Python named TIOBE's 2020 top programming language, but C tops the January index

Compared to the January 2020 index, R and Groovy shook up the top 10 jumping from 18th and 23rd, respectively.

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Each month, TIOBE releases its roundup of the top programming languages. These regular snapshots illustrate variations in popularity over time. The company recently released its latest top programming languages for January 2021. Below, we've highlighted some of the standout details.

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As part of the release, TIOBE announced that Python had been awarded its top programming language of the year for a record-setting fourth time. TIOBE explained that it awards the annual title "to the programming language that has gained most popularity in one year." In 2020, Python gained 2.01% just ahead of C++ and C, which jumped 1.99% and 1.66%, respectively, per TIOBE.

While Python may have taken the title of programming language of the year, the boost in popularity wasn't enough to push it to the top of the latest index. In the January rankings, C remained positioned at the top of the list with a rating of 17.38% just ahead of runner-up Java (11.96%). In the last year, Java's rating decreased 4.93%, according to TIOBE.

In the latest rankings, Python ranks third with a 11.72% rating; the same position the programming language held in TIOBE's January 2020 index. C++ and C# round out the top five with ratings of 7.56% and 3.95%, respectively. In order, Visual Basic, JavaScript, and PHP rank sixth, seventh, and eighth, the same positions each held in the January 2020 index.

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Interestingly, R saw a major boost in the latest index coming in at No. 9; a marked leap from the January 2020 index, where it ranked 18th overall. R touts a rating of 1.90% in the latest index. Tenth-ranked Groovy saw a similar surge over the last year jumping 13 spots from its January 2020 ranking (23rd).

As part of the announcement, TIOBE Software CEO Paul Jansen mentioned other candidates with the potential to sneak into the upper echelons of top programming languages in the months ahead.

"Are there any new top 20 entries to be expected in 2021? Top candidate is without doubt Julia, which jumped from position 47 to position 23 in the last 12 months. Dart and Rust are other candidates, but both of them touched the top 20 already without being able to stay for a longer time," said Jansen in a blog post.

TIOBE uses a number of metrics including searches on Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia, Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Baidu to determine these monthly rankings.

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