Bringing home the gold

C wins Programming Language of the Year award for 2019

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / tomertu

The first update of the year from The TIOBE Index is here with new rankings of the top programming languages. This update announced the winner of the “Programming Language of the Year” award. Congratulations C! Thanks to its usage in embedded devices and the Internet of Things, C wins the award and enters the hall of fame for 2019.

In 2018, the TIOBE Index crowned Python as the programming language of the year. Python continued maintaining its popularity and usage in machine learning and data science. In fact, we predicted that it was on its way to taking the prize as the top language of 2019.

However, our prediction was proven wrong. The TIOBE Index released its top programming language of 2019 and the winner is C!

In 2019, C saw an increase of 2.4% percent up the index. Let’s celebrate the language’s crowning achievement and take a look at the rest of the results for January 2020.

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Programming language of the year

From the TIOBE Index January 2020 update:

Everybody thought that Python would become TIOBE’s programming language of the year for the second consecutive time. But it is good old language C that wins the award this time with an yearly increase of 2.4%. Runners up are C# (+2.1%), Python (+1.4%) and Swift (+0.6%). Why is the programming language C still hot? The major drivers behind this trend are the Internet of Things (IoT) and the vast amount of small intelligent devices that are released nowadays. C excels when it is applied to small devices that are performance-critical. It is easy to learn and there is a C compiler available for every processor. Congratulations to C! Other interesting winners of 2019 are Swift (from #15 to #9) and Ruby (from #18 to #11). Swift is a permanent top 10 player now and Ruby seems to become one soon. Some languages that were supposed to break through in 2019 didn’t: Rust won only 3 positions (from #33 to #30), Kotlin lost 3 positions (from #31 to #35), Julia lost even 10 positions (from #37 to #47) and TypeScript won just one position (from #49 to #48). Let’s see what 2020 has in store for us!

C also secured the “Programming Language of the Year” award in 2017 and 2008. Its average position in the charts consistently hovers between the number one and number two spot.

Read about how the TIOBE Index calculates its language rankings here.

C meets IoT

According to the Index, C is excelling in part because of the Internet of Things. 2019 was full of new developments for IoT devices, which impacted various global industries.

A 2019 survey taken by The Eclipse Foundation predicts that the Internet of Things will continue to grow in both hobbyist fields and professional industries in the coming months. In addition to this growth, IoT developer concerns continue to focus on security and privacy.

If this prediction rings true and IoT development grows, then likely C will continue to top charts.

Its usage obviously does not stop at embedded devices. Moreover, C is a useful general-purpose programming language. Created 48 years ago, it continues to inspire current language syntax.

SEE ALSO: Keeping up in real-time: Ensuring reliability across streaming and IoT applications

Swift enters the top 10

As for other programming languages, the first month of 2020 saw a few small changes. However, the top 4 languages (Java, C, Python, and C++) all remained unchanged.


January 2020 TIOBE Index results. Source.

C# saw a change of +2.44%. Compared to January 2019, Swift’s ranking increased into the top ten. Just last year it ranked number 15, but in 2020 it takes the number 9 spot.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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2 years ago

Really likes this post as I am big Fan of both programming language C and C#
C# is also doing well, as now we can create cross platform mobile apps using C# and Xamarin.Forms and you can code in C# using Mac/Linux also with the .NET Core in Visual Studio
As I am C# developer, I have created a complete C# tutorial with online code sample