Python tops IEEE programming list

IEEE Spectrum has published its sixth annual interactive ranking of the top programming languages. Looking at the languages in the top positions you may experience a sense of deja vu. Python comes top followed by Java, C and C++.

Although for the third year in a row Python tops the IEEE Spectrum ranking, the languages in second, third and fourth positions are shuffled since last year and now correspond to the order of the top three languages in the TIOBE index.

If you’ve not come across this language ranking again you may be wondering why we need another one to supplement the TIOBE index and RedMonk’s language rankings. The distinguishing feature of this one is that uses an interactive app, originally developed by Nick Diakopoulous in collaboration with IEEE Spectrum and this year rebuilt by Mythili Bagavandas and Gurdeep Singh, which is available for us all to experiment with.

Introducing this revised app, Stephen Cass writes: 

This year we’ve done a major overhaul, changing some of the underlying metrics and building a new streamlined interface. But our basic idea and methodology remains the same: combining data from multiple sources to rank the popularity of the programming languages that are used for the type of coding you are interested in.

There are now 11 metrics from 8 sources—CareerBuilder, Google, GitHub, Hacker News, the IEEE, Reddit, Stack Overflow, and Twitter.

The top 10 displayed above represents the result of the default settings of the app, tailored to the interests of the typical IEEE Spectrum reader. Commenting on Python’s pole position in this year’s league table Cass writes: 

Python’s popularity is driven in no small part by the vast number of specialized libraries available for it, particularly in the domain of artificial intelligence, where the Keras library is a heavyweight among deep-learning developers: Keras provides an interface to the TensorFlow, CNTK, and Theano deep-learning frameworks and tool kits. Deep learning isn’t the only field where Python is having an impact that could not have been anticipated when the language was first released in 1991. The dramatic increase in computing power found in microcontrollers means that embedded versions of Python, such as CircuitPython and MicroPython, are becoming increasingly popular among makers.

Thanks to the interactive nature of the app, allowing you to filter them by excluding sectors that aren’t relevant and changing the weighting to each of the metrics. we ran custom weightings to reflect the interests of the I Programmer team. The differences were in to promote JavaScript and C# in #5 and #6 ahead of R which slipped to #7 and to bring HTML, CSS into #10 ahead of Go which replaced it in #11.

The number of languages ranked increased from 48 to 52 and the two languages we’d found conspicuous by their absence last year VB.Net and Kotlin are now both present, at #20 and #24 respectively in the IEEE Spectrum ranking and at #19 and #20 in the custom I Programmer ranking. Dart was also included for the first time and placed #16 both with the default settings and our customized ones.

Playing around with the interactive app is great fun. For example,  if you have a favorite language can you tweak the settings to make it top and, even more of a challenge, can you get your three top favorite languages in the correct order. I think to do this Python has to be one of them! 

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Credit: IProgrammer

Last updated on April 1st, 2023


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