The most popular programming languages in the world

C continues to be the most popular programming language in the world, according to the Tiobe Index for September 2020.

Java is in second place but has suffered a loss of 3.18% popularity compared to the same period last year.

The fastest-growing programming language in the Tiobe Index top 10 is C++, which is experiencing a major surge after years of decreased popularity.

“Back in 2003, the programming language C++ was a real winner. It peaked at 17.53% in August 2003, being close to the number #2 position and becoming the winner of the programming language award of 2003,” said Tiobe CEO Paul Jansen.

“From then on C++ went downhill. After 2005 it didn’t hit the 10% any more and in 2017 it scored an all-time low of 4.55%.”

“But if compared to last year, C++ is now the fastest growing language of the pack (+1.48%).”

Jansen believes that the new C++20 standard is the main reason for this, especially because of the features of the new module that is going to replace the “dreadful” include mechanism.

Jansen also noted the positive trends in excess of 1% for both R and C#

PYPL rankings

Python continues to dominate the PYPL programming language popularity rankings, boasting 31.56% of market share as of September 2020.

Java continues to sit in the second spot, although as was the case in the Tiobe Index, its popularity has dropped by over 3% year on year.

JavaScript rounds out the top three.

September 2020 rankings

The top 10 programming languages for September 2020, according to the Tiobe Index and PYPL rankings, are detailed below.

September 2020
Tiobe Index Change YoY PYPL Ranking Change YoY
C +0.74% Python +2.9%
Java -3.18% Java -3.1%
Python +0.59% Javascript +0.3%
C++ +1.48% C# -0.8%
C# +1.18% PHP -0.5%
Visual Basic +0.83% C/C++ +0.0%
JavaScript +0.41% R +0.3%
PHP +0.62% Objective-C +0.2%
R +1.33% Swift -0.1%
SQL -0.19% TypeScript +0.1%

Calculating the rankings

  • PYPL – The more a language tutorial is searched, the more popular the language is assumed to be. The raw data comes from Google Trends.
  • Tiobe – The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, courses, and third-party vendors. Popular search engines are also used to calculate the ratings.

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The most popular programming languages in the world