Programming languages: Python is coming for the crown as "possible future champions" wait in the wings

"The gap between the current number one, programming language C, and Python is only 0.7% now," said TIOBE Software's CEO in a post about the latest programming languages index.

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Image: iStock/AndreySuslov

Each month, TIOBE publishes a roundup of the top programming languages. Over time, these monthly snapshots illustrate long-term trends as programming languages rise and fall in popularity for one reason or another. The company's June rankings feature a number of macro shakeups as the index approaches a historic milestone of its own.

Overall, C reigns supreme with a 12.54% rating, representing a 4.65% dip since June 2020. With an 11.84% rating, runner-up Python continues to play second fiddle to C but has surged in the last 12 months with a 3.48% rating increase during this time. Java places third in the latest rankings with an 11.54% rating, representing a 4.56% slide compared to June 2020 when the programming language ranked second.

SEE: The best programming languages to learn--and the worst (TechRepublic Premium)

"Python is about to take over the first position in the TIOBE index. The gap between the current number one, programming language C, and Python is only 0.7% now," said Paul Jansen, CEO TIOBE Software, in a blog post about these latest rankings.

In the post, Jensen said the TIOBE index would be "celebrating its 20-year anniversary" in July and mentioned historical milestones with an eye toward the future.

"Programming languages C and Java are the only 2 languages that reached a number 1 position during these 20 years. So if Python is going to take over the first position in the TIOBE index, this will certainly be a historical moment, which is worth celebrating."

Compared to June 2020, positions four through eight remains unchanged with C++, C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript and PHP filling the ranks, in order. Ninth-ranked Assembly language touts a 2.05% rating, representing a 1.09% increase since June 2020 when the programming language ranked 14th. Programming language SQL rounds out the top 10 (the position it held in the June 2020 index) with a 1.88% rating, representing a modest increase over this time period (0.15%).

SEE: C++ programming language: How it became the foundation for everything, and what's next (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Surging languages

Outside the top 10, the latest rankings include a few interesting slides and surges to note. For example, No. 11 Classic Visual Basic jumped eight spots since the June 2020 index and now boasts a 1.72% rating.

In the last year, No. 12 Groovy has surged 19 spots and now maintains a 1.29% rating. No. 17 Fortran has jumped 20 spots in the last year and Delphi/Object Pascal has risen from No. 22 to No. 18 during this time.

Sliding languages

Since the June 2020 index, No. 14 R and No. 16 Swift have slid five spots each. MATLAB and Go round out the top 20 with notable year-over-year slides with No. 19 MATLAB and No. 20 Go dropping four and eight spots, respectively.

"There appear to be hardly any interesting moves further down the chart. Possible future champions such as Dart, Kotlin, Julia, Rust, TypeScript, and Elixir didn't show any significant changes last month," Jansen said.

Potential "future champions"

Among these noted potential "future champions," Dart currently ranks 29th with a 0.49% rating, Kotlin holds the No. 34 spot (0.37%) just ahead of No. 35 Julia (0.36%). Rust ranks 30th (0.47%), TypeScript claims the 45th spot (0.22%) and Elixir places 47th (0.22%).

TIOBE uses a number of metrics including searches on Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo and Baidu to determine these monthly rankings. Feel free to peruse the full index on the TIOBE website.

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