Python Dominates IEEE’s Top Programming Languages 2020 For 3 Yrs In A Row


Python has managed to dominate IEEE’s list of top programming languages for the third consecutive year in 2020. The IEEE Spectrum rankings for this year are out, and the top three programming languages for 2020 remain the same as 2018 and 2019: Python, Java, and C, respectively.

The annual list was made by combining 11 metrics from online sources that have been used to evaluate the popularity of 55 languages. It includes sources such as GitHub, StackOverflow, Google Search, Trends, Twitter, Reddit, etc.

Top Programming Languages In 2020 By IEEE

  1. Python
  2. Java
  3. C
  4. C++
  5. JavaScript
  6. R
  7. Arduino
  8. Go
  9. Swift
  10. Matlab

So these were the 10 most popular programming languages by IEEE, and if you want to check out the complete list, you can refer to this link. (404 error)

Why is Python the undisputed winner?

Now let’s talk about the reason behind Python’s undisputed dominance among programming languages. According to IEEE, one probable cause behind Python’s high ranking is the inflation of its metrics due to the rise in its usage as a teaching language. Many students across the world ask and search for answers to the same elementary questions over and over.

This trend was noticed in the past during the 1980s when BASIC was very visible. There were books, magazines, and even TV programs released that popularized the language, but a fewer number of professional programmers used it in reality (which is comparable to Python). When the home computer bubble burst eventually, so did BASIC’s. However, some advanced programming languages of that era like Microsoft Visual Basic are still surviving among professional programmers.

But one can make two counterarguments to the above: Firstly, the students we are referring to are general users too! So if we pay attention to only what professional coders do, we’d be missing out on a significant chunk of the picture.

And the second is that, unlike BASIC, Python is used quite frequently in professional space and domains such as Machine Learning — owing to its massive collection of high-quality specialized libraries.

Also Read: 10 Most Popular Programming Languages To Learn In July 2020

Impact of COVID-19 On Rankings

There is barely anything that wasn’t impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, including IEEE’s top programming languages. If we take a look at the Twitter metric alone, we can see that COBOL is in seventh place. That is simply because Cobol was all over the news in April. The unemployment benefit systems in U.S. states (which run on COBOL) started crashing under the load as workers were laid off due to lockdowns.

Apparently, the majority of these systems were not upgraded since they were created decades ago in COBOL. This led to a crisis of COBOL programmers and a hunt to help shore them up. But it sure did mess up the metrics significantly.

Manisha Priyadarshini

Manisha Priyadarshini

An Editor and a Tech Journalist with a software development background. I am a big fan of technology and memes. At Fossbytes, I cover all aspects of tech but my specific area of interest is Programming and Development.
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