It's Python's world; we all just live in it.

Top programming languages in 2019: Python sweeps the board

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock /sommthink

Python is fit for a king. A report from IEEE Spectrum shows that Python reigns in the enterprise, web, and embedded programming landscapes. Where does Java fit into the rankings? Although Java holds down the fort as the top mobile programming language, C is not far behind, and Kotlin has been moving up the ranks as more and more Android developers turn to it for their mobile dev needs.

The latest programming language ranking from IEEE Spectrum maintains the same findings from last year’s report: Python is king for a majority of ranking metrics. The report from IEEE Spectrum analyzes metrics from multiple data sources and ranks programming language popularity.

This isn’t just one list fits all. It ranks languages based on use cases: web development, enterprise, mobile, and embedded. Rankings also determine a language’s popularity based on different social channels, such as Twitter, StackOverflow, GitHub, and Reddit, and even ranks by which language is currently booming in the job market.

Let’s play around with the interactive chart and see which languages you should brush up on in 2019.


Golden age of Python

IEEE Spectrum reports show that Python is the top dog snake in 2019.

It ranks as number one for web usage, enterprise, and even the number one embedded language. Why does it rank above Java? Python’s growth in machine learning, deep learning, and computer science is one reason for its high ranking.

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 TensorFlowCNTK, and Theano deep-learning frameworks and tool kits.

IEEE Spectrum


Python stays ahead of Java. Source: IEEE Spectrum.

So, is Python the de facto number one programming language? Depends on who you ask.

According to the Tiobe Index, Java ranks as the number one language (as of August 2019). Meanwhile, RedMonk reported that JavaScript is the number one language for 2019 Q2, with Java coming in second place and Python in third.

Java keeping a seat warm for Kotlin

Mobile is the only programming landscape where Python doesn’t dominate. According to IEEE Spectrum’s ranking, mobile is Java’s domain, with it sitting comfortably on the throne next to C and C++.


Kotlin coming for Java’s top spot? Source: IEEE Spectrum

However, when it comes to programming Android apps, lately Kotlin has been the darling child.

Although Kotlin ranks as number 8 on the charts, it is the most optimized production-ready language for Android development. In 2017, Google announced Kotlin as a first-class language for Android, meaning that it ships with Android Studio. Popular apps such as Slack, Twitter, Netflix, Lyft, and Evernote are all built with Kotlin.

SEE ALSO: Feathers 4: JavaScript and TypeScript framework creates real-time apps

A recent Facebook poll taken by Dice showed that although 85% of Android developers prefer using Java, 15% prefer Kotlin. While these numbers may sound as far apart as David and Goliath, Kotlin is quickly moving up the ranks and swaying over Java programmers to its side. According to a survey by JetBrains in 2019:

Almost all Kotlin developers (92% were using Java before they started using Kotlin. Most of them (86% of all Kotlin users) still continue to use Java.

This bodes that the languages can exist in tandem in the mobile landscape.

Miscellaneous findings

Thanks to the interactivity of this rankings chart, playing around with the metrics made for some fun findings.

SEE ALSO: Jabel: All the syntax of Java 12, targeted to Java 8

  • While social networks such as Twitter and HackerNews have a real love for Python, Reddit tells a different story. Java is the most popular programming language according to Reddit rankings.
  • Even more notably on Reddit’s top programming language list are J and D. J is a data analysis programming language, whereas D began as a C offshoot and is now a general-purpose language. Why are these higher on the list than more common languages such as Go, Rust, JavaScript, or PHP?
  • Fortran doesn’t retire. The language of yesteryear takes the number 36 spot and ranks ahead of Clojure, Apache Groovy and Lisp. Respect your elders!
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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