Any kid has the chance to succeed at school in their teen years, but it becomes a whole lot easier if you’re not worried about getting shoved into lockers, being picked on or having your lunch money pilfered. Being accepted and getting in with a good crowd takes a huge amount of pressure. It opens new doors, exposes exciting new possibilities, gives you support and helps get you through the tough times. Every kid wants to be liked, respected and feel safe.
Picking the right programming language has many similarities. It’s a popularity contest.
When it comes to choosing the programming language your team, projects, organization and clients will be depending on to deliver solutions today, and the building blocks for the years to come, you want to makes sure the community is there to support you. Usually when people think of the community, they think of blogs, wiki, source code repositories, forums and language specific sites. And that’s important.
What’s also important is the pool of people that actually program in the language. This is the potential pool of candidates you’ll be pulling from when you grow or have churn. It also indicates its use in real-world solutions. The amount of training available for it will also be a key data point. Any programmer worth their salt needs to be able to dig through the web and self-train themselves as they grow. But live training is the best way to get programmers over the wall to that next level.
And you will want to make sure that there are enough vendor options out there that can provide solutions and services on your programming platform. These will be the folks you call in to fill critical needs and those you work closely with.
So what programming languages are most “popular”? Tiobe Software has been measuring the popularity of programming languages since 2001 and they put out a monthly index. This month’s rankings look like this…
The information provided is a good data point. If you are looking at changing direction with your current language, or you’re starting from scratch, this is a good place to go if you have a couple options you are investigating.
However, having said all that, this index is a data point and it’s probably not the strongest one you will use. You need to choose the right language for the job at hand as well as the direction you’re going. There are plenty of other, stronger, points to keep in mind:
- The type of programming you’re doing
- The kind of solutions your client’s need
- How you expect to staff your team
- Platform and skill sets that are prevalent in your organization
- The skill sets, background, dynamics and programming mindset of your team
- The organization’s culture
- The organization’s standard operating procedures
- Existing vendor/project pipelines
- Long-term strategy for the organization, department and, therefore, team
So if you go through the above bullet points and choose a language that’s not in the top 5, or even the top 10, you will still be in good shape if you’ve done your due diligence.