Main image of article C++ Gains Popularity in TIOBE Rankings

C++ continues to outpace its rivals on the TIOBE Index, which attempts to rank the world’s programming languages by popularity.

In February, C++ enjoyed a year-over-year gain of 5.93 percent, well ahead of other popular languages on the Index, which generally saw increases of around 1 percent. (To create its rankings every month, TIOBE leverages data from a variety of aggregators and search engines, including Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and Amazon. For a language to rank, it must be Turing complete, have its own Wikipedia entry, and earn more than 5,000 hits for +”<language> programming” on Google.) 

“C is the best language for writing small, embedded, safety-critical and high-performance programs,” added the note accompanying this month’s TIOBE data. “C++, on the other hand, is the top favorite language in case you need all the requirements of C but you are going to write a large software system.”

Although there’s a lot of debate over whether TIOBE is accurately capturing programming languages’ respective popularity, the rankings are a good way of seeing which languages have “buzz.” The top echelon of the rankings is dominated by languages such as Python, C, C++, Java, and JavaScript; it’s also worth paying attention to aggressive up-and-comers further down the rankings, such as Swift, Golang, and Rust.

The first commercial implementation of C++ appeared in 1985, making the language particularly mature. Although it’s generally regarded as less user-friendly than newer languages, it’s still immensely popular thanks to a combination of critical legacy apps (which must be maintained) and new coding. Many software tools, including compilers, are written in C++.

The sheer amount of existing C++ code means it could be quite some time, if ever, before the language is fully replaced—which is actually good news for those who want to spend time learning it. For those interested in learning C++, there are lots of tutorials and documentation online, much of it free. For example, w3schools has an extensive C++ tutorial; online learning hubs such as Codecademy and freecodecamp are likewise good places to start.

As you master your C++ skills, keep in mind that many organizations will evaluate your programming abilities during the hiring process—make sure you’ve mastered C++ basics before applying for jobs, because there will be a test.