Sometime ago someone ran a poll on Hacker News asking what the readers’ favorite programming language was.
I wasn’t surprised to see Python win, but I was surprised to see it lead Ruby by over 1,000 votes. C# fared well with 5th place, and Haskell and Clojure rounded out the top 10.
No other language had over 100 votes, but Groovy was added two hours late, so perhaps if were included to begin with it would be on the list instead of “other.”
Cobol came in dead last with 10 votes.
Compare that with RedMonk’s comparison of programming language usage on GitHub matched to StackOverflow questions:
Polls like this don’t do much to tell us which programming languages are “best” or what languages are most used in production. They’re not even controlled to make sure the people voting are actually programmers, so it’s hard to read too much into them. But they do tell a bit about what languages developers like to use.
As developers become entrepreneurs and startups become enterprises, these sort of preferences can have an impact on the job market, so taking a look at these sorts of lists can help developers decide what to learn. And for employers, they can provide a data point for deciding what languages attract developers.
Of course the usual caveats apply – use the best tool for the job and use these results as only a single data point weighted against many others to decide what to learn/use.