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AI Adoption Surges Among Programmers as JavaScript Dominates

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The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence is reshaping the software development landscape, according to a new report from SlashData, a leading developer research firm. 

Their State of the Developer Nation survey for Q1 2024 reveals a striking 59% of developers globally are now utilizing AI tools in their programming workflows.

The comprehensive report delves into how AI is impacting coding practices and careers. It found developers are increasingly relying on AI for tasks like answering coding questions via chatbots (42%), demonstrating AI's potential to augment and enhance human programmers' abilities.

"59% of developers use AI tools to help them with their work," said Stathis Georgakopoulos, SlashData researcher. "71% of all developers are actively working with AI in one way or another"

Developers use AI tools
Credit: Slashdata

As AI reshapes the profession, one programming language continues its long reign - JavaScript. SlashData estimates the JavaScript community now comprises a staggering 25.2 million developers worldwide, cementing its status as the most widely utilized coding language on the planet.

The growth of JavaScript's massive community showed no signs of slowing, with 4 million users in just the last 12 months, roughly in line with the overall expansion of the global developer population. No other language comes close to JavaScript's ubiquity across web, mobile and desktop development environments.

"The JavaScript community grew by 4M users in the last 12 months," the report states, highlighting JavaScript's continued growth to a total of 25.2 million developers worldwide. It also notes, "It's been a non-contest for a while for JavaScript," when discussing its status as having the biggest programming language community.

breakdown of the size of programming languages communities
Credit: Slashdata

While JavaScript's primacy remained unchallenged, other languages jostled for position in the rankings:

  • Python (18.2 million) overtook Java (17.7 million) for the #2 spot, boosted by 13% year-over-year growth
  • C++ (11.6 million) and C (6.5 million) continued their strong showing among systems developers
  • Rust (4 million) emerged as the fastest-growing language, doubling its community in 2 years
  • Go (4.7 million) broke into the top 10, displacing Swift

The rising Rust and Go communities exemplify developers' desire for performance, reliability and security, which those newer languages were designed to provide.

Objective-C (2.5 million) saw noticeable declines amidst iOS developers' shift to Swift. More tenured developers still rely on legacy languages like PHP and C#, while younger coders avoid them.

SlashData's report makes clear that amid AI's proliferation, JavaScript's versatility across mobile, desktop and web fronts has allowed it to maintain marketplace dominance. 

However, AI's ability to potentially simplify or automate more coding tasks could upend development practices in the years ahead.

SlashData's report provides a comprehensive look at the programming language landscape based on substantial data. The estimates of community sizes are extrapolated from a survey of more than 10,000 developers across 135 countries, combined with calculations showing there are approximately 43 million active developers worldwide.

As AI's impact intensifies and developer needs to evolve, reports like this snapshot the tectonic shifts remaking software development and the language communities at the center of the revolution. While JavaScript maintains its throne currently, AI's proliferation could eventually redraw the entire programming language hierarchy.

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