Python has been crowned the "programming language of the year" for 2018 by the TIOBE Index of popular programming languages.
The accolade recognizes the sustained growth in the use of Python, particularly in the field of data science and machine learning, where it is challenging R as the language of choice. "Python has now definitely become part of the big programming languages. For almost 20 years, C, C++ and Java are consistently in the top 3, far ahead of the rest of the pack. Python is joining these three languages now," said the analysis by TIOBE, which set out why Python was the fastest rising language in its rankings in 2018.
As for why there is so much interest in Python, the analysis singles out the wide range of uses for the language, but in particular its popularity among data scientists.
"It is the most frequently taught first language at universities nowadays, it is number one in the statistical domain, number one in AI programming, number one in scripting and number one in writing system tests.
"Besides this, Python is also leading in web programming and scientific computing (just to name some other domains). In summary, Python is everywhere."
TIOBE describes the index as "an indicator of the popularity of programming languages", with rankings based on the number of hits each language generates in major search engines.
The index is sometimes criticized for being a rather blunt measure, likely to be influenced by a range of factors beyond a language's popularity, however TIOBE is far from the only ranking to recognize the rapid adoption of Python in 2018.
Python was in the top three of both the RedMonk Programming Language Rankings and in the top four most popular programming languages in the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, once you discount domain-specific languages like SQL and markup languages like HTML.
Recruitment data also suggests healthy demand for those with Python skills, with analysis of UK IT recruitment by IT Jobs Watch showing that Python was the fifth most commonly requested language in developer job postings in 2018.
Towards the end of 2018, a report by Cloud Academy found that Python was requested far more frequently than R in data engineer job postings, although a Kaggle survey found R was still more commonly used at work by statisticians and data scientists.
Elsewhere in the list, Ruby dropped from 11 to 18, Erlang from 23 to 50, F# from 40 to 64.
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Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.