The Internet of Things: What Programming Languages Does It Use?

Published: May 27, 2019Updated: May 16, 2022
2 min to read
The Internet of Things: What Programming Languages Does It Use?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly evolving and because of this it can be hard to keep track of the tools and languages it uses. In short, IoT uses all the languages that the rest of the tech world uses. Mostly.

Based on 2016 figures, it is estimated that there are around 6.2 million IoT developers out there so there is bound to be some difficulty in assessing exactly which languages are most popular but there are ways of establishing this, for example, by looking on blogs and forums to see what developers are saying.

In 2018 an IoT Developer Survey conducted by the Eclipse foundation highlighted 14 different programming languages currently in play. The top four, not surprisingly were:

  • Java
  • C
  • JavaScript
  • Python

Other popular languages were:

  • C++
  • PHP
  • C#
  • Assembler
  • LUA
  • Go
  • R
  • Swift
  • Ruby
  • Rust

Different uses also changed which code was run. In IoT devices and gateways the most popular were C, C++, Java and Python, whereas in the cloud the most used were Java, JavaScript, Python, and PHP.

Some IoT Programming Languages Pay More than Others

A study by IoT World in 2017 noted that higher salaries were paid to Java and C developers than other professionals within the IoT market. However, it is Go coders who are the best paid in the industry at senior level, although not in junior or mid-level positions.

TechAhead, an app development company, announced in 2017 that their top 6 programming languages for IoT were C, Java, Python, JavaScript, Swift, and PHP.

Developers themselves spend a lot of time on forums such as Quora arguing about which are the best IoT programming languages. Threads often run for years and the usual suspects appear ranked in the top slot, namely, Java, Python, and C/C++.

Will IoT’s Future Be Multilingual?

There is obviously a clear consensus of which languages are best for IoT programming but they all have their own benefits and best-use cases. The most popular is Java because of its ability to work across a variety of environments and currently it dominates in gateways and in the cloud. C is popular for embedded devices whereas C++ is more suitable for Linux. Python is the language of choice when it comes to date-intensive applications.

It is safe to say that the world of IoT programming relies on multiple languages and is likely to do so in the foreseeable future.

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