What are the top Programming Languages of 2020

In programming, a few languages maintain themselves as standard and continue to be used across the industry. However, new languages today rise to fill the gaps left by these old languages.

Article by
Fraz Jamil
Article date
January 14, 2020

Why managing AI risk presents new challenges

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The difficult of using AI to improve risk management

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How to bring AI into managing risk

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Pros and cons of using AI to manage risks

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Benefits and opportunities for risk managers applying AI

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To explore the top programming languages of 2020, we will look at both the mainstay and 'up-and-coming' languages popular in 2020.

The Mainstay Programming Languages

These languages have remained popular for decades and hold a central place in programming today. The continued use comes from how simple, versatile, and efficient they are.

Even though they don't make up the newest languages available, their popularity as industry standards will continue to exist through 2020.


Python remains one of the most popular languages since its release in 1991. Being object-oriented, Python offers clean code that makes it easy to learn for those starting out.

It also has a large community that contributes to common stock of support and troubleshooting. Used across the board in web and business coding Python has also become popular for AI and machine learning projects. This novel area of computing means that Python has for now carved out a space for itself in the future. As an all-round language, it has been, and stays, a popular choice in 2020.


Java is another object-oriented language that has been around since 1996. Java lends itself mostly to Android apps, web apps, and anything related to large amounts of data. Like Python, it holds itself as an industry standard by being easy to learn and use.

One drawback stems from its expensive memory needs that put some users off. However, given its popularity with businesses, finding a job proves simple with a background in Java. Recent efforts to bring Java in line with the Cloud also means a greater relevance for it in 2020 and the future.


JavaScript, released in 1995, holds a unique place among programming languages. Best known for its use in dynamic websites (think Netflix, for example), it tops the list of web browser languages.

Its inability to be interpreted identically by all browsers has been a downside to JavaScript. But like most languages that survived over the decades, it is easy to learn and use from the beginner to the expert programmer.

Because it's used on almost all platforms and websites, it's popularity and importance in 2020 need little justification.


C++ is another basic object-oriented programming language developed in 1983. Unlike the previous language, C++ has a complex syntax system, making it hard to learn.

With this said, learning C++ helps users also learn languages like Java, C, and C#. Its most popular use rests in game development and graphics compiling. Unlike most languages, C++ does not have a garbage collector (a form of automatic memory management), which can be a blessing or a curse depending on who uses it. Despite its difficulty, it remains popular going into 2020.

Up-and-Coming Programming Languages

While not every new language fills a need in the market, these four languages appear to be doing just that. By addressing some of the problems of older languages, they place themselves higher on the list of popular languages each year. Many of them have the potential to overtake some of the languages listed above.


Created by Google in 2009, Go is still popular in 2020. While not very new, it is on the rise as a fast and scalable programming language. When Google found existing languages lacking, the company devised Go to keep up with its tech needs. It blends some of the key features of older languages and stands ready to overtake those like Java and C++.

One of the main benefits is its simple syntax, making for easy and quick learning. Its main uses are web and GUI applications. Even though it is difficult to learn, Go's association with Google means it will continue to rise in popularity and use for 2020.


Released in 2015, Rust balances two issues that separate many languages: control and memory safety.

C++ provides users with complete control, but no memory safety. While Java has memory safety, it lacks control.

When it comes to dealing with this imbalance in other programs, Rust puts itself forward. On top of this, Rust operates extremely fast and works perfectly with hardware. Its main uses include systems programming with various business applications.

Poised to overtake similar languages like C++ and Java, its growing popularity doesn't seem to be stopping in 2020.


Like many of the 'up-and-comer' languages, Kotlin tackles Java's functions and seems to perform them better. Although around for much longer, Kotlin was released this year. It bills itself as the newcomer in programming for Android apps. Its language-based programming makes it simple and clean in the realm of Python.

This clean coding structure also means greater ease in learning it. For Android apps, Kotlin appears to be a front runner for 2020 and the near future.


First appearing in 2014, Swift is now a popular Apple coding language. In response to the company's wish to avoid using Java, they developed Swift. Designed to make iOS apps, Swift allows for any level of programmer to experiment with.

On top of being easy-to-learn, it is fast and secure. Like Go, Swift has the benefit of being paired with a major tech company. Anyone looking to hitch themselves to a tech giant learning should use Swift. Its popularity in 2020 indicates a growing need for it along with Apple's continuing demand.

Programming Languages in 2020 and Beyond

This list does not include all top programming languages. There are languages developed every year, and new ones rise in popularity and inevitably replace old ones that still work great. This list is just the cream of the crop, not all the programming languages available.

It's important to note how different these languages are from one another; it shows that not every language is suited for every project. Languages like Swift and Go are for app development within a particular operating system. Languages like Python, the universal and simple language will remain a popular choice for all levels of programmers. Knowing what will be most needed by programmers in that given year will always shape the top programming languages.

Ultimately, languages will continue to evolve to the needs of programmers. And as recent developments have shown, they seem to be evolving alongside large tech companies that release mobile devices, online platforms, and integrated systems. The growth of these companies shows where programming is headed; not only in 2020 but well after as well.

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