Top Programming Language RealToughCandy

Goodbye JavaScript: Introducing the world’s new top programming language?

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.

According to the email, JavaScript has been dethroned — Python has taken the bejeweled crown to become the world’s new top programming language. Is there truth to this somewhat-outlandish claim?

Top Programming Language RealToughCandy
Python is the top programming language according to this chart by Stack Overflow.

The chart in this email suggests that Python has eclipsed both JavaScript and Java to become the top programming language. But so many questions with this chart and the premise!

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.

Top Programming Language RealToughCandy TIOBE
Top programming language according to TIOBE: Java

Popular search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. This chart is significantly different than Stack Overflow’s. If we hover over the a spot in the 2017 area (which is when that Stack Overflow chart is dated) Java reigns supreme by a long shot, followed by C. In third place, but really fighting for it is C++, and finally in fourth place, is Python. JavaScript is really fighting for it at the bottom of this coding barrel. JavaScript dethroned, indeed.

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.

Up next: This web framework gets its due with new documentary

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