Three reasons you might enjoy the Go programming language and three reasons you might not

The results of the 2018 Go User Survey has shed light on the pros and cons of Go.

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Google's Go programming language has had mixed fortunes of late.

While the language was associated with some of the highest paying roles in the Dice 2019 Tech Salary Report, its flagging popularity was also highlighted in the recent Redmonk Language Rankings 2019.

Shedding more light on the pros and cons of Go this week were the results of the 2018 Go User Survey, which queried more than 5,800 Go developers about how they use the language.

The majority of respondents use the language professionally, with the top three uses for the language being web development (65%), DevOps (41%), and systems programming (39%).

The bulk of those surveyed (68%) would recommend Go to other developers, with only 7% labelled as "detractors" who were unlikely to promote the language to friends and colleagues.

Reasons developers like Go

Overall the language was rated highest for three features related to its efficiency: its CPU performance, its memory usage, and its build speed. Less popular were the size of the binaries generated when Go programs are compiled and the tools available to debug Go.

Reasons developers dislike Go

The biggest challenges for Go developers were keeping up with new modules and packages being released by vendors and managing dependencies among these third-party libraries, the lack of several important features such as generics, and the differences in syntax and conventions to other programming languages.

While Go unsurprisingly topped the list of the most-used and favorite languages among respondents, it was closely followed by Python, which was used and favored by more than half of those surveyed.

SEE: 10 ways to prevent developer burnout (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Meanwhile Java was the third most commonly used language, while relative newcomer Rust was number three in the list of preferred languages.

One explanation for the continued association between Go and well-paid developer roles could be that demand is outstripping supply, due to the smaller pool of Go programmers.

While the total number of jobs that demand Go skills may be low compared to an enterprise and mobile mainstay like Java, Go was cited as the most in-demand programming language by employers in Hired's 2019 State of Software Engineers report.

If you're interested in finding out whether you're cut out for life as a software developer, check out TechRepublic's guide, or if you're already a developer read these tips to being more productive.

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By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.