Ranking Programming Languages: Which are Gaining Popularity?

by HSG on Dec 09, 2013 in Articles from Software Fans

Once again theTIOBE Programming Community has calculated the trends in popular programming languages on the web. Evaluating the updates in the index allows developers to assess the direction of certain programming skills that are rising or faltering in their field.  According to the November 2013 report, three out of four languages currently ranking in the top twenty are languages defined by Microsoft. These are C#, SQL Server language Transact-SQL and Visual Basic.NET.  Not surprising though, the top two languages that remain steady in the number one and two spots are Java and C.

How are the calculations measured?  The information is gathered from five major search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu.

Top 20 Programming Languages: as of November 2013


  1.  C
  2.  Java
  3.  Objective-C 
  4.  C++
  5.  C#
  6.  PHP
  7. (Visual) Basic
  8.  Python
  9. Transact-SQL
  10. Java Script
  11. Visual Basic.NET
  12. Perl
  13.  Ruby
  14. Pascal
  15. Lisp
  16. MATLAB
  17. Delphi/Object Pascal
  18. PL/SQL
  19. COBOL
  20. Assembly

Although the index is an important itemized guide of what people are searching for on the internet, it’s arguable that certain languages getting recognition is a direct result of early adopters posting tutorials and filling up discussion boards on current trends. Additionally, popular tech blogs pick up on technological shifts and broadcast related versions of the same themes.

When does the popularity of a software language matter?

  1. If you want marketable skills, knowing what employers are looking for is beneficial. As an example, languages such as Java and Objective C are highly coveted in the smart-phone apps businesses.
  2. A consistently shrinking language in usage is an indicator not only that employers are apt to pass on those skills but fall in danger of being obsolete.
  3. Focusing on languages that are compatible with other developers increases your chances to participate on projects that companies are working on.

What other ways are there to measure the popularity of programming languages?

·         By calculating how many new and existing applications are written in certain languages.

·         Postings of available jobs that require skills in a software language!

·         By the size of the community and the number of projects from two major websites Github and StackOverflow.  Drawing on two different data sources this method pinpoints what developers choose to use on their own projects. Data is unsubstantiated mainly because the languages used for the projects are not necessarily what developers are being paid for.

·         Reader Poll: Hacker NewsA popular forum that polled developers for their favorite languages.

·         Book SalesO'Reilly, a techie book company breaks down rankings into distinct tiers according to sales.

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