Will Python overtake Java as the most used programming language?
Java and C are the most popular programming languages, however, Python continues to see amazing growth in 2019. The TIOBE Index claimed that Python might overtake Java and C as the most popular language in a few years. Is this accurate? Let’s take a look at this month’s index and see what the projections are.
According to the TIOBE Index, Java is the most used programming language. It’s no surprise to see it rank so high on the index, month after month, with only a few dips and slips. Overall, Java popularity remains fairly consistent, marking it as a safe workhorse of a language for any developer. It stands right beside C in this regard.
However, will Java remain standing, unshaken in future indexes to come?
We turn our eyes to Python. It was crowned the programming language of the year by the TIOBE Index in 2018. Might it usurp Java from its reign? Let’s take a look at the TIOBE Index for June 2019.
June 2019 TIOBE Index
The June 2019 TIOBE Index shook up the predictable poll with the pace of Python’s growth. The language saw a rate of change of +2.77%, the highest seen yet by the index.
Meanwhile, this month saw a -0.36% change for Java and a rate of -1.64% change for C.
This month Python has reached again an all time high in TIOBE index of 8.5%. If Python can keep this pace, it will probably replace C and Java in 3 to 4 years time, thus becoming the most popular programming language of the world. The main reason for this is that software engineering is booming. It attracts lots of newcomers to the field. Java’s way of programming is too verbose for beginners. In order to fully understand and run a simple program such as “hello world” in Java you need to have knowledge of classes, static methods and packages. In C this is a bit easier, but then you will be hit in the face with explicit memory management. In Python this is just a one-liner. Enough said.
According to the index, Assembly language and Groovy also saw a boost of growth this month. (Compared to 2018, Groovy has risen quite a bit. This year it takes the number 14 spot; last year it was down at number 60.)
So, the question remains: Will Python overtake Java and C in the long-run?
An article by Simon Ritter, “Love it or Hate it, Java Continues to Evolve” discusses the polarizing nature of the language. Ritter writes, “Even after 24 years, Java continues to be either at the top or very close to the top of surveys that rank the popularity of programming languages…”.
One criticism of the notion that Python will overtake Java and C is that all three of these languages fulfill a different purpose and programming niche. Comparing them may be a case of apples vs. oranges. Often, knowing just one is not enough, since they do not overlap 100%. A developer using Java may not be able to switch all of their code to Python, and thus, Java will continue to remain on top.
Not every programming language is interchangeable. For instance, Python has also been settling in as the language of choice for scientific documentation and data science, which may be a reason for its steady climb up the charts. Python is also used by large companies/websites such as Netflix, Dropbox, and Reddit.
Another reason that this prediction may not come to fruition is how the TIOBE gathers its data. Their methodology depends on how each language ranks in 25 search engines. It may or may not reflect real life popularity outside of search engine results.