Python Is TIOBE Language of the Year Again
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 06 January 2021

The moment we've been anticipating for months has arrived. TIOBE has announced its Language of the Year for 2020 and, as predicted, it is Python. This is a historic first as Python is the only language to have gained this accolade four times.

What does it take to become TIOBE's language of the year? It is very simple, the title is awarded to the programming language that has gained most popularity in the year in question. Python increased its share of ratings by 2.01% in 2020, while C++ the very close runner up saw an increase of 1.99%. Next in line, up 1.66% was C, the language that was named language of 2019, as well as of 2017.

After becoming Language of the Year in 2018, Python was widely expected to retain the title for a second year. However, its showing for 2019-2020 was an increase of only 1.4% compared to C's 2.4%, a result we found surprising, see Shock Horror - C Is The TIOBE Language Of The Year!

As repeatedly stated, being TIOBE Language of the Year doesn't imply "best" language or even most popular. It also doesn't mean being top of the TIOBE index - even though C and Language of 2019 managed to be the top ranked language for most of its reign, achieving that position in May 2020 and showing no sign of relinquishing it any time soon.

Python did briefly overtake Java to hold #2, the next-to-top position, in the TIOBE index for a single month - November 2020, but this was more due to Java's slide than Python's climb. However, most people would concur that Python is the currently language with the most stable future. As I wrote, when Python became Language of the Year, 2018:

There are some good reasons that Python is such a big hit. Perhaps the main one is the way the language manages to be easy to use for the complete beginner while still having a lot of deep semantic and syntactic richness. Python is used as a first language and it is the de facto language for all manner of AI. In plain terms Python suits a lot of different types of user. It isn't perfect but it is flexible.

According to Tiobe Software CEO, Paul Jansen, Python is increasingly a popular language in many different areas: 

Python is popping up everywhere. It started as a competitor of Perl to write scripts for system administrators a long time ago. Nowadays it is the favorite language in fields such as data science and machine learning, but it is also used for web development and back-end programming and growing into the mobile application domain and even in (larger) embedded systems. The main reasons for this massive adoption are the ease of learning the language and its high productivity. These two qualities are key in a world that is craving for more developers in all kinds of fields.

Addressing the question of when will Python become top language in the TIOBE Index, something he had predicted would happen in 3 to 4 years back in June 2019, see Python Set To Be Top Language, Jansen now writes:

Well, C has still one trump card to play: its performance, and this will remain the case for some time to come. So I guess it will certainly take some years for Python to become the new number 1 in the TIOBE index.

 

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  •  Mike James is the author of Programmer's Python: Everything is an Object published by I/O Press as part of the  I Programmer Library. With the subtitle "Something Completely Different" this is for those who want to understand the deeper logic in the approach that Python 3 takes to classes and objects. His latest book, Raspberry Pi IoT In Python Using GPIO Zero is  a colloboration with I Programmer's C guru, Harry Fairhead where they look at Python's performance in the realm of IoT.

More Information

TIOBE Index

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 January 2021 )