JetBrains Dev Report: TypeScript Is Fastest-Growing Programming Language

After being recognized as one of the fastest-growing programming languages in last year's developer report from dev tooling specialist JetBrains, Microsoft's TypeScript was named the fastest-growing language this year.

The rise of TypeScript constitutes the first key finding from the report as listed by the company in a Jan. 16 blog announcement: "JavaScript is still the most popular programming language and still hasn't been overtaken by TypeScript, the usage of which has almost tripled over the last 6 years."

JetBrains, known for its IDE and other dev tooling of which much caters to the .NET dev community, annually issues the report, which this year is based on the responses of 29,269 developers from around the world who participated in a May-July 2022 study. In addition to programming languages, it examines tools, technologies, demographics, fun facts and developer lifestyles.

"TypeScript's share has almost tripled over the course of 6 years, increasing from 12 percent in 2017 to 34 percent in 2022," said the company's State of Developer Ecosystem 2022.

The programming language section of that report draws a lot of interest, and here the rapidly rising and oft-cited (in popularity rankings) TypeScript shines, though it looks like it will never catch up to the ubiquitous JavaScript upon which it's based. That's because most such survey-based reports have a heavy web developer presence, and in the browser the use of JavaScript has always reigned supreme. The graphic below shows how TypeScript passed four other languages (C, PHP, C# and C++) over the past six years in its chase of JavaScript.

Programming Languages Used in Last Year (Growth)
[Click on image for larger view.] Programming Languages Used in Last Year (source: JetBrains).

Another chart further shows how TypeScript climbed steadily over the years, starting out with a 12 percent share of responses to the above question in 2017 to 34 percent in 2022.

Primary Programming Languages
[Click on image for larger view.] Programming Languages Used in Last Year (source: JetBrains).

"Will it eventually replace JavaScript?" the report pondered. "Though it is rapidly catching up to JavaScript, the usage of JavaScript remains stable high. 92 percent of TypeScript developers use JavaScript, with 40 percent choosing it as one of their primary languages."

Indeed, on that usage issue, TypeScript just managed to crack the top five, also behind Python, Java and HTML/CSS (the latter of which JetBrains acknowledges isn't a programming language but is included anyway).

Primary Programming Languages
[Click on image for larger view.] Primary Programming Languages (source: JetBrains).

JetBrains' observation of JavaScript's rising popularity and questioning if it will ever catch JavaScript reflects the oft-found love/hate relationship that developers have with JavaScript, which they are basically forced to use for web development despite several perceived shortcomings (Microsoft's no-JavaScript Blazor approach notwithstanding).

That love/hate relationship sees JavaScript being named the most popular language while also being the "least favorite" language (according to most often mentions), which is not unusual in such reports.

Least Favorite Programming Languages
[Click on image for larger view.] Least Favorite Programming Languages (source: JetBrains).

For example, Stack Overflow's big annual developer report series typically finds JavaScript among the most popular and loved languages, but also ranking highly in a "Most Dreaded" question. In SO's June 2022 report for example, JavaScript was "loved" by 61 percent of respondents, but also "dreaded" by 39 percent (see the Visual Studio Magazine article, "TypeScript Vaults Ahead of Java to Crack Stack Overflow Top 5"). For TypeScript, those numbers are 73 percent and 27 percent.

Stack Overflow Most Loved/Dreaded Programming Languages
[Click on image for larger view.] Stack Overflow Most Loved/Dreaded Programming Languages (source: Stack Overflow).

The JetBrains report also found that half of all developers surveyed are planning to adopt a new programming language, with the two most popular being Go and Rust, followed by Kotlin, TypeScript and Python.

So TypeScript is popular, gaining ground over other languages, loved by more developers and dreaded by fewer (according to SO) than JavaScript, but apparently destined to never overtake JavaScript.

Why? Good question.

Returning to topics that we can explain, the other key findings of the new report as presented by JetBrains include:

  • Technologies that developers find promising: AI/ML, Rust, JavaScript, Go, Kotlin, and Blockchain.
  • The programming languages that are losing their popularity: PHP, Ruby, Objective-C, and Scala.
  • Working from home is still a choice for the majority of developers, and 76 percent choose to work primarily in a home office.
  • 50 percent of developers practice remote collaborative programming.
  • 69 percent of employed survey respondents are satisfied with their job, but only 57 percent are satisfied with their salaries. The most important component of valuing a job is feeling that you can achieve something.
  • 73 percent of developers have experienced burnout at some point in their careers.
  • The most popular way of getting a job is a referral from a friend. 30 percent of survey respondents got a job this way.
  • Dogs are slightly more popular than cats among developers! Woof!

According to methodology, the report is based on the input of 29,269 developers from 187 countries and regions, including two responses reportedly from Antarctica. The data was weighted according to several criteria, described in the report.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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