In an effort to stay atop of web development trends, I’m subscribed to a metric crap-ton of newsletters. Recently I received a fascinating infographic from a coding school, in an attempt to get me to fork over some money to learn Python.
First question: what’s meant by “top programming language?”
Does that mean most stars on GitHub, like Vue? Does it mean the most questions asked on coding-centric social sites? Does it mean the number of Python courses taught at accredited college campuses? Can we qualify this, please?
Fortunately, if we peck around, we can find a little context here. This chart indicates the percentage of overall question views each month on Stack Overflow over a period of seven years. And not only that, they limited it to high-income countries as determined by the World Bank. So, this chart arguably has nothing to do with the instances of enterprise implementation. What I mean is — maybe people just have a lot of questions about Python for personal projects.
There is no doubt that Python rules the fields of data science and machine learning (ML), but if you want to the know the most popular programming languages with a much more robust metric set, check out this chart by TIOBE. This chart ranks programming languages based on three metrics: the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and third-party vendors.
So what exactly can we conclude about these two dramatically different charts and the top programming language? Number one, people in rich countries asked a lot of questions about Python in 2017. Number two, despite the explosion of web infrastructure, technologies, and job openings, two non-web languages (well, at least in the traditional sense) are by far the most popular among professional developers, course offerings, and third-party vendors.
In summary, while the subject line of the recent email I received may have been primarily a marketing technique, the top programming language depends on the definition of “top.” Using metrics derived from Stack Overflow, Python is certainly booming when it comes to peoples’ questions about it.