5 Fastest Growing Programming Languages on GitHub

Which programming languages are on the rise? TIOBE and GitHub are pretty good indexes to find out about this.

On the November, 2019 version of TIOBE programming languages that are on the rise include:

  • Python (+2.16%)
  • Groovy (+0.50%)
  • C (+1.64%)
  • D (+0.25%)
  • Ruby (+0.17%)

However these represent changes in the existing top 20. But what about the fastest growing up-and-coming programming languages? It’s for this data that GitHub provides a bit useful.

While each year GitHub publishes a “State of the Octoverse” report tracking the most popular languages and projects on the site, this year is particularly interesting with the rise of more ecosystem specific and interoperability focused languages.

Recently Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion, and with it came a lot of data and a monopoly on the open source software on-boarding for talent Microsoft is hungry for. However you feel about that Microsoft is showing growth of GitHub, Azure, Teams, Mixer and many other its projects as trust in Google is waning.

As one of the largest online gathering spots for developers, GitHub tracks what programming languages are most popular among developers and it can help inform us about some of the trending software languages.

While many of us have a fairly good idea of the most popular programming languages in the world by use, GitHub also tracks the languages and frameworks whose usage is growing fast, and these are going to be the ones I’m going to cover in this article.


Overview of Top 5 Fastest Growing Programming Languages on GitHub

Language Change in Use (%)
Dart 532
Rust 235
HCL 213
Kotlin 182
TypeScript 161


Dart ranks 24th on the TIOBE. Dart along with Kotlin are among the ecosytem specific languages that are really taking off. Dart grew by 532% in the past year, according to GitHub’s report. That’s incredible uptake.

Dart, developed by Google, was made specifically for designing user interfaces, or how an app looks and feels to users.

It’s similar to JavaScript, the most popular programming language. It’s also used with Google’s Flutter, a UI tool kit for building mobile and web apps.

How Dart is tethered to Flutter is pretty significant. Flutter is a cross-platform framework for building apps, originally built by Google; this year, it’s one of GitHub’s most popular open-source projects (by contributor count).

2. Rust

There’s been a lot of hype and buzz about Rust in 2019. It’s ranked 25th, on the TIOBE.

Rust is an example of a trending open-source-software language that developers globally can truly resonate with. Rust grew by 235% in the past year, according to GitHub.

This open-source programming language, which is sponsored by Mozilla — of Firefox fame — is used in game engines, operating systems, virtual reality, and other systems-intensive tasks.

3. HCL

It grew by 213% in the past year, GitHub said. As the cloud evolves, languages that are more Cloud specific are slowly trending. HCL, which stands for HashiCorp Configuration Language, was developed by HashiCorp, a startup that creates tools to help programmers run and secure software running in the cloud.

It’s used to help set up HashiCorp’s cloud tools, like Terraform, and is designed to be easy for people to read. HCL is commonly used by DevOps engineers, an advantage of HCL is that it is interoperable with JSON, a widely used language for configuring development environments.

HCL as a specialized language for tools, and JSON as the interoperability layer is useful. So it is what it is, and has a specific function.

4. Kotlin

Kotlin had a lot of hype especially in the second half of 2018 and first half of 2019. It is ranked 35th on the TIOBE.

Kotlin was the fastest-growing programming language last year, and it’s used by companies like Google, Square, and Atlassian. It’s still growing fast, as it grew by 182% in the past year, GitHub said.

Kotlin’s history with Google’s android is well known.

Business Insider summarizes it well when they say Kotlin is an open-source language that is similar to the popular programming language Java (and programmers can mix and match the two), but it has special features that help guard against bugs.

Since it’s interoperable with Java, here is yet another example of what we were talking about in the intro. Kotlin is more beginner friendly and task orientated. It’s also much more concise, helping developers do more with fewer lines of code. It’s frequently used for building Android apps.

5. TypeScript

TypeScript is ranked 43rd on TIOBE.

Developed by Microsoft, it’s similar to JavaScript, and developers can mix and match both languages.

With GitHub’s acquisition by Microsoft therefore you can see why this might be on the rise. It’s also supported out of the box by Microsoft’s free code editor Visual Studio Code, the top open-source project on GitHub.

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, meaning it allows developers to write in vanilla JavaScript, but also adds new features to help them build larger and more complex programs. In 2019, Microsoft released TypeScript 3.4 which includes a new feature called as “incremental” which aims to help the developers type-check and output changes to an existing project.

Trending Fast Growing Programming Languages

At the Last Futurist we have our eyes on dozens of trending programming languages.

Here are some languages worth looking into that fit the trends in software development we are noticing:

  • Python (*)
  • Swift
  • Solidity
  • Jullia
  • Groovy
  • Golang
  • Haskell
  • Scala
  • Go
  • Arduino
  • R Language

You can read GitHub’s state of the Octoverse here. Additionally, For decades, Tiobe (the software quality company) has generated an index of the most popular programming languages. They update this list monthly, pulling in data from hundreds of sources around the world. It’s worth following if you are into software development trends like we are.

There are several fast growing programming languages and commentary on this topic and on specific languages is very welcome

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