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Dianne Kibbey
Dianne Kibbey
Head of Community, element14

Survey: C/C++ Preferred Language among EEs

April 7th, 2014 by Dianne Kibbey

Everyone loves a good language war. I am, of course, talking about programming languages. Despite the myriad of programming languages available in the modern electronics industry today, C and C++, first developed in the 1970s and 1980s, are still viewed as the most important starting points for engineers.

element14, an online community of more than 220,000 design engineers and hobbyists, recently conducted a survey of preferred programming languages and more than 100 respondents submitted their answers. About 54% of those surveyed deemed C/C++ the most important, with Python as the second most popular choice garnering 18% of the vote.

The remaining languages scored as follows:

  • Assembly (9% of the vote)
  • Java (8% of the vote)
  • BASIC (4% of the vote)
  • HTML/CSS (2% of the vote)
  • PHP (1% of the vote)

The following graph depicts a summary of the results:

Programming Languages Chart

Learning code is fast becoming a hot-topic, with many countries now including it as a key part of their school curriculums. Devices like the Beaglebone Black, Raspberry Pi and RIoTboard have only further accelerated that interest.

This poll was the first in a series that will take place at the element14 Community, highlighting the real views of electronics engineers. The next poll is now live and asks which technology will be most important over the next two years: graphene, the Internet of Things and sensors, nanotechnology, 3D printing and scanning, wearable technology or virtual reality eyewear.

The discussion doesn’t stop here. Roughly 4% of voters indicated “other” in our language survey. What is your preferred programming language? Tell us at

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Category: element14

2 Responses to “Survey: C/C++ Preferred Language among EEs”

  1. Matthieu Wipliez says:

    Actually it makes sense, a lot of languages today use a C-like syntax, and for embedded/system programming, nothing beats C/C++. Python is of course very good to write concise programs and even more as a starting point to learn how to go from an algorithm to an implementation. I’m slightly puzzled by the presence of PHP, but a lot more by seeing HTML/CSS in this list (these are not even programming languages so to speak). Well, at least Tcl does not appear in the survey, I still think that having a lot of EDA tools rely on Tcl feels like an accident of history!

  2. Juergen Pintaske says:

    This survey has a lot of self fulfilling prophecy in it I assume, but at least some numbers.
    Forth is not explicitly mentioned, but is the interactive one, low resources, compiler can sit on the target processor, interactive programming, incremental programming, all integrated. Try it out, download MSP430 LITE or ARM from MPEforth.
    Not so well known, but in many cases the secret weapon to get projects back on track, and ideal for safety critical – make your IOT unhackable – what we all want.

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