Python continues to dominate the TIOBE Index’s monthly list of the world’s most popular programming languages—but Python’s weaknesses leave other languages some room to rule key tech segments.
“It is hard to find a field of programming in which Python is not used extensively nowadays,” reads the note accompanying TIOBE’s latest update. “The only exception is (safety-critical) embedded systems because of Python being dynamically typed and too slow. That is why the performant languages C and C++ are gaining popularity as well at the moment.”
To create its rankings every month, 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. No, it isn’t the most scientific means of determining programming languages’ respective popularity, but it’s a good way to determine at a glance which languages have “buzz.”
TIOBE’s methodology means there’s relatively little ranking movement among the programming languages at the very top of the list. Most of the action happens further down, where the ranks of languages such as Swift, Go, Kotlin, and Objective-C can change noticeably over the course of a year.
But do the most popular languages also pay the most? That’s an excellent question. For an answer, we can turn to Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country; our recent analysis of that data shows that popular languages such as Python, Java, and C++ can pay out more than $100,000 in median salary. While that’s not guaranteed (pay can hinge on everything from your experience to the size of your company to where you live), it’s clear that in-demand languages can command sizable pay—provided you demonstrate you’ve mastered the intricacies of those languages.
If you’re interested in learning Python, start off by heading to Python.org for its handy beginner’s guide. Once you’ve learned the basics, consider tutorials from 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”), Codecademy, and Microsoft (which has lots of instructional videos for beginners).