Tech Pros Dread This Programming Language the Most

Which programming languages do developers love and hate the most? That’s a much-debated (and much-analyzed) topic, and Stack Overflow’s latest developer survey offers additional fodder for discussion.

Stack Overflow’s survey is a comprehensive one, with more than 100,000 developers participating worldwide. And of those tech pros, some 89.9 percent said they “dreaded” using Visual Basic 6, followed by COBOL (84.1 percent), CoffeeScript (82.7 percent), and VB.NET (80.9 percent). “Most dreaded means that a high percentage of developers who are currently using the technology express no interest in continuing to do so,” Stack Overflow explained in a note accompanying the data.

And what languages are most-loved? Rust tops that particular list, with 78.9 percent, followed by Kotlin (75.1 percent), Python (68 percent) and TypeScript (67 percent). This is Rust’s third year at the top of Stack Overflow’s list, and the first appearance of Kotlin.

Kotlin also came in fourth among languages that developers want to learn, but haven’t used yet; it trailed Python, JavaScript, and Go on that metric. Kotlin is likely boosted by its recent adoption by Google as a “first class” language for Android development.

Doom and Dread

In February, the TIOBE Index suggested that Visual Basic was headed rapidly for obsolescence. “Last week Mads Torgersen of Microsoft announced that they will stop with the co-evolution strategy of C# and Visual Basic,” read the firm’s analysis. “This means that Visual Basic will fall behind if compared to new C# features. Let’s see whether Visual Basic can take this new punch and keep on surviving.”

TIOBE first predicted Visual Basic’s demise two years ago, suggesting that the platform had a “bad image” among expert developers. That dovetails neatly with Stack Overflow’s findings about Visual Basic 6 being a “dreaded” language.

It’s also no surprise that many developers dislike COBOL, a 59-year-old programming language perhaps best-known for powering mainframe applications, and has experienced steadily declining popularity over the past few decades.

For developers, the good news is obvious: as certain languages decline, others rise to take their place. For every language you might dread using, there are likely others that can get the same job done—and a bit more easily, too.

15 Responses to “Tech Pros Dread This Programming Language the Most”

    • Shepherd James

      COBOL = My first programming First language ever taught to me, and First prorgramming language i ever learned while obtaining IT Security Engineer Degree = LAST time i ever saw it or used it was the last day of my COBOL class!

  1. Name Not Important

    I have been a software engineer since the 80’s. I have programmed in everything from COBOL to FORTRAN to VB to PowerBuilder to C#, to JavaScript, just to name a few. I have developed on a number of platforms from mainframes to minis to modern day web and database servers. My skills are current and I prefer to develop on the modern frameworks that exist today. But, more times than not, I am asked to also maintain 10, 20 and 30 year old applications that were built on these old platforms and programming languages. So, just because any writer talks obsolescence just remember there are millions of lines of code still in production that use those “dead” languages and platforms.

  2. iRaHuman

    Agree with you, what language would you consider ‘easier to use’ and more robust? Also, do you do contract work or prefer working at one company? Just trying to get a feel from professionals on what they enjoy and can improve upon in the workplace. Take care and continued success…

  3. Peter Hill

    I personally love vb6. I was a self taught programmer from qbasic on. I started learning c a few years ago to play with arduinos and raspberry pis, and if i ever need to do something vb cant do i can just write a c dll and link to it. In my opinion vb is the fastest way to develop an application.

  4. Parris Labeur

    My first programming language was TCL, followed by Perl and finally I downloaded Python to personally sharpen skills and ‘challenge’ myself as the most-recent addition. Years ago, as a QA Tester, our product supported WINTEL and Unix/Linux OS platforms. With *no* experience testing in Sun Solaris, I actually took a SunSparc system home (the monitor alone had to have weighed 50 Lbs) and taught myself all I needed to know by reading the Man pages (Help pages for Unix) each night. A valiant, yet arduous endeavor to go through but well worth it. Thankfully VB will not be going away like many have said. I am employed as an Enterprise Support Technician and VB scripting definately has its place in today’s workforce, I personally use PowerShell more than VB for my needs, which is quite adequate. Side-note: I worked for Pick Systems for 4 years in the 90’s. Not many ppl are aware of its existence today, but like VB, Pick OS/Multidimensional RDBMS Programming language is still being widely used surprisingly. Hats off to all Programmers – digesting millions of lines code eachday sounds as fun as getting my teeth pulled. Kudos my binary I.T. PEEPS!!

  5. Try billions of lines of COBOL code running for major banks and insurance companies…unless they are forced to upgrade because IBM “suddenly” sunsets COBOL for Java, I expect some juicy maintenance contracts in my retirement years. At age 51, I am a 13 year COBOL JCL IDMS programmer.

  6. VB6 Programming

    Yet despite the headline, only a tiny number voted in this part of the survey.

    The reality is programming languages come and go, legacy code is forever.

    There are millions of lines of code that simply aren’t going to be rewritten.

    And VBA programming, VB6 programming and VBScript programming continue despite Microsoft.