Python has taken the number-one slot on the TIOBE Index’s ranking of the world’s most popular programming languages. This long-predicted ascension suggests that Python still has room to grow despite its already-massive usage.
“The long-standing hegemony of Java and C is over. Python, which started as a simple scripting language, as an alternative to Perl, has become mature,” read the note accompanying the latest TIOBE Index update. “Its ease of learning, its huge amount of libraries, and its widespread use in all kinds of domains, has made it the most popular programming language of today.”
Python recently hit version 3.10.0, with a variety of new features for developers. (If you’re totally new to Python and want to learn, swing by Python.org for its handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python.) Long an ultra-popular generalist language, Python has made inroads into highly specialized fields such as data science and artificial intelligence (A.I.), sometimes replacing languages such as R in the process.
To create its monthly rankings, TIOBE leverages data from a variety of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. Languages that rank must be Turing complete, have their own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google. In other words, it’s a good measure of a particular language’s popularity or “buzz,” but doesn’t focus on actual usage in the same way as other websites that rank programming languages, such as Stack Overflow.
Nonetheless, there’s a strong correlation between buzz and usage, and it’s clear that developers everywhere are using and talking about Python. For a language to ascend even a single spot within the upper reaches of the TIOBE rankings is a big deal, because it suggests a massive amount of activity (further down the TIOBE ranks, it’s much easier for languages to rise, since it doesn’t take as much of a shift in data to jump or fall a few slots).
Large companies such as Amazon, Capital One, Facebook, and Microsoft are all actively seeking Python developers. Learning the language not only positions you to participate in a massive community; it can unlock some great job opportunities, as well.