Scaling out

Python squeezes out Java to be top learning language

Lucy Carey
ssnake

8 out of 10 newbie devs are now getting their first taste of programming at uni with the multi-paradigm lingo.

 

No self respecting student  wants to be in
Slytherin – but apparently plenty of technologically minded
youngsters are embracing a snake of another sort. With a pleasingly
terse syntax, emphasis on readability, and wide range of
applications for projects of any scale, Python is a very nice
beginner language. So nice in fact that, according to a recent
survey posted by the

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
,
the ABC successor is now the most widely taught introductory
programming language in the states.

Among the top ten elite computer science
departments in the USA, eight are now employing Python to initiate
students into the mystic arts of coding, as well as 27 out of 39
leading institutions (69%), which, as computer science
researcher

Philip Guo
notes, is a strong indicator that
the language is the most popular language for teaching introductory
computer science courses.


Although educators have increasingly been
picking Python for their lessons in recent years, this is the first
time that a survey has indicated that it is eclipsing Java on the
curriculum. This is pretty significant considering that, for the
past ten years, it’s been all about the Sun/Oracle platform. Guo
also comments that, reflecting the explosion in Python’s
popularity,
Online Python Tutor
(www.pythontutor.com),
a pet educational project of his own, has seen its usage
“skyrocket”.

Java is a popular choice for high school
teaching, so it’s generally a natural progression for IT majors to
continue to develop their skills in this niche as undergrads.
Increasingly though, more schools are offering Python as a
supplement, or teaching Python for non-computing majors and Java
for the rest.
C and C++ are also still popular
teaching aids, but are increasingly being taught alongside Python
and Java.

Whilst this is a small scale study, it’s interesting to
consider what impact this may have on the programming landscape in
the next ten years or so as a new generation of Python loyalists
emerges onto the job market and begin to found their own
startups.

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