Top programming languages: C’s days at the top are numbered as Python comes for the crown – TechRepublic

by in Developer on September 13, 2021, 8:19 AM PST

The latest TIOBE index features a number of surges, shakeups and tumbles, as various languages rise in the rankings and others see marked year over year rating gains.

Image: iStock/monsitj

Each month, TIOBE releases an index detailing the top programming languages and these regular updates highlight granular shifts in this ever-evolving landscape. As TechRepublic previously reported, last month’s index showcased “booming” AI and data mining programming languages and TIOBE’s latest September roundup features a competitive logjam at the top, as a longtime challenger comes for the crown.

Top programming languages: C, Python and Java

The tight three-language horserace between C, Python and Java remains close in TIOBE’s September index. Overall, C tops the latest rankings with an 11.83% rating, representing a year-over-year decrease of 4.12%. Despite this marked decline, C was still able to edge out runner-up Python with the No. 2 touting an 11.67% and a year-over-year increase of 1.20%.

SEE: The best programming languages to learn–and the worst (TechRepublic Premium)

“Python has never been so close to the number 1 position of the TIOBE index. It only needs to bridge 0.16% to surpass C. This might happen any time now,” said Paul Jansen, CEO TIOBE Software, in a blog post about the latest index. “If Python becomes number 1, a new milestone has been reached in the TIOBE index. Only 2 other languages have ever been leading the pack so far, i.e. C and Java. Let’s see what happens next month.”

Compared to September 2020, the fourth through seventh positions remain unchanged, featuring C++, C#, Visual Basic and JavaScript, in order. Since last September, No. 8 Assembly Language has surged six spots (1.12%), now boasting a 2.42% rating and No.9 PHP has dropped a spot during this time period with a 1.85% rating. Next, SQL rounds out the top 10 with a 1.80% rating, the same position the programming language held in TIOBE’s September 2020 rankings.

Over the last year, Classic Visual Basic has surged 0.77% (11 spots) and now holds the No. 11 position with a 1.52% rating just ahead of No. 12 Groovy (1.46%). It’s important to note that Groovy’s rating has increased 0.48% over the last year; one of the largest year-over-year surges in the top 20 after Python, C#, Visual Basic, Classic Visual Basic and Fortran. (More on Fortran’s ascent in a bit.)

SEE: C++ programming language: How it became the foundation for everything, and what’s next (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In order, Ruby, Go and Swift hold positions 13 through 15, similar to the same positions these languages held in September 2020. In the latest index, No. 16 MATLAB carries a 1.02% rating, just enough to outlast surging Fortran in the 17th position; year-over-year Fortran has leap-frogged 20 spots with a 0.65% rating increase over this time period. No. 18 R and No. 19 Perl have both recorded marked year-over-year declines, dropping 9 and 6 positions, respectively. Delphi/Object Pascal rounds out the top 20 with a 0.77% rating, up 9 positions and 0.24% since last September.

Also see