Python Developer Survey
Written by Janet Swift   
Thursday, 07 May 2020

Insights from 24,000 Python developers from more than 150 different countries reveal that JavaScript is the most common language used in combination with Python, data analysis is the main motivation for using it, and Linux is the most popular OS.

Python has gone from strength to strength in 2019. Having been heralded as the TIOBE Index's Language of the Year for 2018 for gaining more ranking points than any other language, in 2019 it tied with Java in second place in the RedMonk rankings. Both of these advances suggest it will be regarded as the top language, a position it already holds  in the IEEE Spectrum Ranking.

Here at I-Programmer we consider this to be a thoroughly justifiable success. To understand why see Programmer's Python: Objects & Attributesby our editor-in-chief Mike James, the first volume in his Programmer's Python: Something Completely Different series.

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The Python Developers Survey, conducted jointly by the Python Software Foundation and JetBrains, was inaugurated in 2017 so this is the third edition. The first survey attracted responses from 9,500 developers, the second time around this grew to over 20,000 and this year saw a total of 24,000. Between 2017 and 2018 the proportion of respondents for whom Python was the main language had risen from 79% to 84%, see Survey Results From More Python Developers, and it remains at 84% for 2019. 

With regard to the other languages used with Python there are few changes from last year. In this chart the lighter colored bars show last year's figures. JavaScript is still top as "other language", but has shortened its lead. Although Bash/Shell appears to have overtaken HTML/CSS in fact both now have the same 40% share. Obviously the percentages here far exceed one hundred - this is because respondents could choose as many as applied. The number that said that they only use Python had increased since the previous survey - 11% this year compared to 6% last year, which also accounts for why the top bars are generally shorter than the lower ones.

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A new question in this year's survey asked about the whether it was for work or personal purposes that they used Python. For the majority (58%) it was both work and personal with work only and personal, educational or side projects splitting the remaining share equally (21%).

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In terms of work usage of Python there hasn't been much change in the last year. For the 2018 report, 59% of respondents stated they used Python for data analysis, followed by 55% who said they used it for web development with Dev Ops/Sys admi/writing scripts in third position on 43%. For 2019 data analysis remains as Python's top purpose with the same share 59%, and web development (51%) still comes second although it has lost a tiny bit of traction. Machine learning now on 40% has overtaken DevOps and swapped places with it. 

Other applications of Python  are programming web tools like crawlers (37%), software testing (31%), educational purposes (26%), software prototyping (25%), network programming (21%), desktop development (18%), computer graphics (14%), embedded system development (8%), game development (7%) mobile development (6%), and multimedia applications development (4%).  Again the percentages sum to multiple hundreds, which can easily be explained by Python being a good muili-purpose language. In fact, the mean number of purposes per respondent was 3.9.   

With regard to cloud platforms Amazon Web Services dominates with a share of 55%, followed by Google Cloud Platform with a 33% share. For editors PyCharm is most popular with 33% overall, 42% for Web development and 28% for Data Science. VSCode is in second place with around a quarter of respondents irrespective of what they are working one. For third place there was a difference between those working in Data Science who opted for Jupyter Notebook (13%) and those in Web Dev who favored Vim (10%) 

When it comes to operating systems devs favor Linux over Windows and MacOS comes in third, the place normally occupied by Linux/

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 Again this is a multiple choice answer but finding that over two thirds use Linux in some capacity comes as  a surprise.

In terms of Python versions, 90% are using Python 3, up from 84% in 2018 and 75% in 2017. Of those still on Python 2, 45% are using it for web development, and 41% are using it for DevOps and system administration. For Python 3 more than half are on 3.7, over a quarter are on the previous release, 3.6, and only 11% had upgraded to 3.8, released in October 2019/

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More Information

Python Developers Survey 2019 Results

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 May 2020 )