Python Slithers Closer to the Top of the TIOBE Index

Python is rapidly becoming the world’s most buzzed-about programming language, according to the TIOBE Index’s latest update.

“The gap between the current number one, programming language C, and Python is only 0.7% now,” reads the note accompanying the data. “Next month, the TIOBE index is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Programming languages C and Java are the only 2 languages that reached a number 1 position during these 20 years. So if Python is going to take over the first position in the TIOBE index, this will certainly be a historical moment, which is worth celebrating.”

How does TIOBE create its rankings in the first place? It 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. As critics have complained in the past, that makes TIOBE more of an indicator of a language’s “buzz” than its actual usage, but it’s nonetheless a good way to determine which languages are on developers’ minds (as well as which ones might be permanently declining). 

No matter how you measure the popularity of programming languages, though, it’s clear that Python is immensely popular among many developers who rely on it for a variety of tasks, including highly specialized ones such as data analytics. If you’re interested in learning the language for the first time, start by visiting Python.org, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. You 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).

Other online learning platforms offer pretty extensive Python tutorials, 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. There’s lots of free material on these sites, although they’ll also try to push you toward more advanced, for-pay classes. 

If you’re curious about 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 recently 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.”