The world around us is full of code. Code that has been written using programming languages such as Java or Python. Or with more modern languages, like Swift. But, Which one should you choose if you want to be a programmer? Which one to start with? Which one will give me more opportunities to find a job? To answer this question we are going to resort to TIOBE index, a benchmark that orders programming languages based on their popularity on the internet.
This index of programming languages is updated every few months. And, although there are languages that always appear, their distribution in the list helps us understand where demand is going and where software development is heading, websites or even scientific research, which also uses programming languages to process data, for example.
TIOBE, the company behind this index, analyzes more than 1,056 million lines of code every day for clients around the world. It also monitors search engines and other data sources to score programming languages according to their demand.
Specific, they turn to more than 25 search engines around the world, These include well-known names such as Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Ebay or MSN for the Western world and others such as Tmall, QQ or Sohu, more popular in China and other Asian countries. The result, as I said, is an index with the most popular programming languages organized in several blocks.
The most popular programming languages
- Visual Basic
- Assembly language
Most of the languages on the list require little presentation. Java continues to resist its demise because it is still irreplaceable: an easy-to-learn language that allows programming for any platform with little effort.
Veterancy is a degree
But the surprise of this last index is in position number eight, where it sneaks a veteran programming language. It is about assembly language, born in 1949. The jump is not excessive either. It goes from position 14 to number 8, but it is still surprising that a language with more than 70 years behind it manages to be there.
The reason is simpler than it seems. Assembly language is a low-level language that emerged early in computer science. Its nature is more accessible than other languages that emerged from now on. Be that as it may, assembly language is still used today to directly manage hardware, insert instructions into processors, and work with low-level embedded systems and real-time systems. Or put another way, the success of devices with ARM processors and derivatives are a large part of the success of this long-lived language.
Another of the oldest programming languages has made a jump in the index. Fortran has gone from 34 to 20. Not bad for what was the first commercial programming language and which has gained popularity in the scientific field, a phenomenon similar to Python.
Not all programming languages win
If there are languages that are moving up this particular popularity index, there must also be programming languages that are falling down. Most of the time, it’s about one or two positions, nothing that you can’t change again after a few months. As the exchange between Java and C.
However, in this April 2021 issue, the TIOBE index has highlighted the TOP20 output of the Objective-C language. Something that is relevant due to the fact that it was awarded by this index in 2011 and 2012. Its success was linked to the success of the iPhone, Apple’s flagship product for years. And then Swift came along.
The question is, if iPhones are still a successful product, why isn’t Objective-C? The answer is simple: Swift. Apple released in 2014 a replacement programming language for Objective-C that made it easier to create applications for its entire ecosystem of devices. However, it took seven years for Swift to have brought this language out of the TOP of the most popular. Swift, by the way, is ranked 15th on the TIOBE index.