Python slithers to the top in IEEE study

Python has topped the list of programming languages overall according to a new report by IEEE Spectrum that slices the data in several ways.

The study, available here in interactive form, ranked 11 data points from eight sources: CareerBuilder, Google, GitHub, Hacker News, the IEEE, Reddit, Stack Overflow, and Twitter. Depending on the source in question, it explored metrics such as searches, new repositories, posts mentioning each language, and job postings made within the last 30 days.

Python got the only 100 per cent ranking using IEEE’s methodology, closely followed by Java and C. Significantly, C++ came after C in fourth place, although it was released in 1985, 13 years after C, and is an object-oriented programming language.

One reason for Python’s growing popularity is the strong support in the AI community according to IEEE. The language has strong AI support in the form of numerous packages including Google’s TensorFlow.

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The study divided languages into four types: web, enterprise (languages used for enterprise, desktop, and scientific applications), mobile, and embedded.

Python won out in web languages, followed by Java, JavaScript, C+ and Go. It also won top place for enterprise applications, and — in a bit of an upset — for embedded languages. C has been the traditional choice for such things, given its low-level access to memory. Conversely, Python is a JIT-interpreted language. However, the IEEE said that the increased use of Python on microcontrollers and the rise of dedicated Python versions like CircuitPython and MicroPython has helped elevate it. C++ scooped third place for embedded languages, followed by C#.

Java took the top spot in mobile development, followed by C, C++ and C#. Swift, Apple’s replacement for Objective C, was relegated to fifth place, which seems odd given Apple’s strong position in the mobile space. Objective-C wasn’t lumped in with C. Instead it, was listed on its own and came in ninth.

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