Overtaking JavaScript's number one position

Python crowned as most questioned language on StackOverflow

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / tomertu

We love StackOverflow, even if sometimes our questions are left unanswered. A recent study showed that Python is now the most questioned about language on StackOverflow. Previous the crown belonged to JavaScript. What are developers getting stuck on and turning to the Internet for answers?

What would we do without StackOverflow? One thing is for sure, our code would be a lot less elegant and would have meteor sized holes. It’s so ubiquitous that it’s even listed as a Harvard professor at (Best comment from a ‘student’: “Asked a question about a project. He responded telling me that he had found a solution 4 years ago and didn’t go into any more detail.”) When it comes to Python, StackOverflow is a bustling hub of questions and answers.

According to new research from Global App Testing, even though JavaScript is numerically used more, Python has overtaken JavaScript as the most questioned language.

Asking StackOverflow the tough questions

We don’t like to put languages in the ring to fight against each other. After all, 50% of respondents in the Python Developers Survey use JavaScript concurrently with Python. But, let’s compare JavaScript and Python on StackOverflow.

What are developers searching for when they turn to StackOverflow for help? Global App Testing crunched the data and found the most mentioned words in the top 1,000 StackOverflow questions.

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For JavaScript, jquery is the number one most asked about issue. This should come as no surprise, as it is by far the most tagged JavaScript topic. At the time of writing, there are 527,176 questions tagged as jquery. The popular JavaScript library is a common headache for developers and in the opinion of many, has overstayed its welcome.

As modern browsers continue to cover some of the needs of jquery, its popularity dropped and will most likely continue to do so. Perhaps in a few years, there will be a new number one tag for JavaScript on StackOverflow.

jquery alone is tagged in over 900,000 questions on StackOverflow

(Just for fun, the top voted JS question on StackOverflow is from 2009: How can I redirect the user from one page to another using jQuery or pure JavaScript?)

Meanwhile Python users are asking about data processing libraries. The top terms includes “pandas” and “dataframe”. Besides this, users are also asking about the high-level web development framework Django.

Since Python is a general usage language, it isn’t limited to just data science, even though it’s frequently a favorite among scientists.

(The top voted question was viewed nearly two million times: What is the use of the yield keyword in Python? What does it do?)

Year of the snake

Make no misssssstake, Python has been rising in popularity.

The TIOBE Index, which regularly charts the rise and fall of programming language usage, named Python as the language of 2018. In 2018, it had the highest rise throughout the year compared to other languages. (Will it take the title again in 2019? So far the TIOBE Index for March 2019 sees a rise in Python with a change of +2.39%.)

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Meanwhile, on GitHub Python snaked ahead to the number one language for machine learning in 2018. Surely, its common usage in machine learning helped give it a boost up the ladder. Pair that with its frequent usage by data scientists, and you have a recipe for a language that’s inescapable.

The amount of programmers who use Python as their primary language grew in 2018 as well. The second annual Python Developers Survey showed off its thriving ecosystem.

All of these milestones point towards one conclusion: Python’s glory days are here. Welcome to the golden age.

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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