TypeScript Vaults Ahead of Java to Crack Stack Overflow Top 5

Microsoft's TypeScript programming language over the past few years has been steadily climbing the popularity rankings in Stack Overflow's huge annual developer survey, this year knocking off Java to crack the top five.

Since 2019, that top five has been dominated by JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, Python and Java, with some juxtaposition in slots 3-5 after the cemented-in-stone No. 1 and No. 2 rankings for JavaScript and HTML/CSS.

Since 2018, TypeScript has climbed steadily, this year jumping two spots from 7th to 5th:

2022 - 5
2021 - 7
2020 - 9
2019 - 10
2018 - 12

TypeScript jumped a whopping 4.64 percent points (from being listed by 30.19 percent of respondents in 2021 to 34.83 percent in 2022) to overtake Java (which fell slightly from 33.91 percent in 2021 to 33.27 percent in 2022). That's by far the biggest jump among the top 20 languages.

Top 20 Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022
[Click on image for larger view.] Top 20 Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022 (source: Stack Overflow).

"2022 marks JavaScript's tenth year in a row as the most commonly used programming language," Stack Overflow said. "But, it's a different picture for those learning to code. HTML/CSS, Javascript and Python are almost tied as the most popular languages for people learning to code. People learning to code are more likely than Professional Developers to report using Python (58 percent vs 44 percent), C++ (35 percent vs 20 percent), and C (32 percent vs 17 percent). Compared to Professional Developers, those learning to code are less likely to report using SQL (38 percent vs 53 percent), TypeScript (15 percent vs 40 percent), and Bash/Shell (19 percent vs 29 percent)."

In the "most wanted" category (developers who are not developing with the language or technology but have expressed interest in developing with it), TypeScript came in close behind Rust and Python, which tied for first place.

Top 20 Most Wanted Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022
[Click on image for larger view.] Top 10 Most Wanted Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022 (source: Stack Overflow).

On the "Loved vs. Dreaded" scale, TypeScript was No. 4 behind Rust, Elixir and Clojure.

Top 20 Love vs. Dreaded Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022
[Click on image for larger view.] Top 10 Love vs. Dreaded Programming, Scripting, and Markup Languages in 2022 (source: Stack Overflow).

In the 2020 report, TypeScript was the No. 2 most loved language (respondents who are developing with a language and have expressed interest in continuing to develop with it). At the time, Stack Overflow touted Microsoft's embrace of open source as being responsible for the rise. The company said: "TypeScript's surge in popularity highlights Microsoft's change of direction and embrace of the open source movement. As front end web and Node.JS codebases grow in size and complexity, adopting TypeScript's static typing gives developers increased confidence in their code's correctness. TypeScript's ability to be adopted incrementally means developers can dip their toes in, gaining immediate benefits, without having to undertake a risky porting project. As a final sweetener, TypeScript polyfills many ECMAScript changes (like arrow functions, async, and classes) before they're widely available in browsers. We've been persuaded ourselves, as more and more of Stack Overflow's JavaScript is actually transpiled TypeScript."

The language slips quite a bit on the salary scale, though, as it's way down the list (27th) at $70,276 (Clojure is No. 1 at $106,644). Microsoft's C# language is right below TypeScript at $69,516. The median salary for TypeScript coders in 2021 was $59,172, climbing to $70,276 in the 2022 report.

The SO report is based on a survey of 73,268 software developers from 180 countries around the world that was fielded from May 11 to June 1 this year. Full methodology can be seen toward the bottom of the report, which is available here.

Coincidentally, on the day before the Stack Overflow survey was published, Microsoft announced TypeScript 4.8 beta with new features and functionality affecting how intersection and union types work, inference for infer types in template string types, --build, --watch and --incremental performance improvements, and more.

Going forward, Microsoft said: "Over the coming months, we'll be primarily working on bug fixes, polish and some language service changes we feel might be less-risky. We'll continue publishing nightly releases during this time which should be relatively stable if you're interested in running something more up-to-date than the beta. Prior to our final release, we'll have a feature-complete release candidate that we'll be looking for feedback on as well. For more information on release dates and plans, you can take a look at the TypeScript 4.8 iteration plan."

The final General Availability release of TypeScript 4.8 is set for Aug. 23.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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