The top programming languages of 2019: Python is number one, say engineers

The most popular languages ​​according to the world's largest organization for engineering and applied sciences.

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It can be difficult to evaluate what programming language to learn – Should I choose the most used language, the language that developers enjoy using, or perhaps the best paid language?

There is no correct answer, but fortunately the main lists of programming languages ​​that classify languages ​​according to different criteria are not lacking.

The last is the list The main programming languages ​​2019 of IEEE Spectrum, the magazine for the world's largest professional organization dedicated to engineering and applied sciences.

The classification is based on a wider range of sources than typical for such lists and weighted towards the needs of IEEE members.

As such, the list is quite different from many others, which tend to rely more on popularity measures such as the number of GitHub repositories or the number of stack overflow questions.


The main programming languages ​​2019 according to IEEE Spectrum.

Image: IEEE Spectrum

In the number one place is Python, which although it rises quickly in other lists and, usually, in a language of the top five, is usually not in pole position.

IEEE Spectrum attributes Python's success to its explosion of new users in recent years, largely driven by the popularity of language in the rapidly growing field of machine learning, which in turn has been driven by use Easy but capable Python libraries like NumPy, Pandas and Keras.

The report also highlights the increasing use of Python in microcontrollers, thanks to Python spin-offs such as CircuitPython and MicroPython, which adapt to the limitations of these low power devices.

The list also highlights a key deficiency identified by members of the Python community, the mediocre mobile language support. Speaking about Python mobile support earlier this year, Barry Warsaw, Python developer and member of the Python Board of Directors, said: "Python, at this time, does not have a great story there," and then talked about how It was an ambition for iPhone and Android users to download an application and "they don't even know it was written in Python."

This and other limitations, such as the difficulty of packaging applications for non-technical users, have led some analysts to ask if Python's popularity could be reaching its peak.

In number two is Java, the business workhorse and, until recently, the favorite of Android, as expected, given its usual strong performance. However, the list also classifies the venerable C and C ++ languages ​​more than others, possibly reflecting the number of IEEE Spectrum members involved in programming low-level systems typically associated with these languages.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The growing demand for machine learning engineers and data scientists is once again evident, with statistical analysis language R placing at number five.

Interestingly, JavaScript, which generally ranks first in the language popularity ranking, is only number six on the list, perhaps again a reflection of the list's engineering approach. In the past, developers have quickly pointed out that the widespread use of JavaScript should not be confused with programmers who love language, rather than mastering web development, so there are a large number of developers who have no choice but to work on the. That said, JavaScript has greatly improved in recent years, and today it is used on the server side in Node.js environments, to control electronics using Node-RED and on the desktop with Electron.

Further down in the top ten are the usual suspects, Microsoft's C # and Apple Swift. However, there are other anomalies compared to other lists, with Google & # 39; s Go at number 10, despite
being noted for its marked popularity by the analyst RedMonk at the beginning of the year

Another unusual location is the numerical computation language and the Matlab environment at number eight, which IEEE Spectrum attributes to the use of language in hardware engineering, particularly the execution of simulations.

There is also some comfort for those concerned that their skills become obsolete, with Fortran and Cobol in 36th and 44th place, despite being in their 60s. The resistance of these venerable languages ​​apparently reflects their continued use, with 200 billion lines of COBOL code still in use today and 90% of Fortune 500 companies still use COBOL code.

IEEE Spectrum ratings are created by weighing and combining 11 metrics from eight sources: CareerBuilder, Google, GitHub, Hacker News, IEEE, Reddit, Stack Overflow and Twitter. You can read more about the methodology here.

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