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Python strikes again: TIOBE Index rankings show shake-ups in top programming languages

In the next six months, TIOBE Software CEO speculates that Python could be coming for the top spot in the company’s Programming Community index. So which language will plummet?

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TIOBE recently released its roundup of the top programming languages for May. The company’s regular snapshots in its monthly TIOBE Index detail granular changes in the ever-evolving programming language landscape and provide insights into a specific offerings’ potential future trajectory. Could Python, TIOBE’s 2020 programming language of the year, nab the top spot in the not-too-distant future?

SEE: The best programming languages to learn–and the worst (TechRepublic Premium)

“Last November Python briefly swapped positions with Java for the second position in the TIOBE index, and this month Python strikes again. The difference is only 0.11%, but it is reasonable to assume that Python will keep its second position for a longer time now,” said Paul Jansen, CEO TIOBE Software, in the release. 

“It 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,” Jansen continued.

In the latest rankings, C holds the top spot with a 13.38% overall rating, representing a 3.68% drop since last May. Runner-up Python’s rating (11.87%) has increased 2.75% in the last year and that’s enough to edge out third-place Java. With an 11.74% rating in the latest roundup, Java’s overall rating has dipped 4.54% since May 2020. At that time, Java was ranked No. 2 and Python placed third.

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Rounding out the top five, C++ and C# tout ratings of 7.81% and 4.41%, respectively; the same positions these two languages held in the May 2020 rankings.

Next up, Visual Basic holds the No. 6 spot with minimal change (negative 0.16%) in its rating (4.02%) since May 2020 and JavaScript ranks seventh. Interestingly, Assembly language has surged in the last year and holds the No. 8 spot in the latest rankings with a 2.43% rating. (In May 2020, Assembly language claimed the No. 14 position.)

The programming language PHP holds the No. 9 position with a 1.86% rating (a one-spot drop since the May 2020 roundup) and SQL caps off the top 10 with a 1.71% rating.

SEE: C++ programming language: How it became the foundation for everything, and what’s next (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Year over year, there are a few surging newcomers in the rankings between No. 11 and No. 20. For example; No. 11 Ruby has jumped four spots since May 2020 and now boasts a 1.50% rating. Previously ranked No.17, Classic Visual Basic has leap-frogged a number of other programming languages in the last year and now claims the No. 12 spot. During this time period, R has slipped from No. 10 to No. 13.

With a 1.25% rating, Groovy holds the No. 14 spot; a markedly year-over-year leap from its May 2020 position (38). Delphi/Object Pascal is ranked 17th in the latest rankings (a six-spot jump since May 2020) and Fortran has climbed from No. 34 to No. 20 during this time period.

TIOBE uses a number of metrics including searches on Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo, and Baidu to determine these monthly rankings. Feel free to peruse the full index on the TIOBE website.

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