What Makes Python Special?
Written by Janet Swift   
Monday, 07 May 2018

Python is currently a trending language. It has ranked as the most popular programming language in more than one survey. It is the most widely used language for teaching computer science and is the language that people who don't already use it most want to learn. Now we have a survey from within the Python community that sets out to discover what it is that makes Python so special.



The Python Developers Survey 2017 was undertaken by JetBrains (responsible for PyCharm) in partnership with the Python Software Foundation (PSF) and set  out to identify the latest trends in Python and gather insight on how the Python development world looks today. 

Given there are already so many surveys, what makes this one special is that it is a Python-specific study that tells us Python is being used by developers who use it as their primary or a supplementary language. Among other questions, it gives answers to:

  • Who are Python developers?
  • How is Python used with other languages?
  • What kinds of projects are Python used for?
  • What are the major types of development among Python users?

The survey was conducted in October 2017. The majority of responses (62%) came from banners on Python.org; other major sources were the PSF blog and Twitter posts. No product-, service-, or vendor-related channels were used in order to prevent the survey results from slanting in favor of any specific tool or technology.

During the collection period, it received more than 10,000 responses. After partial responses and duplicates were eliminated the analysis dataset comprised 9,532 respondents from over 150 countries, distributed as shown on this map:


The United States with 18% heads the list of places where Python is used, followed by India with 15%. Next comes China (7%), which is a surprise because not many surveys manage to elicit responses from China. The United Kingdom (6%) and Germany (5%) complete the top five countries.

The survey provided for multiple job roles and almost three-quarters of respondents identified as developers, with almost 1 in 5 double as data analysts, architects, or team leads. Teams, however tended to be small. While 40% of respondents worked in teams, 74% of teams were 3-7 people and only 4% were of 20 or more.

In terms of age, Python seems to be a young developer's language with 58% of respondents being under 30. 


One point that stands out is the 8% of respondents were under 18. This is explained by the relatively high proportion of students (28%) included:


Interestingly there were as many beginning developers with less than 1 year of experience in the IT industry as veterans with 11+ years:



Another interesting finding was that only 22% were working exclusively on a single project - leaving 78% juggling multiple projects.

Python was the main language for almost 4 out of 5 developers surveyed. Only 21% used it as secondary language. For those for whom Python was the main language, other languages used were as follows:



JavaScript and HTML/CSS top this list and this leads to a statistic I find surprising, among those for whom Python is a main language over half (54%) used Python for web development just outstripping the number using it for data analysis. Looking at the entire sample (i.e. those using Python as main and as secondary language) data analysis just outstrips web development:  


Surprisingly Python developers seem prone to combining Web Development with other roles, including Data Analysis:




This survey also has interesting findings about the use of Python 3 versus Python 2 and the tools the Python Developers use and we'll return to look at these another day.



More Information

Python Developers Survey 2017 Results


Related Articles

Python Development Trends

What Makes Python Special?

Python - The Future Of Programming?

Python 3 For Science - A Survey

Python Heads IEEE Spectrum Language Ranking

Most Popular Computer Languages 2015

Python Becomes Most Popular CS Teaching Language


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 October 2018 )