Brazil, Russia, Germany, the UK, and China.
  • The majority of Github visitors are from China, India, and the United States.
  • Over 90% of Fortune 100 companies leverage GitHub to store and manage their code.

Most Popular Open Source Projects on GitHub

  • TensorFlow ( over 179k Stars )
  • Flutter ( Over 159k stars )
  • Microsoft VS Code ( Over 154k stars )
  • Kubernetes ( Over 104k stars )
  • Elasticsearch ( Over 66k stars )
  • Ansible (Over 59k stars )

Almost all developers (92%) use or are experimenting with AI coding tools. In the past, developers utilized machine learning libraries like TensorFlow/TensorFlow and PyTorch/PyTorch to build projects. However, at present, an increasing number of developers are engaging with AI models and large language models LLMs such as the ChatGPT API.

As more developers become acquainted with developing generative AI-powered applications, the anticipation for a growing skill pool is expected to be high to support enterprises seeking to develop their AI-powered apps and services.

Cloud-native applications are being operated at scale by developers. We observe an increasing adoption of declarative languages, with Git-based infrastructure as code (IaC) workflows becoming more prevalent.

There is a growing standardization in cloud deployments, and we are witnessing a rapid surge in the adoption of Infrastructure such as Code (IaC), Dockerfiles, containers, and other cloud-native innovations among developers.

In 2023, a notable surge occurred in the number of first-time open-source contributors. While commercially supported open-source projects maintained their dominance in attracting both first-time contributors and overall contributions, this year marked a distinctive shift as generative AI projects entered the ranks of the top ten most popular initiatives for newcomers.

Additionally, a remarkable trend emerged in the realm of private projects on GitHub, experiencing a 38% year-over-year increase. Presently, these private endeavors constitute more than 80% of all activity on the platform, indicating substantial growth and diversification within the GitHub community.

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.

Disclaimer: 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 still the most popular programming language on GitHub, accounting for more than 22% of all repositories. 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

With more than 9% of all repositories using it, 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 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, data research, machine learning, and biomedical research.

More than 10% of all repositories use it. 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, 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. over 4% of all repositories use it.

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++

With more than 7% of all repositories using it, 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 abilities 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.

Over 6% of repositories utilize it. Similar to Java, it is strongly typed, functions effectively with databases, and incorporates 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 language 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 that can be used in any JS host, and a development experience similar to that of C#. Ps. Its source code is hosted on GitHub.

8. Go

Go, often known as Golang, is a lightweight programming language that is designed to be efficient, readable, and simple to use. It is frequently used in microservices and web development, and more than 4% of all repositories use Go.

This programming language features a large standard library that covers a wide range of functions such as networking, encryption, web servers, and more, minimizing the need for third-party libraries in many circumstances.

In addition, Go incorporates built-in support for concurrent programming via goroutines and channels, making it easier to design programs that perform numerous activities at the same time.

Besides that, it provides outstanding performance through quick compilation and efficient execution. It has the low-level control of a compiled language but the simplicity of a higher-level language.

On top of that, it is a statically typed language, which implies that types are established at compile time, which improves code safety and maintainability by catching issues early in the development process.

Go also supports automatic memory management via a garbage collector, which aids in memory allocation and deallocation, allowing developers to write more efficient programs.

These cutting-edge features contribute to Go’s success in a variety of disciplines, particularly in developing scalable, concurrent, and outstanding performance applications, web servers, networking tools, and cloud-based services.

9. R

With more than 3% of all repositories using it, R is a robust programming language that can be used for statistical computing, graphics, data analysis, and visualization.

It is a free and open-source programming language that has a large user community contributing packages, documentation, and support. This makes the language continuously developing and rich in resources.

R facilitates data manipulation activities including filtering, sorting, aggregating, and reshaping datasets with packages like dplyr and tidyr. This makes cleaning and preparing data for analysis easier.

It seamlessly integrates with various programming languages and technologies. Interfaces to databases, APIs, and other languages such as Python are available, allowing for smooth workflow integration.

It also enables reproducible research by allowing users to document their code and analysis using tools such as R Markdown, which allows the development of dynamic documents that incorporate code, findings, and explanations.

Overall, R is a popular choice in academia, data science, research, and enterprises working with data-centric activities due to its skills in statistical analysis and data visualization and its wide library of packages.

10. Swift

Swift is an Apple programming language used to create iOS and macOS applications. More than 3% of all repositories are using it.

Swift is performance-oriented, it is designed using modern compiler technology and provides fast performance by utilizing the LLVM compiler, which outputs optimized native code.

Since it is a succinct and expressive language, developers can build clean, legible code in fewer lines. Closures, generics, and type inference are among the features that contribute to its expressiveness.

In addition, it emphasizes programming safety by reducing typical programming errors. It includes features such as optional for dealing with nil values, type inference to catch issues during compilation, and memory management via Automatic Reference Counting (ARC).

Besides that. It’s a highly typed language, which means types are checked at build time, resulting in safer and more predictable code behavior. It also facilitates the construction of dynamic libraries, which reduces the size of app binaries while allowing for modular development and updates.


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 in 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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