Java, C, and Python continue to dominate the list of most popular programming languages, according to the December TIOBE Programming Community index–no surprise there, as these languages have been among the fastest-growing and most commonly used for years now. But the rankings did include one unexpected addition: Microsoft’s Visual Basic. NET, which hit an all-time high at no. 5.

The index is a monthly indicator of the popularity of coding languages, created based on the number of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors worldwide. While the index does not rank the best programming languages, it is meant to check whether a developer’s programming skills are up to date, or to make decisions about what languages should be adopted when building a new software system.

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Professional developers don’t think much of Visual Basic, index analysts noted, as it is often considered a “toy language” intended for people just starting to learn programming. However, there are many programs and applications written in Visual Basic, particularly in the professional domain. Many SMBs have developed applications with Visual Basic because it is easy to learn, and allows for rapid prototyping.

Visual Basic .NET was ranked seventh on the list last year, and it climbed to no. 6 in February, surprising TIOBE analysts, as our sister site ZDNet reported.

Despite its high ranking this month, Microsoft is slowly phasing out Visual basic but stopping its co-evolution strategy with C#, index analysts noted, so it’s likely that the language will begin to decline in popularity again at some point.

Here are the 10 most popular programming languages as of December 2018, according to the index:

  1. Java
  2. C
  3. Python
  4. C++
  5. Visual Basic .NET
  6. C#
  7. JavaScript
  8. PHP
  9. SQL
  10. Objective-C

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The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Java, C, and Python are the most popular programming languages of December 2018. — TIOBE index, 2018
  • Microsoft’s Visual Basic. NET hit an all-time high at no. 5. — TIOBE index, 2018