Top 5 programming languages for web developers to learn

The following languages will help current and new web developers navigate the programming landscape to code web-based services and apps that are stable and secure.

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Their list is:

  1. Python
  2. JS
  3. PHP
  4. GO
  5. Java
  6. Honourable mention: Ruby



I can understand JS over PHP, but Python over JS? Not to mention Java over Ruby…


Yeah their list is very questionable @MikhailPertsev!

If jobs is a factor then I’d agree there are plenty around for Python/JS/PHP…

Maybe towards the end of the year we can start a 2021 predications thread - it will be interesting to see which tech people think is going to trend :nerd_face:

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I am going to bet that Flutter(and that means Dart) will increase in popularity for sure… Not sure about Elixir/Phoenix, they might gain a little bit more traction as well…


I personally don’t trust these “Top X for Y” type articles. They are almost always biased. More reliable “Top X for Y” can be a collaborative article that is a summary of long debates and discussions. And no one will ever have time or energy for one of those.


I agree @mafinar, tho for some reason I am always interested in hearing the favourites or ‘top’ languages from normal everyday people on forums like this :nerd_face:

Part of the reason I thought Devtalk would be neat is because of all the non-Elixir related posts by people like ODL and Peer on the Elixir Forum, and I’ve already been exposed to lots of languages and tech that I might not have otherwise (such as TypeScript, Svelte, Julia, etc).

We definitely need to start our own 2021 predications thread soon too!


Hi @AstonJ, @mafinar,
When I saw Java in at number 5 on this list I thought “Great! I’m still relevant”.
But looking at the comments, the general consensus disagrees with the list. Elixir seems to be the language of choice on devtalk. I get the impression there are very few Java developers here which surprises me.
A poll to get an idea of what languages we professionally work with, or what types of products we are building at our workplace, i.e. Mobile apps or web applications would interesting.

Finally, what’s the attraction of Elixir and what types of products is it good for building? I’ve played around with Python, Scala, Kotlin and Clojure so wondering if Elixir might be of interest.


Wow this turned out big, this is what happens when you get distracted by your kid when you’re taking a break and trying to type something non-work. Feel free to not read it, it’s all my opinion any way :slight_smile:

Well, these top lists are mostly influenced by the languages authors are more exposed to. So I had worked on Python, Java, ClojureScript, Go, and Elixir in the backend in different times over the past decade or so (with JavaScript always tagging along to torment me), and whenever a specific language dominated my work, I somehow had that language related topic on my newsfeed, that language’s community in my follow(er) list and in my mind, that language became one of the Top 5 languages for me, replacing one of the older ones I used. When I learned Elixir for the first time (I was in Python land back then), I had an impression that it’s a very niche language and most of the people I hung out with and most of the articles on my newsfeed agreed with me. Then when I landed my first job in Elixir in 2017 and continued working with it since then, all my newsfeed, friends, job posts, recruiters all talked about Elixir and how amazing it is. It is not that Elixir suddenly took off post-2017, it’s just that my surroundings changed. Had I remained in Java or Python land, I would still have the same impression of Elixir that I had 4 years ago, and would not have cared much to actually sit for a longer time to try out LiveView etc. So, for me, Elixir will be in top 5, but I spend a long time away from it and spend more time with Clojure, it will probably replace Elixir in my “personal” top 5 list. These not main-stream but has quite a few job attached to it type languages have interesting positioning in ranking articles. That being said, Python, Java, JavaScript etc will be pretty much constant there (PHP too but some people try not to put it in their choice for some reason).

What’s the attraction of Elixir?

For me, it’s the way the language, it’s ecosystem and the community has become. I feel the way the language lets me think (pattern, pipe, process) matches with the way I want to think when programming. I love the way beam concurrency works. The community is great. I can go on and on about distributed programming facilities, fault tolerance, OTP etc but you can achieve those in a mix of multiple tools in other languages any way. Nowadays any stack can do anything with the right amount of layering, so I won’t speak of those.

What type of product?

For me, web backend, and front-end too (LiveView is awesome), any type of networked thing really. Great support for web socket, great (imo the best I used) database library, front-end (think Meteor without the spaghetti) framework, a pretty powerful web framework that ties all of the above.


hey @mafinar - I read it all :grin: … twice :scream:

thanks for all the info! :+1: Elixir processes sound a bit like AWS lambdas …
You are right about the proximation of the language we work with, it’s like thinking that the earth is the centre of the universe.
Maybe next year I’ll learn a bit of Elixir.


Anytime! Thanks for reading. I don’t know much about AWS lambda except that it is something I should totally know about, but it it’s like beam processes then I can guess why’s there so much hype! I hope you have great fun learning Elixir next year. I intend to (finally) learn me some Haskell next year :slight_smile:


I am sure Java programmers will be relevant for some time yet because it seems to be favoured in ‘Enterprise’. If you like Java and it can do what you want it to, that’s most of what matters :smiley:

Many of us here popped over from and we share many members of our mod team, over time I am sure we will see more people from different languages :nerd_face: If you know anyone who might like a place like this place, please nudge them in our direction :blush:

Anything Erlang is good for, Elixir will be good for. Did you know that according to Cisco, 90% of the worlds internet traffic goes through Erlang controlled routers :sunglasses:

Have a read of this - although it’s about the Phoenix framework, it will hopefully give you a glimpse about the power of Erlang/Elixir.

That’s very interesting @mafinar! Funnily enough I can see similarities with my own journey. When I was into Ruby, all I ever saw was Ruby related stuff (mostly) and that’s how I became aware of Elixir. When I first watched PragDave’s talk about it I thought it looked interesting… but too complicated! So I didn’t look further.

Then Ryan from Railscasts tweeted about it and that got me really curious, I posted about it on MetaRuby and there was some good interest (including from @ohm, who’s here now as well! :laughing:) and that got me really excited! I’ve always said that it was Ryan’s tweet that ultimately led to the creation of - funny how life works out sometimes isn’t it?

These are great points :+1:

You should! :smiley:

The next area of Devtalk I want to focus on is actually our learning side, so it would be great to see more of us doing things like writing journals etc. I’m going to post more about that soon!

Good luck! :joy:

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Haskell has been on my list for a long time. Now I don’t know which to learn -
:joy: :joy:

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@AstonJ - I really like the idea of focusing on learning.
For me though it’s more about how to learn than what to learn. I want to learn everything :). My main problem is how to learn a technology well and then go on to dominate it. I confess I struggle when it comes to learning.
A journal might be something interesting. It might help.


I’d always suggest to start at the beginning - if you’re anything like me and despair when feeling lost this helps prevent that because you learn from the ground up, meaning you should progress at a comfortable pace.

It seems we’re not the only ones who feel this way too, I wrote a ‘Best way to learn Ruby and Rails’ post some time ago and it proved to me one of my most popular blog posts - it’s basically a step-by-step, taking you from the basics right up to a decent level.

I am planning on doing a similar one for Elixir and Phoenix… I just need to finish learning them myself first :see_no_evil:

Awesome, I hope to post something about it soon :smiley:

I think it would, I am really enjoying our little Programming Erlang Book Club - and hope to do (and encourage) more of these soon :nerd_face:

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I did attempt learning Haskell four times before, the first time I ended up learning Clojure, the second time Elixir, the third time F# and the fourth, OCAML (or was it ReasonML?) :confused:


That’s very true which then leads me to ask, what would be considered not Enterprise?


Sounds like a good topic for a thread Finner :nerd_face:

I think something they often take into consideration is support (tooling/integrations) - including official/paid support options (such as what you can get with Red Hat linux).


Elixir/Phoenix should be included!