The big picture: JavaScript continues to be the most popular programming language amongst developers, according to the findings of a recent survey which included over 17,000 responses from developers in 159 countries. The increasing popularity of Python saw it gain second-place for Q3 2020, while the third most popular language was Java.

The information comes from analyst firm SlashData's latest developer survey. JavaScript came in first-place once again, and boasts an ever-increasing 12.4 million active software developers—a gain of some 5 million since mid-2017. Python was found to have 9 million active developers and came in second-place, but the researchers also highlighted a shift in its recent popularity.

In the last year alone, Python has added 2.2 million developers, mostly due to the increase in machine learning and data science. And Java, which came in third-place, was found to have 8.2 million active developers—a growth of 1.6 million since mid-2017, although Java's figures haven't increased in the past six months.

Rounding off the top 6 programming languages, with a fairly equal share: C/C++ holds 6.3 million, PHP has 6.1 million, and C# is at 6.0 million. C#, in particular, has seen a marked decline in recent years. "C# may be sustaining its dominance in the game and AR/VR developer ecosystems, but it seems to be losing its edge in desktop development—possibly due to the emergence of cross-platform tools based on web technologies," the report explains.

Further down the list are app-development languages like Android's Kotlin and Apple's Swift. The report notes that Swift—which was first released in 2014—overtook Kotlin in early 2020. And with an even smaller developer user-base are Go, Ruby, Objective C, Rust, and Lua, which were found to have numbers ranging from 0.8 million and 1.5 million.