Python, Java, C, C++ Extend Programming Language Dominance

The world’s biggest programming languages are only getting bigger. That’s according to the latest update to the TIOBE Index, which tracks the world’s most popular programming languages.

Python, Java, C, and C++ have dominated the top of the TIOBE Index for years—and their collective market-share is only growing. “Last year, these 4 languages had a 40 percent market share, this year the share is even 55 percent. This is an indication that there is not much room for competition at the moment,” suggested the note accompanying the latest data.

Meanwhile, these languages’ competitors are generally failing to dominate developers’ attention—with one notable exception. “Java’s main competitor C# is losing ground, whereas Python competitors R and Ruby are more or less stabilizing,” the note continued. “However, for C and C++ there is one small threat arising on the horizon: the programming language Rust. Rust re-entered the top 20 again with an all-time high market share of 0.70 percent.”

What’s behind Rust’s gains? It all comes down to Google, which has begun integrating Rust more fully into Android, the world’s largest mobile platform. That’s giving Rust slight but noticeable momentum. (If you’re curious about learning Rust, check out our breakdown of its benefits as a programming language, then swing by rust-lang.org for tools, documentation, tutorials, and much more.

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. While that isn’t the most scientific means of determining programming languages’ respective popularity, it’s a good way to determine at a glance which languages have “buzz.”

The key takeaway from the TIOBE Index is that learning Python, Java, C, and C++ can open up all kinds of opportunities, and it’s unlikely we’ll see these languages’ popularity decline anytime soon.