Developers dread these programming languages, but which one pays the most?

A portion of the report ranks programming languages by their correlating developer salary. If you’re looking to get paid well, it might be worth your time to learn Clojure and maybe not Dart

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Image: GettyImages/RyanJLane

On Monday, Stack Overflow published the results of its 2021 Developer Survey. The findings highlight a range of sentiments and economic information such as developer attitudes toward specific “dreaded” languages and how much certain programming languages pay on average. So, which programming languages do developers love, and which one should you learn if you want to get paid top dollar?

Top programming languages: Loved, hated and wanted

Overall, the results are based on a global survey conducted in May and June of this year involving more than 83,000 software developers. Rust topped the list in terms of languages developers love versus the options they dreaded, with 86.98% of responses saying they loved Rust compared to the 13% of responses who dreaded it. Clojure ranked No. 2 in this regard with 81% of respondents saying they loved the language versus 18.88% who dreaded it.

Interestingly, there’s a marked drop-off between the top two and the rest of the field. TypeScript ranked third with 72.73% of respondents saying they loved the language versus 27.27% who dreaded it. In order, Elixir, Julia, and Python round out the top six.

On the other end of the spectrum, Cobol ranked at the least loved programming language, with 84.21% of respondents saying they dreaded it, versus 15.79% who loved it. In order, VBA, Matlab, Objective-C, Groovy and Assembly sat at the bottom of the list as the top six most dreaded programming languages.

A portion of the report identifies the programming languages developers wanted to have in their arsenal. Stack Overflow determined these languages based on the percentage of “developers who are not developing with the language or technology but have expressed interest in developing with it.” Python topped the list by a wide margin with 19.04% of respondents wanting the programming language, followed by runner-up TypeScript (15.29%). In order, JavaScript (14.59%), Go (14.54%), Rust (14.09%) and Node.js (11.9%) round out the top six most wanted programming languages.

“Rust is the “most loved” language for the sixth straight year, and Python was the “most wanted” for the fifth straight year. Though it’s not as “new” as Rust, Python is easy to learn and applicable across industries. It’s one of the most widely implemented languages, and programs tend to be clear and readable,” said Khalid El Khatib, SVP of marketing communications at Stack Overflow.

Top paying programming languages

A section of the report ranks programming languages by their correlating developer salary. To determine this figure, the survey asked respondents to list their total compensation. Clojure topped the list at $95,000 nearly $14,000 higher than runner-up F# ($81,037). Elixir and Erlang both garnered the same pay ($80,077) followed by Perl and Ruby, with both also earning the same pay ($80,000). On the economic flip side, Dart sat at the bottom of the list at $32,986, just a few grand below PHP ($38,916).