When it comes to programming languages, Python, Java, C, and C++ dominate an untold number of tech stacks. But according to the latest update to the TIOBE Index, which tracks the world’s most popular programming languages, there are signs that Java’s hold might be slipping.
“The rising popularity of C++ goes at the expense of Java,” reads the note accompanying TIOBE’s new data. “C++ surpassed Java for the first time in the history of the TIOBE index, which means that Java is at position 4 now. This is the first time that Java is not part of the top 3 since the beginning of the TIOBE index in 2001.”
Meanwhile, newer languages such as Kotlin continue climbing the TIOBE ranks. Could they eventually threaten older languages’ longtime hold on the top slots? Never say never—but it could also take years for that to happen. Once many thousands of developers and organizations embrace a particular language for building apps and services, it’s very hard for them to switch to another one (particularly if it means rewriting a mountain of legacy code).
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. While that isn’t the most scientific means of determining programming languages’ respective popularity, it’s a good way to determine at a glance which languages have “buzz.”