Main image of article Python Keeps Swallowing the Programming Universe: TIOBE

Whoever chose the name ‘Python’ for the programming language had the gift of foresight: It’s swallowing up the developer world as fast as it can, according to the latest data from TIOBE.

Python leapt from fourth to third place in TIOBE’s monthly rankings of programming-language popularity, placing it just behind Java and C (and ahead of C++, Visual Basic .NET, and C#). If you’re a longtime watcher of the TIOBE Index, you know this is a big deal; it’s difficult for languages near the top of the list to drop (or climb) ranks, given the sheer amount of activity necessary to do so. 

In order to generate these monthly rankings, 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. (This methodology, as you can imagine, has sparked its own share of controversy over the years.)

“If Python can keep this pace, it will probably replace C and Java in 3 to 4 years’ time, thus becoming the most popular programming language of the world,” added the note accompanying the ranking update. “The main reason for this is that software engineering is booming.”

Say what? “It attracts lots of newcomers to the field,” TIOBE’s note continued. “Java's way of programming is too verbose for beginners. In order to fully understand and run a simple program such as “hello world” in Java you need to have knowledge of classes, static methods and packages. In C this is a bit easier, but then you will be hit in the face with explicit memory management. In Python this is just a one-liner. Enough said.”

Whether or not that’s the real reason for Python’s continued rise—its growing popularity among data analysts might also have something to do with it, not to mention the increased love it’s getting from folks in finance—it’s undeniable that learning Python can boost your worth as a developer (According to Dice’s data, Python salaries can hit $103,587 a year.)

If you’re interested in developing in Python, check out our helpful page of links to various guides and downloads. And if you’re seeking out a community, there are many groups for Python language enthusiasts, including PyLadies, an international mentorship group focusing on helping women become active participants in the community, and several language-related internet relay chat (IRC) channels.