Python knocks R and Perl down the list of most popular programming languages

Perl dropped to an all-time low on the most recent TIOBE Index that ranked the 20 most popular programming languages.

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Programming language Python continues to grow in popularity among developers, reaching an all-time high ranking on the TIOBE Index for July at 9.2%. While Java (15%) and C (14%) still top the list of the most popular programming languages, Python is on course to replace them both in the next three to four years, TIOBE recently predicted, and would become the most popular programming language in the world. 

However, Python's rise—due in part to the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data science in the enterprise, and the large developer community around it—has also led to the fall of other previously popular languages. On this month's index, Perl hit an all-time low rating of 0.92%, coming in at no. 19 on the list. And R hit its lowest rating since 2008, at 0.84%, coming in at no. 20. 

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

R and Python in particular continue to duke it out in the realm of data science, as both languages are useful for data work and among the most frequently mentioned skills in job postings for data science positions. When it comes to the R vs. Python debate, it ultimately depends on what the developer or data scientist is hoping to accomplish with the language. 

Other programming languages that saw drops in ratings this month were C++ (no. 4, down from no. 3 in July 2018), Visual Basic .NET (no. 6, down from no. 5 last year), PHP (no. 8, down from no. 7), Swift (no. 13, down from no. 11), and Delphi/Object Pascal (no. 18, down from no. 16). 

SEE: Python is eating the world: How one developer's side project became the hottest programming language on the planet (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

The TIOBE Index estimates the popularity of programming languages worldwide based on results from major search engines, including Google, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube, and Baidu. While it is not a perfect measure, its rankings are broadly in line with others, TechRepublic's Nick Heath noted.

The index is not meant to rate the best programming language, but rather to check whether a developer's programming skills are up to date, or what language should be adopted for a project.

For more, check out Python: 5 use cases for programmers on TechRepublic.

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