IEEE: The 2015 Top Ten Programming Languages

If you are learning to write code or are just considering a new programming language, it will definitely helps to know which languages are the most popular. The idea is that a language that is more popular will usually mean more support from other programmers and more job opportunities. The  professional association IEEE has performed some research by weighing and combining 12 metrics from 10 data sources (CareerBuilder, GitHub, etc.) to rank the overall popularity of 48 languages and reveal the current top ranking programming languages.

The top 5 languages are the same as last year: Java, C, C++, Python, and C#. You can read the article here. You can get full access to the data for $.99, if you are interested.

The big five—Java, C, C++, Python, and C#—remain on top, with their ranking undisturbed, but C has edged to within a whisper of knocking Java off the top spot. The big mover is R, a statistical computing language that’s handy for analyzing and visualizing big data, which comes in at sixth place. Last year it was in ninth place, and its move reflects the growing importance of big data to a number of fields. A significant amount of movement has occurred further down in the rankings, as languages like Go, Perl, and even Assembly jockey for position.

A few languages have dropped off the rankings compared with last year’s. Mostly this is due to an insufficient presence in this year’s data to justify keeping them in. But in one case, an entry was dropped because we agreed with comments on last year’s ranking that said we had made a mistake in categorizing it as a language rather than just a framework. This was ASP.NET, and we had originally included it because of our pragmatic approach to the definition of programming language—a lack of Turing completeness is not an absolute bar, and we make no apologies for including things like HTML—but we were too broad on that one.

A number of languages have entered the rankings for the first time. Swift, Apple’s new language, has already gained enough traction to make a strong appearance despite being released only 13 months ago. Cuda is another interesting entry—it’s a language created by graphics chip company Nvidia that’s designed for general-purpose computing using the company’s powerful but specialized graphics processors, which can be found in many desktop and mobile devices. Seven languages in all are appearing for the first time.

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