Top Programming Languages 2020

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE, also "i triple e"), the worldwide professional association of engineers, tries to answer the question which is the most popular programming language. To this end, the association does not simply present its results, but makes them available as an interactive app. Users can create rankings according to their own weighting by filtering.

The IEEE incorporates data from eight different sources. These include its own publications, but also data from Google, Reddit, GitHub, Hacker News, Twitter, Stack Overflow or job trends about CarrierBuilder. The interesting thing about the IEEE comparison is that every developer can "put together" his own ranking. Reddit is not important for you? Set the weighting to zero and the ranking adjusts accordingly. This is the sixth time the association evaluates data around programming languages. Accordingly, the data can also be compared from 2014 onwards. The association has summarized the exact methods in a post.

Which Programming Language makes the race?

At the default setting of the ranking - the IEEE Spectrum Ranking according to the magazine of the association - it lists Python as the most popular language in general, closely followed by Java. Scala is ranked 18th, with only Kotlin (24th) and Groovy (28th) as JVM languages in the top 52.

A surprise candidate is the programming language R, which finds itself in fifth place. Especially in the Enterprise section, the language, which comes from statistics and mathematics, occupies the top ranks. This can be attributed to the growing popularity of machine learning, where R is widely used. But new languages such as Julia (24th place) also make it into the top 25.

Python on top

But the results of the standard ranking are also surprising. No matter if you filter for web applications, enterprise or embedded, Python comes in first, ahead of Java and C or JavaScript. Only in the area of mobile Java is still ranked first in the programming language ranking.

Even with the filters Jobs (Languages that are in demand by employers), Trending (Language that are growing rapidly) or in the area of Open Source, Python is the clear winner. While JavaScript is usually ranked 5th or 6th, HTML is ranked 12th behind Arduino. All a question of interpretation

So Python is more popular for web applications than HTML? Hard to imagine. The question of whether Arduino is a programming language or a hardware platform can also be discussed.

These somewhat questionable results show how difficult it is to establish a ranking for programming languages. The data not only depends strongly on the source, but also on its interpretation and classification. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to take a look at the IEEE ranking, because it invites to experiment with the data and thus does more justice to the complexity of the topic than many a nasty Google search trend.

If you would like to test the interactive ranking yourself, you will find it on the Spectrum IEEE website.