The most popular programming languages in the world

C remains the most popular programming language in the world, according to the Tiobe Index.

It boasts 17.38% of market share, while its nearest competitors Java and Python have 11.96% and 11.72% market share respectively.

This time last year, Java was leading the index; however, it is now threatened for second by the 2020 programming language of the year Python.

The title is awarded to the programming language that has gained the most popularity in one year, and Python won this by achieving 2.01% growth over the course of 2020.

Other competitors for the title included C++ (1.99%) Other winners are C (+1.61%), Groovy (+1.23%) and R (+1.10%).

“It has been stated before: Python is popping up everywhere,” said Tiobe.

“It started as a competitor of Perl to write scripts for system administrators a long time ago. Nowadays it is the favourite language in fields such as data science and machine learning, but it is also used for web development and back-end programming and growing into the mobile application domain and even in (larger) embedded systems.”

PYPL rankings

The PYPL index found that Python is the programming language for which tutorials were searched most often on Google.

Python boasts 30.44% of all tutorial searches and is followed by Java and JavaScript.

The biggest year-on-year growth in the top 10 was shared by Python and Objective-C, which increased in popularity by 1.2%.

Java was the biggest loser, decreasing in popularity by 2%.

January 2021 rankings

The top 10 programming languages for January 2021, according to the Tiobe Index and PYPL rankings, are detailed below.

January 2021
Tiobe Index Change YoY PYPL Ranking Change YoY
C +1.61% Python +1.2%
Java -4.93% Java -2.0%
Python +2.01% Javascript +0.3%
C++ +1.99% C# -0.7%
C# -1.40% C/C++ +0.3%
Visual Basic -1.44% PHP -0.2%
JavaScript -0.25% R +0.1%
PHP -0.41% Objective-C +1.2%
R +1.10% Swift -0.3%
Groovy +1.23% Matlab +0.0%

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