Top programming languages: C and Java remain tops as Python surges

The TIOBE index celebrates its 20th anniversary as competition heats up at the top of the rankings.

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Image: iStock/monsitj

Each month, TIOBE releases its top programming languages rankings and the latest installment marks an important milestone for the index. The July rankings feature a few historical similarities and a number of shake-ups as languages slide and rise across the top 50.

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

"The TIOBE index is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. Back in 2001, the first TIOBE index was published as a personal hobby project to see what languages were in demand. The top 3 of the first TIOBE index were Java, C, and C++. Today's story looks strikingly similar," said Paul Jansen CEO TIOBE Software in a blog post.

The top of the rankings features a tight race with slims margins separating C, Java and Python.

"It is interesting to see that these 3 languages are getting closer than ever before. The difference between position 1 and position 3 is only 0.67%. This means that the next few months will be exciting," Jansen said.

Overall, C claims the top spot with an 11.62% rating, representing a 4.83% decrease since July 2020. Runner-up Java has an 11.17% rating in the latest rankings, down 3.93% in the last year. With a 10.95% rating, No. 3 Python saw a 1.86% rating change in the last year; the largest increase in the top 20.

"What language is going to win this battle? Python seems to have the best chances to become number 1, thanks to its market leadership in the booming field of data mining and artificial intelligence," Jansen said.

With ratings of 8.01% and 4.83%, respectively, C++ and C# round out the top five. Interestingly, the latest top seven programming languages are identical to the July 2020 ratings. This month, Visual Basic claimed the sixth spot with a 4.50% rating and JavaScript (2.71%) ranked seventh.

Compared to June 2020, the first shake-ups in the rankings occur with No. 8 PHP, which has jumped one spot in the last year. In the latest ranking, No. 9 Assembly language boasts a 2.40% rating, jumping four spots since July 2020. With a 1.53% rating, SQL rounds out the top 10, jumping one spot from its position in the July 2020 index.

Surging and slipping programming languages

The index also illustrates a number of marked leaps and slides among the top programming languages. For example, No 11. Classic Visual Basic rose nine spots since the July 2020 ratings. During this time period, No. 12 R slid four positions and No. 14 Fortran surged 36 spots.

Year over year, No. 15 Groovy jumped nine spots, No. 16 Swift dropped six positions. Since July 2020, No. 18 Perl and No. 19 MATLAB have dropped four positions, respectively. Jumping 10 spots since the July 2020 index, Delphi/Object Pascal rounds out the top 20.

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

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.

Those so inclined can peruse the full top 50 rankings and year-over-year changes here.

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