Java, C, C++ Remain Programmers’ Favorites

Top Programming Languages Chart

Java and C are the most popular programming languages, according to the latest TIOBE Programming Index.

While the Top 10 popular programming languages have virtually remained unchanged over the past five years, there, nonetheless, have been some significant shifts. Objective-C, for example, had been listed at No. 41 in 2008, but has risen to the fourth slot in August’s report.

Objective-C is an old programming language. But when the iPhone came out, you could only create apps for it if you wrote in Objective-C,” explains  Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, a Dutch company that tracks and assesses the quality of software.

However, Jansen noted that Objective-C has rather limited use because it’s employed on Apple’s iPhone and iPad and not much else. Also, as the devices’ sales stabilize – rather than continue to soar through the roof – so has interest in the language. As a result, developers may be better served by becoming an expert in C, for example.

Some other interesting notes:

Though MATLAB remains among the index’s top 20, Jansen advises developers not to become too attached to it. “It has a tiny market share, so any fluctuation can cause its ranking to rise a lot,” Jansen says. “Even though it went up in the ratings and is more popular, it will never rise to No. 1” In other words, it’s a nice language to know but don’t build your career around it.

Meantime, old-timer Lisp remains in the Top 20, though it’s slipped from being the second most popular language in 2008 to the 16th today.

“It’s a functional program,” Jansen says. “But it consumes too much memory and its programs, when executing are slow.” That makes it unattractive for mobile devices, which is where the IT industry is increasingly heading.

3 Responses to “Java, C, C++ Remain Programmers’ Favorites”

  1. Clinton Staley

    Interesting to watch such trends, but it’s worth noting that the multiple sites that track language popularity often show significantly varying results, so it’s worth checking more than just Tiobe. My own favorite reality check is to count hits 🙂 for keywords in job postings, theorizing that popularity is best measured by what people will actually pay you to write. By that metric, for instance, JS far outstrips Python.

  2. Robert Lee

    Article said that Lisp was the second most popular language in 2008.
    I find this unbelievable. I would think that the top languages in 2008 would be Java, C, C++, javaScript, PHP, C# — not necessarily in that order. I think Lisp was mainly used in colleges.

  3. Unca Alby

    @Clinton Staley, you are spot on. Checking hits isn’t very scientific unfortunately, but the idea behind it is great. That is, it hardly matters what programmers like. What matters is what employers are willing to pay for.