C# Is TIOBE Language of the Year
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 10 January 2024

What we've been expecting for a while is confirmed - C# is TIOBE Language of the Year for 2023. And the veteran COBOL re-enters  the Top 20, something we didn't foresee.


While we don't take the TIOBE index too seriously, it is fun to follow the changes it records. On the whole it has reasonable face validity and accomplishes what it is meant to do - which is provide information about which programming languages have traction and are worthy of developers' attention.

To gain the accolade of TIOBE Language of the Year a language needs to have the largest year-on-year increase in its share of the rating and between January 2023 and January 2024 the only language to have seen up uptick of more than one percent was C# which has increased from a rating of 5.73% to 7.16%, a positive change of 1.43%. It still occupies the same position, 5th, in the index. All the languages above it, i.e. the top 4, saw a decrease in share year on year with the largest slump, -4.81% experienced by C, which was language of the year three years ago. Java saw the next largest decline, of -4.34%.


Back in October 2023, C#'s increase from the previous year was 3.29% while Java's decrease was 3.92% and the gap between them was just 1.2%. This prompted speculation that C# could soon overtake Java, something that now looks even more certain given that the gap has closed to 0.71%.


Providing his comment on C# becoming Language of the Year 2023, Paul Jansen, CEO of TIOBE Software and the instigator and maintainer of the Index wrote:

C# is eating market share from Java and is getting more and more popular in domains such as web application back ends and games (thanks to Unity). C# can be used free of charge and evolves in a steady pace, making the language more expressive every new release. C# is here to stay and might even surpass Java soon.

He also commented:

Apart from C#, there were a lot of interesting changes in the TIOBE index last year. Fortran and Kotlin became permanent top 20 players replacing old-time favorites R and Perl. Fortran is very fit to crunch numbers with good libraries and remains a university favorite in lots of domains. Kotlin is the easy to learn/write competitor of Java. 

The new entrant in the top 20 this month is COBOL, having moved from #31 to #20 during 2023. Devised in 1959 COBOL was created to address the need for a standardized programming language that could be used to develop business applications across different mainframe computers it is still widely used in legacy systems that underpin critical business operations in sectors such as banking, insurance, and healthcare. COBOL was in the Top 10 when the Index was launched, its highest place having been #8 in August 2001. 


  •  Mike James is the editor of I Programmer and a prolific author. In Deep C#: Dive Into Modern C#, he provides a “deep dive” into various topics that are important or central to the language. He is also the author The Programmer's Guide To Kotlin which sets out to show that Kotlin is both "a better Java" and fun.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 February 2024 )