Python Trending To Top Spot In TIOBE Index
Written by Janet Swift   
Monday, 12 July 2021

The TIOBE Index for July 2021 is out and is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It ranks programming languages in terms of their popularity and while its chart seems to suggest there are wild swings of fortune, you'll notice that Java and C were the top two languages in 2001 and are still the top two in 2021.



Prefacing his commentary on this month's ranking Paul Jansen CEO TIOBE Software explains that the first TIOBE Programming Community Index was published, in 2001, as:

a personal hobby project to see what languages were in demand

It is certainly worth celebrating the fact that 20 years on it still gets published every month, enabling us to discern interesting trends and shifts in the programming landscape. Not only is fun to monitor, it correlates reasonably well with other indicators of language popularity and therefore has reasonable face validity. 

Over recent month's the focus of interest for the TIOBE Index is the inexorable rise of Python. In Python Set To Be Top Language, reporting the TIOBE Index from June 2019, Mike James commented:

The TIOBE index gives Python only 3 or 4 years to leave C and Java in the dust and claim the top spot. Given the amount of legacy code in Java and the specialist nature of C programming, I'm not sure it is going to be quite so easy, but Python certainly is a phenomenon.

Two years on and Python is already very close to catching up with C and has already overtaken Java on two occasion, albeit only temporarily. Commenting on the latest rankings of C, Java, and Python, Jansen writes:

It is interesting to see that these 3 languages are getting closer than ever before. The difference between position 1 and position 3 is only 0.67%. This means that the next few months will be exciting. What language is going to win this battle? Python seems to have the best chances to become number 1, thanks to its market leadership in the booming field of data mining and artificial intelligence.

Looking at the chart, it is obvious that Java and C take periodic slides while Python overall trend is on the up. And when you look at the year-on-year changes in the table below C has declined by almost 5% since last July, Java by almost 4% while Python has increased it share by almost 2%.


One thing that stands out from the above listing is that year on year there's no difference in the relative positions of the top 7 languages, emphasizing the phenomenon previously noted that it is difficult for new languages to rise rapidly in this index. On the other hand, whereas back in 2001 Java, as the top language, had a rating of 26.5%, today the top rating, for C is only 11.62%. This bears out the idea that most programmers are interested in multiple languages. It's also good to see that "old timers" such as Fortran and Delphi can still find a place in the top 20.


More Information


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Python Set To Be Top Language

The Dance Of The Programming Languages 

Why Do Some Languages Always Come Top?

Fortran Re-enters TIOBE Index Top 20 While Objective-C Leaves

Delphi About To Fall Out Of TIOBE Index Top 20 


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Last Updated ( Monday, 12 July 2021 )