Yep, Python Is Still the Unstoppable Programming Language: TIOBE

Python continues to snake its way to the top of the world’s most popular programming languages, according to the TIOBE Index, which updates its language rankings on a monthly basis.

Right now, TIOBE has Python in second place, up from third place a year ago. Only C stands between it and the coveted number-one spot. Java, meanwhile, has slipped to third.

“Some say that Python’s recent surge in popularity is due to booming fields such as data mining, AI and numerical computing. But I have my own take on this,” wrote Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software, in a note accompanying the latest rankings. “I believe that Python’s popularity has to do with general demand. In the past, most programming activities were performed by software engineers. But programming skills are needed everywhere nowadays and there is a lack of good software developers.” 

As a result, he added, “we need something simple that can be handled by non-software engineers, something easy to learn with fast edit cycles and smooth deployment. Python meets all these needs.”

To power its monthly rankings, TIOBE utilizes data from a variety of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. For a language to rank, it must be Turing complete, have its own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google. Critics argue that this methodology is more a measure of these languages’ “buzz” than actual usage. In any case, “big” languages such as Python and C++ tend to stick to the upper rankings, while smaller languages often experience big ranking swings up and down.   

Speaking of those smaller languages, Perl (which has jumped from 21st place to 12th over the past 12 months) and Go (from 20th place to 13th) experienced some of the biggest gains in this particular TIOBE edition, along with R (which went from 16ht place to ninth). In a rather odd twist, Swift dropped from 14th to 10th, which, given the importance of the language to Apple’s programming ecosystem and the number of developers who utilize it, seems like something of an anomaly.

If you’re new to Python, but you’re curious about why it seems to be the programming language that’s swallowing the world, head over to Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide. Microsoft has a video series, “Python for Beginners,” with dozens of lessons (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes). There’s also a variety of Python tutorials and books (some of which will cost a monthly fee) that will teach you the nuances of the language (and don’t forget your IDEs).