TIOBE Programming Language of the year 2021 title goes to Python (again)

TIOBE Language of the Year 2021

For the second time in a row, Python has been crowned the programming language of the year by software quality company TIOBE. The news was shared in the January edition of the company’s well-known programming community index, which is meant as an “indicator of the popularity of programming languages”.

Python grabbing the title again doesn’t seem like a huge surprise given that the language finally made it to the top of the ranking in October, and has stuck to the spot ever since. Moreover, the current version of the index sees Python even more than 1 per cent ahead of C on rank 2 (loser of 2021 with a drop in ratings of 4.94%), with no real threat from other newcomers in sight. 

However, company CEO Paul Jansen proclaimed C# to be the most likely candidate to sport the highest increase in ratings in one year just last month. In the end its 1.73% gain in 2021 was no match for Python’s 1.86 per cent increase, though. And so C# ends the year on rank 5 – exactly where it was the year before, no-winning streak included.

Overall there wasn’t a terrible lot of movement in the top 7 of Python, C, Java, C++, C#, Visual Basic, and JavaScript in the index last year. Beyond that things got a little more interesting though, as the Assembly language, SQL and Swift made a climb for the Top 10, Kotlin moved from #40 to #29, and Go gained ground inching from position 14 to 13. 

On the minus side, web language Dart and science-oriented Julia weren’t able to live up to the high hopes Jansen voiced at the beginning of 2021, as both took a hit and fell from #25 to #37 and #23 to #28 respectively.

All of this can look very different in a year’s time of course, as the index’s calculation of counting the hits for the search query +”<language> programming” in 25 search websites lends itself to temporary position changes due to new releases or especially grave bugs. Looking into other popularity indexes like PYPL and the RedMonk Programming Language Rankings however suggests that at least the top four won’t be leaving us any time soon.

PYPL’s January edition sees Python on top, followed by Java, JavaScript, C/C++, C#, PHP, R, Objective-C, Swift, and TypeScript. Calculations here are based on how often tutorials for a certain language are searched on Google. This of course isn’t a perfect measure either, but combining the information with the TIOBE numbers can surely help as a pointer when making technical decisions.