Python Heads IEEE Spectrum Language Ranking
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The language that comes top in this year's IEEE Spectrum Ranking is Python, closely followed by C and Java. However if you think another language should be the most popular one, simply use its interactive tool to change the weightings!


Commenting on this result, which represents the Top Ten Languages for the typical Spectrum reader, Stephen Cass writes:

Python has continued its upward trajectory from last year and jumped two places to the No. 1 slot, though the top four —Python, C, Java, and C++ — all remain very close in popularity. 

C# has reentered the top five, taking back the place it lost to R last year. Ruby has fallen all the way down to 12th position, but in doing so it has given Apple’s Swift the chance to join Google’s Go in the Top Ten. This is impressive, as Swift debuted on the rankings just two years ago. (Outside the Top Ten, Apple’s Objective-C mirrors the ascent of Swift, dropping down to 26th place.)

Python coming top doesn't surprise me, although C ahead of Java, might be found strange - until you consider the interests of "the typical Spectrum reader", which introduces a bias towards C and away from alternatives you might expect nearer the top, such as JavaScript.

What you need to know is the ranking is achieved by assigning weights to 12 metrics from 10 sources of data that include social chatter (Twitter, Reddit and Hacker News) open source (GitHub) job postings (CareerBuilder and Dice) plus Stack Overflow, Google Search, Google Trends and the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, which over 3.6 million conference and journal articles covering a range of scientific and engineering disciplines. For the Spectrum Ranking this is the weighting used - with IEEE Explore given a weight of 100 with other factors having weights between 5 and 50:



There are three other labeled sets of rankings - Trending, Jobs, Open, and as this is the fourth year that IEEE Spectrum has done this exercise, you can look at the annual rankings back to 2014. The fun part is that you can create a Custom weighting and promote the language of you choice to become the top language.,

Last year we asked "What is the recipe to put JavaScript as the top language" and we now have an answer - eliminate everything apart from the GitHub metrics and weight created to active archives 4 to 1.  



Finally here's a stab at which languages are currently Trending for  the typical I Programmer visitor:



OK we don't expect JavaScript to be trending, but finding C in second place, despite eliminating IEEE Xplore is again surprising!

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 July 2017 )