4 min readJun 20, 2021

JavaScript (js) is a light-weight object-oriented programming language which is used by several websites for scripting the webpages. It is an interpreted, full-fledged programming language that enables dynamic interactivity on websites when applied to an HTML document. It was introduced in the year 1995 for adding programs to the webpages in the Netscape Navigator browser. Since then, it has been adopted by all other graphical web browsers. With JavaScript, users can build modern web applications to interact directly without reloading the page every time. The traditional website uses js to provide several forms of interactivity and simplicity.

We’re continuing our analysis of the results of last winter’s JavaScript Ecosystem Survey, a survey of over 16,000 developers conducted by npm in collaboration with the Node.JS Foundation and the JS Foundation. Our second topic is How JavaScript is used across industries — and, more specifically, how different industries use certain JavaScript tools, frameworks, and practices. To read more about the methodology behind this survey, click here.

We asked about what industry our respondents worked in. 45% of users answered “tech”, revealing an underlying ambiguity in our question. For instance, if you work at Google, do you work at a tech company or an advertising company? What about at Microsoft, which many consider a tech company, but also has advertising and even hardware manufacturing arms? Next time, we’ll ask for more detailed information about industry concentrations.

“We asked about what industry our respondents worked in. The most common answer was “tech” at 45%”

Despite this, we still gathered some good data about how use of JavaScript varies by industry. The top industries were:

  • finance: 7%
  • advertising and marketing: 5%
  • education: 5%
  • entertainment: 5%
  • business support and logistics: 4%
  • healthcare: 4%
  • retail: 3%
  • government: 2%
  • manufacturing: 2%

There were meaningful differences across industries in how and why people use JavaScript. There were also some clear commonalities, not all of which we’re going to mention. But from a statistician’s point of view, the questions where all the industries answered very similarly are useful because it indicates the differences in other questions are “real” and not just random variation.

With 16,000 responses, even the single-digit groups per industry constituted enough data to make meaningful conclusions. We discarded answers from industries with less than 2% responses (i.e. less than 300 individual responses).

In general, people are pretty clear why they choose JavaScript: the huge ecosystem of libraries. An academic study of the same topic in 2013, An Empirical Analysis of Programming Language Choices (Meyerovich and Rabkin, 2013) exhaustively researched what makes developers choose programming languages and it reached the same conclusion. It’s not controversial to conclude that the modules in the npm registry are a major reason people choose JavaScript. However, people cited a number of other reasons and there were notable variations by industry.

Respondents who say they work in government were the least likely to report that they chose JavaScript for productivity gains, with only 51% saying so versus 60% in the finance industry, where this belief is strongest. Instead, government was most likely to believe that using JavaScript gave them performance gains: 31% of government respondents cite this, while in most other industries only 20–21% said this.

The advertising industry is the one most likely to say that developer satisfaction is a reason they choose to use JavaScript, with 50% of respondents saying so. This is notable since the advertising industry has a lot of PHP developers, and as we’ll see in a future analysis based on programming language choices, high satisfaction with JavaScript is a characteristic shared by most PHP developers.

“Across every industry, solid majorities (more than 90% in every case) expected to use JavaScript more or about the same amount as they had previously in the next 12 months.”

Cost savings as a reason for choosing JavaScript were most cited by respondents who work in finance (41%). This seems pretty logical, as finance is an industry that presumably can be relied upon to think of the costs of things.

The entertainment industry was the most likely to cite the size of the developer pool (41%) while the retail industry was most likely to say the ease of on-boarding new developers (40%) was their reason for choosing JavaScript. While JavaScript has a big pool of developers and we think on-boarding developers in JavaScript is pretty easy, it’s unclear why these industries in particular would note those advantages.

Finally, some people don’t get to choose what programming language they work in. This number was highest in government, at 21%.

Across every industry, solid majorities (more than 90% in every case) expected to use JavaScript more or about the same amount as they had previously in the next 12 months.