10 Fastest-Growing Programming Languages on GitHub

Which programming languages are on the rise? That’s always a difficult question to answer, but GitHub’s annual State of the Octoverse report gives us some valuable insights. Dart, Rust, and Kotlin have experienced substantial jumps over the past year, while more-established languages such as Python continue to maintain huge audiences.

A massive code repository, GitHub is used by millions of people, making it a great indicator of what kinds of languages and apps the broader tech industry is actually using. And according to the data, the following programming languages have enjoyed triple-digit gains in usage over the past year:

“With Flutter in our trending repositories, it’s not surprising that Dart gained contributors this year,” read the Octoverse report. “We also saw trends toward statically typed languages focused on type safety and interoperability: the Rust, Kotlin, and TypeScript communities are still growing fast.”

Flutter is a cross-platform framework for building apps, originally built by Google; this year, it’s one of GitHub’s most popular open-source projects (by contributor count). Since its debut in 2017, it has expanded to support a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Flutter apps are written in Dart, hence the latter’s growth. 

The presence of Kotlin on this list of fastest-growing languages isn’t a shock, either. Kotlin’s profile has skyrocketed ever since Google named it a “first class” language for Android development, although Dice’s recent pollingshows that a majority of developers still prefer Java for their Android-related work (old habits die hard). However, Kotlin is useful for things beyond Android apps: According to a recent survey by JetBrains (which created the language in 2011), some 41 percent of developers also used the language for web backend projects, while 29 percent used it for libraries, and 22 percent for tooling. 

Not all the rapidly growing languages on this list as new, shiny up-and-comers, though. Python has been around forever; it’s ubiquitous; and it’s only getting bigger. Although it’s already used extensively as a general-purpose programming language, Python is finding new audiences in highly specialized areas such as machine learning. At this juncture, it seems truly unstoppable.

GitHub also published a chart of the most-used programming languages among its community, and there are precious few surprises there. The same stalwarts that dominate other popular-languages charts—including JavaScript, Python, Java, and PHP—continue to rule the GitHub ecosystem:

“This year, C# and Shell climbed the list,” the Octoverse report added. “And for the first time, Python outranked Java as the second most popular language on GitHub by repository contributors.”

Python—at this rate, it’s going to swallow the world