Thursday, April 4, 2013

Programming Is Changing...

The article that included the graph below surprised me:

The gist of the article is to note that in 2012 (the year graphed above), markedly fewer programmers are working in a single programming language.  The article has the same data for 2010, and indeed there are many more programmers working in a single language just two years earlier.

The surprise for me isn't that we have more multiple-language programmers – it's that we have so many single language programmers, even today!

As I've written before, over the course of my career I've used dozens and dozens of programming languages – probably over 100 of them.  If I look at just the last two years, I've used seven: Java, JavaScript, Scala, PHP, C, C++, PIC assembly (two of these at work, all seven for personal projects).  I have trouble imagining an application programmer using less than two today, as just about every application uses JavaScript (for the client side) and at least one other language (for the server side).  And what application today isn't a web app?

Certain kinds of programming, much less common these days, perhaps can be done with a single language – things like embedded systems, low-level systems programming, etc.  But surely it isn't true that close to 20% of all programmers fall into these categories?  I'll speculate that on some larger teams, it's possible to write for years in a single language because you're slotted into some narrow area of work.  I still have trouble imagining 20% of all programmers fitting into that category.

So I'm surprised!

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