Developer Report: 'C# Seems to Be Losing its Edge in Desktop'

Contradicting findings in other recent reports, a new study from developer analyst firm SlashData shows some decline in the popularity of C# over the past year.

SlashData's newest "State of the Developer Nation" report ranks the most popular programming languages and what they're used for, finding the usual cast of characters at the top: JavaScript, Python, Java, C/C++ and C#. However, data about the latter of those being in decline is of special interest to .NET-centric coders.

While other studies have pointed to increasing popularity for C#, the go-to language in the .NET Core world (see here and here for two recent examples), the 18th edition of SlashData's report shows some loss of traction. The report states C# seems to have stopped growing within the last year.

"C# lost about 1M developers during 2019. C# is an important language in the AR/VR (Hololens) and game developer ecosystems, but it seems to be losing its edge in desktop development -- possibly due to the emergence of cross-platform tools based on web technologies," says the "Developer Economics: State of the Developer Nation 18th Edition," covering the fourth quarter of 2019.

That conclusion is based on surveys of more than 30,000 software developers in more than 165 countries. The developer analyst firm tracks the changing landscape of mobile, IoT, desktop, cloud, web, AR, VR, games, machine learning developers and data scientists.

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

Programming language popularity is always a focal point of such studies, and the newest report, released this month, shows almost ubiquitous use of JavaScript.

While C# doesn't fare well overall, it does have a higher ranking among non-developers trying to improve their coding skills. In that camp, C# is No. 3 (25 percent of respondents), behind Java (28 percent) and C++ (26 percent).

Other highlights of the report as distilled by SlashData include:

  • JavaScript remains the most popular programming language, with more than 12M developers worldwide using it.
  • Python added 2.2M net new developers in 2018 and surpassed Java in terms of popularity. It is now the second largest programming language community overall.
  • Kotlin is the fastest growing language community in percentage terms. It nearly doubled in size in the past two years.
  • 3 out of 5 developers contribute to open-source software.
  • Developers are most motivated to contribute to open-source projects to improve coding skills (29 percent) and a belief in the benefits of open source (26 percent).
  • Almost half of open-source contributors expect companies to support and contribute to open-source communities.
  • Developers using CI/CD tools are 20 percentage points more likely to be professional developers.
  • 58 percent of developers using CI/CD tools work for firms with more than 10 people involved in software development.
  • While amateurs are less likely to leverage cloud computing infrastructures than professional ML developers, they are as likely as professionals to run their code on hardware other than CPU.
  • ML developers working with big data and deep learning frameworks are more likely to deploy their code on hybrid and multi clouds.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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