Main image of article IEEE Spectrum Says This Programming Language is Crucial

If you build software for the web, enterprise tech stacks, or embedded devices, it’s in your best interest to learn Python. That’s the conclusion of IEEE Spectrum’s latest list of the world’s top programming languages, which placed Python at number one.

IEEE Spectrum’s list is notable in that it ranks languages within the context of the web, enterprise, mobile, and embedded. The organization creates its rankings by combining 11 metrics from eight sources, including Stack Overflow, GitHub, and Twitter. In theory, this generates a ranking of languages according to both usage (e.g., number of GitHub repos) and buzz (e.g., the number of Reddit posts). 

With all that in mind, here’s IEEE Spectrum’s 2021 list:

IEEE Spectrum’s rankings largely mirror those of other organizations, such as the TIOBE Index’s regularly updated list. There are some oddities, however, such as SQL (an immensely popular and well-used language by any measure) ranking below Arduino and Matlab. 

IEEE Spectrum recommends learning Python, obviously. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can interact with the enormous number of libraries written for the language. “It's all about the ins and outs of particular libraries for things like embedded projects and large-scale AI systems,” added IEEE’s note accompanying the data. “Frankly, depending on the domain, complexity, and/or quality of documentation, grokking one can be considerably tougher than learning Python itself.”

But where can you start learning Python? If you’re totally new to the language, consider beginning with, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. If you like to learn via video, consider Microsoft’s series “Python for Beginners,” which features dozens of video lessons (most under five minutes in length; none longer than 13 minutes). Sites such as w3schools also offer handy tutorials on the language’s many aspects.