If you’re looking for a new programming language to learn, you could do a lot worse than Rust.

Originally created as a personal project by a researcher at Mozilla, Rust has become increasingly popular among software developers and engineers. According to the latest update to the TIOBE Index, which tracks the relative popularity of various programming languages, Rust has managed to keep its position in the top 20—a difficult feat for smaller languages, which must compete against juggernauts such as Python, Java, JavaScript, and Swift.

“For years now, we are waiting for languages such as Kotlin, Dart, Julia to work their way into the TIOBE index top 20, but without success. The only exception to this seems to be Rust,” read the note accompanying TIOBE’s update. “Rust entered the top 20 last month and managed to keep its position this month. The main reason for Rust's rising popularity is its unique combination of speed and safety. Let's see whether Rust is here to stay.” 

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. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not the most scientific way of determining programming languages’ respective popularity, but it’s a good way to see that Rust’s popularity is holding steady.

Why do developers and engineers like Rust? Speed is a big part of it, along with safety. “By design, developers can't accidentally create the most common types of exploitable security vulnerabilities when they're coding in Rust, a distinction that could make a huge difference in the daily patch parade and ultimately the world's baseline cybersecurity,” read a recent Wired article on the language.  

That element of safety makes Rust especially appealing to entry-level software developers who don’t want to accidentally insert a catastrophic memory-safety bug. Team leaders and development heads likewise appreciate their teams working in a language less prone to error. Rust is currently in use by Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Atlassian, Microsoft, Meta, and a wide range of fintech, A.I., cloud, and automation companies—more than enough to help inch the language toward widespread adoption.

Rust also provides a nifty alternative to C++. There’s lots of documentation and superior memory support, as well as extensive WebAssembly support. If you’re interested in learning Rust, start with its official documentation.