Which programming languages are technology students using the most? That’s a vital question to answer, as those students will eventually carry that usage into their future companies, potentially ensuring those languages’ dominance for many years to come.
GitHub Education gives a shout-out to Python in particular. “One consistent finding, across the board, is the widespread adoption of Python and related tooling. In the past five years, many, if not most, of the top computer science programs in the United States have implemented Python as a primary language of instruction,” reads the report. Here’s the accompanying chart:
Moreover, Python’s share increased from 75.2 percent to 81.1 percent between 2019 and 2020, suggesting some added momentum. Bash/Shell also saw an increase from 61.3 percent to 63.4 percent during the same period, while C bumped up, from 46.8 percent to 49.1 percent. R, a language primarily used for data analytics, saw its year-over-year share rise from 17.1 percent to 19.7 percent, despite widespread concerns that Python is chewing up its share of the data-programming market; given the usage of R within academic contexts, its robust presence on this particular list is perhaps no surprise.
It’s hard for any new language to break through and become ubiquitous. For example, Apple has thrown considerable attention and resources behind Swift, its replacement for the decades-old Objective-C. But if you observe the language-popularity rankings issued by the TIOBE Index, RedMonk, and other firms, Objective-C has managed to stubbornly hold developers’ time and attention. This is a testament to the power of existing codebases that must be maintained. Like many new languages, Swift has also taken years to add key features, slowing its adoption among developers who want a fully featured language to work with.