What programming languages are popular in Japan and worldwide?

What programming languages are popular in Japan and worldwide?


While different programming languages have different pros and cons, you might be curious about the new trend of programming languages.

So, which programming languages have become popular recently? There’s no specific research indicating the popularity of programming languages in Japan but by analysing the research done by Hrog.net, we can assume popularity based off of how much each specific language programmers are paid annually. In addition, we'll also provide links to IT job openings in Japan specifically for foreigners. Interested? Scroll down and find the perfect job for you right now!

With that said, let's get right into it.


Salary per programming language in Japan

Source: Hrog.net (2020)

To make things a bit easier:

・The X axis is the one depicting how many job offers have been listed and available on the Hrog.net website
・The Y axis is the one depicting the average annual salary that users of each language receive, in terms of Japanese yen (円)

To visualize how each salary differs, we also created a chart for you to look at:

As you can see, the top 20 languages are listed here on this chart and the top 5 are as follows: R, GO, TypeScript, Scala and Kotlin. As workers in the IT-field yourself (assuming that's why you'd be interested in this article), you've probably heard about these languages before. However, we'll take this opportunity to explain a little bit more about the characteristics of the top 5 and later on, which of the languages in general are actually popular in Japan - just because a job that requires R or GO may pay higher than a job that requires Javascript, doesn't mean that it's a highly-wanted skill in Japan.

#1: R

"R" is a programming language that specializes in and is used for statistical computing and graphics - hence, linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification and clustering etc., and therefore is highly extensible. It is often used at companies to analyse big data and/or machine learniner, and is gaining popularity within general IT companies, as well as Japanese companies that own big-scale web services (as, according to data from 2019 in comparison to data from 2020, the job offers listed on Hrog.net requiring R increased by 266 cases).

While the language itself isn't one that isn't hard to learn, knowledge of statistics is important in learning how to apply it effectively.

[Looking for new job opportunities? Check Mixess' list of available job offers that require R by clicking this link.]

#2: GO

GO comes in at second place, and is a programming language that was developed by Google in 2009. This language is one that developers claim is perfect for building projects with high security, high speed and high modularity, and also one that is gaining attention for use in backend development. Compared to data from 2019, job listings that require GO increased by 375 cases, meaning that it's one we can assume that will grow popular in Japan with time.

[Looking for new job opportunities? Check out Mixess' list of available job offers that require GO by clicking this link.]

#3: TypeScript

TypeScript is a language developed by Microsoft in 2012, and was made in order to make up for the problems that occur when using JavaScript to do big-scale development. Since then, it has been mostly used when developing projects and is also known for being acknowledged as the basic language used by Google in 2017, which is one of the reasons of how it gained popularity. 

Due to the fact that it takes time to learn TypeScript, the people who can use it are quite rare in Japan and thus it remains one of the highly paid programming languages at rank 3 - and is assumed to continue to grow over time, as jobs requiring it have increased by 420 cases since 2019.

[Looking for new job opportunities? Check out Mixess' list of available job offers that require TypeScript by clicking this link.]

#4: Scala

Developed in 2003, Scala is a high-level general purpose language, compatible with Java (meaning that developers would be able to use standard JVM features and Java libraries) and useful for complex workflows. In 2009, Twitter switched its backend programming language from Ruby to Scala, which is one moment in time that it gained popularity. 

In Japan, while jobs that require Scala are relatively low, the fact that it is one of the more difficult langauges to learn and that engineers who can use it are also rare, the salary offered for it remains high. Just for your information; demand for engineers able to utilize Scala has increased by 145 cases since 2019 according to Hrog.net data.

[Looking for new job opportunities? Check out Mixess' list of available job offers that require Scala by clicking this link.]

#5: Kotlin

Kotlin is a language, not unlike Scala, that is compatible with Java. Created in 2011, it gained popularity in 2017 when it was selected as a support language for Android, and since then, has been gaining attention from Japanese companies that work on the development of Android applications, meaning that the demand for Mobile Engineers/Application Engineers has also grown.

Compared to Scala, Kotlin is easier to learn, and due to its compatiblity with Java, it can be expected that demand for Kotlin will also grow in the serverside development sector in the future.

[Looking for new job opportunities? Check out Mixess' list of available job offers that require Kotlin by clicking this link.]


Now, with all that said...


What are the popular programming languages in Japan?

Progamming languages ranked per popularity in Japan

Source: Hrog.net (2020)

Based on this data Hrog.net also offered an interesting anaysis regarding "希少高給言語 (Rare but earns a high salary)" and those that are "メジャー人気言語 (Popular languages)".

For example, the languages you see to the upper left of this chart are the "Rare but earns high salary" a.k.a the top 5 highest salary earning programming languages listed earlier, and also to the bottom right, featuring Java, PHP, JavaScript, C#, C++ and C in order as the most popular languages in Japan.

So, to sum it up in terms of popularity:

#1: Java:
One of the most popular programming languages, created in 1995. Recorded from data on Hrog.net, jobs requiring knowledge of Jaba reached to a whopping number of 11,526 openings. However, keep in mind that those openings were not specific to foreigners living in Japan. Here on Mixess, you'll be able to find openings that are directed towards foreigners in Japan who have a sufficient knowledge and grasp on Japanese. Does that sound like you? If so, check out this link!

#2: JavaScript
A lightweight and interpreted programming language developed in 1995 that is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and CSS. Second to Java, JavaScript had a total of 7472 job openings at the time of publication. Take a gander at Mixess' job openings for JavaScript and apply if it sounds like you're the perfect applicant!

#3: PHP
A scripting language specially suited for web development. At a recording of 7383 job openings at the time of publication, PHP is also one of the most popular languages used in Japan. Interested in finding a job where you can show off your PHP skills? Click here!

#4: C#
Programmed by Microsoft in 2000, C# is a component-oriented language that has already raised in popularity and demand by companies, reaching a total of 6067 job openings this year. For information about job openings specifically for foreigners living in Japan, check out the jobs listed on our website, Mixess!

#5: C++
As opposed to C#, C++ is an object-oriented language and was originally created as an extension of the C programming language. This year, there was 5391 job openings recorded. Here's your link to Mixess if you're a user of C++, living in Japan and wanting to know more about your opportunities!

#6: C
And last but not least, the C programming language which first appeared in 1972. The job openings that were available this year reached up to a number of 5264. Check out this link if you're a user of C!


Popular programming languages worldwide

So now that you have a general an image of the annual average salary and popularity per programming languages in Japan, what about the trend of programming languages worldwide?

Let’s check out the top 20 famous programming languages in September (2020) worldwide. The following research is done by TIOBE Software, a company that gathers data from results of multiple research engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, Baidu) and reveals programming languages which become popular every month. 


Source: TIOBE Software (2020)

Similarly to Japan, C, C++ and C#, as well as Java, are programming languages that are used frequently, and users of such languages are highly demanded.

And there you have it; a breakdown of popular programming languages in Japan and around the world. As you study more and improve your programming skills, keeping this information in mind will help you determine what you want to study next, what job you want to do and for what purpose.

We hope this data helps you to have an understanding on what programming languages are in high demand, and also an understanding of languages that can help generate a high salary for your IT career in Japan.