Learning a new programming language takes time and money.

With fewer employers springing for the cost of training that isn’t immediately and directly necessary, developers understandably want to ensure that their investment will pay off.

No sense learning a language like Matlab, which had fast rise in popularity when it came on the scene in 2013 only to have a decline almost as quick. That’s what the latest rankings from RedMonk show.

No one is saying Matlab has disappeared. Just the contrary. It’s still being used in a variety of specialty areas. But as far as being discussed and referenced on Stack Overflow or code created on GitHub, it’s popularity has waned.

The chart RedMonk prepares shows that a few languages have strong staying power. JavaScript has held the top spot in all but two of the years between 2012 and 2021. Java, PHP, C# and Python have all been in the top five for years. Python unseated Java a couple years ago to take 2nd place in the rankings.

Explaining the methodology, RedMonk says, “The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.”

That said, an article on the tech careers site Dice.com says the RedMonk rankings are a useful guide to languages that have staying power. “It’s always worth looking at the latest updates,” the article says.

Discussing the top ranking languages, Dice says, “Employers have an incredible hunger for technologists skilled in these languages, both to build new applications and maintain mountains of legacy code.”

RedMonk language ranks - blog.jpg

Based on an analysis of millions of job postings last year, the five most frequently mentioned languages in order are SQL, Java, Python, JavaScript and C#.

Citing data from Burning Glass, another Dice post explains that “SQL developers earn a median salary of $92,504, with the profession projected to grow 11.5% over the next decade. Database administrators, who utilize SQL quite a bit, make nearly as much ($89,561) with exactly the same projected growth.”

The RedMonk list, like so many other rankings, is just one bit of intelligence. However, it does show the endurance of legacy languages.

“You can feel safe learning an older language such as Python or JavaScript today, because it’s not going anywhere soon,” says Dice. “Newer languages such as Kotlin attract a lot of buzz, but it might take years for them to become as ubiquitous.”

Photo by James Harrison on Unsplash

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Green Key

Researchers Hack Computer Fan. Seriously!

doesn’t involve exploiting bugs or vulnerabilities in software. Instead, they found a way to do it by controlling a computer’s cooling fan.

Amazingly, they found hackers could encode stored data into fan vibrations by imperceptibly slowing down or speeding up the fan’s rotation. The fan causes the computer itself and the surface it’s on to vibrate and these vibrations can be picked up by a smartphone and then retrieved by a hacker.

“We observe that computers vibrate at a frequency correlated to the rotation speed of their internal fans,” lead researcher Mordechai Guri told Tech Xplore. “These inaudible vibrations affect the entire structure on which the computer is placed.”

“The malware in question doesn’t exfiltrate data by cracking encryption standards or breaking through a network firewall,” he said. “Instead, it encodes data in vibrations and transmits it to the accelerometer of a smartphone.”

While the process of transmitting the data is extremely slow, and therefore not likely to be adopted by hackers (spy services maybe?) it is yet another demonstration of how it is possible to access a computer that is air-gapped, meaning it is isolated and not connected to the internet.

Guri is head of R&D at the univerity’s Cyber-Security Research Center. He and his team specialize in finding ways to access data from highly secure systems and devising methods of protecting against the threats.

In the case of the fan vibration hack, a simple method of protecting against it is to make the fan speed unchangeable.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash


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Green Key