Python Slithers Its Way Back Up TIOBE Index Rankings

Will Python eventually ascend to the very top of TIOBE’s popular programming language rankings? If current trends continue, that seems like a distinct possibility.

Python has ascended to second place on the TIOBE Index, just behind C and ahead of Java. “[Python] might be even heading for the first place of the TIOBE index in the next half year, because C is (just like Java) losing popularity,” reads the note accompanying the rankings. “Elsewhere in the index, Rust is trying to get back in the top 20 and Dart and Julia are also moving upwards.”

To create its rankings, TIOBE leverages 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 complain that TIOBE is more an indicator of a language’s “buzz” than its actual usage, but it’s nonetheless a good way to determine which language’s are on developers’ minds, and which are potentially falling out of favor.

Java, Python, and a handful of other languages routinely dominate the top slots of pretty much every programming-language ranking, no matter what the methodology to determine positioning. According to SlashData’s recent State of the Developer Nation, these languages’ respective “developer communities” (i.e., those using the languages on a regular basis) number in the millions. In the first quarter of 2021, SlashData estimated JavaScript’s developer community at 13.8 million strong, followed by Python (10.1 million), Java (9.4 million), and C/C++ (7.3 million). 

If you’re totally new to Python and interested in learning more, visit Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. Those who’re more visual learners might also want to consider Microsoft’s video series, “Python for Beginners,” with dozens of lessons (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes).

If you’re looking for Python tutorials, there are lots available at some of the more popular online learning portals, including Datacamp (whose Introduction to Python course includes 11 videos and 57 exercises), Udemy (which offers a variety of free introduction courses, including one for “absolute beginners”), and Codecademy. Yes, some of these platforms will try to get you to sign up for more advanced, for-pay classes (and that’s fine), but they still offer lots of free material. 

And if you’re interested in a broader, more philosophical take on how Python might evolve over the next few years, check out this interview with Pablo Galindo, a Bloomberg software engineer, Python core developer, and one of five members of the 2021 Python Steering Council. “The ubiquity of Python in the data science and scientific environment is certainly an important factor in its growth,” he told Dice, “but I think there are two other important elements that have played a strategic and fundamental role: its syntax and its interoperability with native code.”