The Languages that Rule the World

Posted by Diana Antão

Java, Python, PHP and Ruby, all developed in the 90s and 00s, are some of the most popular computer programming languages that we still use today.

You’ll find them in mobile apps, search engines, bank and government software, web development processes, cybersecurity platforms and more. It’s fair to say they shape our society and economies, one line of code at a time. Let’s look at them more closely…


1991 – Python

Python is the easiest programming language to learn. It has a super simple syntax and a framework for almost everything. Pinterest and Instagram were built using Python. It is commonly used in fields like biotech, machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data and cybersecurity.

1995 – Ruby

Ruby is quite popular among American startups like Twitter, GitHub and Airbnb. It is also making its way into banking and enterprise software. Just like Python, it has a simple syntax and it’s a dynamic type of language.

1995 – Java

Java is one of the most popular programming languages. It has huge GitHub and Stack communities. Most of the enterprise software was written using Java, mostly because it can run on almost every system (thanks to the Java Virtual Machine). It’s also the most popular android language.

1995 – JavaScript

JavaScript is a high-level programming language that is integral to the World Wide Web. All those interactive elements you see on websites are made with JavaScript. It’s fair to say it’s ubiquitous on the internet. It also has a massive community of support.

1995 – PHP

Originally, PHP stood for ‘personal home page’, but it has changed to ‘hypertext preprocessor’. It’s the backbone of WordPress and Facebook and along with Perl, it helped create the World Wide Web. It’s an open-source language used in server-side development.

2001 – C# and C Family

C# doesn’t rule the world but sure does rule Microsoft apps. It was developed by Microsoft as a simple and object-oriented programming language. The rest of the C family, C and C++ are much older but also much more influential than their younger brother, C#. C is embedded into everything from operating systems, electronics, cars, TVS, mobile phones... it’s a universal language. On the other hand, Microsoft Office, Mozilla Firefox and even mission-critical code at Google were written using C++.

2003 – Scala

Scala was first developed after criticism of Java came about. Just like Java, it is object-oriented, but unlike Java, Scala has many features of functional programming languages. The list of companies that use Scala includes well-known names like Netflix, Tumblr and FourSquare. It is becoming commonly used in data science.

2009 – Go

Go was developed by Google and is an open source programming language. It was created to take advantage of multi-core processors and all the technology that wasn’t available in the 90s when most languages were released. Go is a compiled language and that means its performance is closer to lower-level languages like C. Adobe, IBM and Intel are already using Go.


It’s both exciting and scary to realise how much of our world and daily routines are managed by these languages. Would you add any other languages to this list?