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TIOBE Index for January 2021

January Headline: Python is TIOBE's Programming Language of 2020!

Python has won the TIOBE programming language of the year award! This is for the fourth time in the history, which is a record! The title is awarded to the programming language that has gained most popularity in one year. Python made a positive jump of 2.01% in 2020. Programming language C++ is a very close runner up with an increase of 1.99%. Other winners are C (+1.66%), Groovy (+1.23%) and R (+1.10%).

It has been stated before: Python is popping up everywhere. It started as a competitor of Perl to write scripts for system administrators a long time ago. Nowadays it is the favorite language in fields such as data science and machine learning, but it is also used for web development and back-end programming and growing into the mobile application domain and even in (larger) embedded systems. The main reasons for this massive adoption are the ease of learning the language and its high productivity. These two qualities are key in a world that is craving for more developers in all kinds of fields. Python already tested the second position some months ago and it will for sure swap places with Java permanently soon. Will Python also beat C? Well, C has still one trump card to play: its performance, and this will remain the case for some time to come. So I guess it will certainly take some years for Python to become the new number 1 in the TIOBE index.

What else happened in the TIOBE index in 2020? C has become number 1 again, beating Java. Java lost almost 5% in only 1 year. Other interesting moves in the top 20 are the statistical language R (from position 18 to 9), and Groovy, which is mainly used for scripting for CI/CD tool Jenkins, from position 23 to 10. Are there any new top 20 entries to be expected in 2021? Top candidate is without doubt Julia, which jumped from position 47 to position 23 in the last 12 months. Dart and Rust are other candidates, but both of them touched the top 20 already without being able to stay for a longer time. - Paul Jansen CEO TIOBE Software

The TIOBE Programming Community index is an indicator of the popularity of programming languages. The index is updated once a month. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers world-wide, courses and third party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. It is important to note that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language or the language in which most lines of code have been written.

The index can be used to check whether your programming skills are still up to date or to make a strategic decision about what programming language should be adopted when starting to build a new software system. The definition of the TIOBE index can be found here.

Jan 2021 Jan 2020 Change Programming Language Ratings Change
12changeC17.38%+1.61%
21changeJava11.96%-4.93%
33Python11.72%+2.01%
44C++7.56%+1.99%
55C#3.95%-1.40%
66Visual Basic3.84%-1.44%
77JavaScript2.20%-0.25%
88PHP1.99%-0.41%
918changeR1.90%+1.10%
1023changeGroovy1.84%+1.23%
1115changeAssembly language1.64%+0.76%
1210changeSQL1.61%+0.10%
139changeSwift1.43%-0.36%
1414Go1.41%+0.51%
1511changeRuby1.30%+0.24%
1620changeMATLAB1.15%+0.41%
1719changePerl1.02%+0.27%
1813changeObjective-C1.00%+0.07%
1912changeDelphi/Object Pascal0.79%-0.20%
2016changeClassic Visual Basic0.79%-0.04%


Other programming languages

The complete top 50 of programming languages is listed below. This overview is published unofficially, because it could be the case that we missed a language. If you have the impression there is a programming language lacking, please notify us at tpci@tiobe.com. Please also check the overview of all programming languages that we monitor.

PositionProgramming LanguageRatings
21SAS0.77%
22PL/SQL0.74%
23Julia0.73%
24Scratch0.71%
25Dart0.62%
26Rust0.61%
27ABAP0.57%
28D0.54%
29Prolog0.48%
30Fortran0.46%
31COBOL0.42%
32Ada0.40%
33Transact-SQL0.40%
34Scala0.39%
35VHDL0.38%
36Lisp0.37%
37Lua0.37%
38PowerShell0.35%
39(Visual) FoxPro0.35%
40Kotlin0.34%
41Logo0.33%
42TypeScript0.33%
43LabVIEW0.31%
44Haskell0.31%
45Apex0.29%
46Bash0.29%
47Awk0.28%
48Solidity0.27%
49Scheme0.27%
50VBScript0.26%

The Next 50 Programming Languages

The following list of languages denotes #51 to #100. Since the differences are relatively small, the programming languages are only listed (in alphabetical order).

  • 4th Dimension/4D, ABC, ActionScript, Alice, Applescript, AutoLISP, B4X, bc, Bourne shell, CIL, CL (OS/400), Clojure, CoffeeScript, Common Lisp, Crystal, cT, Elixir, Emacs Lisp, Erlang, F#, Factor, Hack, Icon, Inform, Io, J, Korn shell, Ladder Logic, LiveCode, Maple, ML, MQL4, NATURAL, Nim, OpenCL, OpenEdge ABL, PILOT, PL/I, PostScript, Q, Ring, RPG, S, Simulink, Small Basic, SPARK, SPSS, Stata, Tcl, Verilog


This Month's Changes in the Index

This month the following changes have been made to the definition of the index:

  • Malgorzata Slota did some research and proposed to add "-healing" for Crystal programming. This has been accepted. Thanks for your suggestion Malgorzata!
  • There are lots of mails that still need to be processed. As soon as there is more time available your mail will be answered. Please be patient.

Very Long Term History

To see the bigger picture, please find below the positions of the top 10 programming languages of many years back. Please note that these are average positions for a period of 12 months.

Programming Language20212016201120062001199619911986
C12211111
Java2112328--
Python35672313--
C++43332228
C#54568---
JavaScript67109630--
PHP764418---
R81641-----
SQL9-------
Swift1015------
Perl149754317-
Lisp2926141317632
Ada3324211615493

Programming Language Hall of Fame

The hall of fame listing all "Programming Language of the Year" award winners is shown below. The award is given to the programming language that has the highest rise in ratings in a year.

YearWinner
2019medal C
2018medal Python
2017medal C
2016medal Go
2015medal Java
2014medal JavaScript
2013medal Transact-SQL
2012medal Objective-C
2011medal Objective-C
2010medal Python
2009medal Go
2008medal C
2007medal Python
2006medal Ruby
2005medal Java
2004medal PHP
2003medal C++


Bugs & Change Requests

This is the top 5 of most requested changes and bugs. If you have any suggestions how to improve the index don't hesitate to send an e-mail to tpci@tiobe.com.

  1. Apart from "<language> programming", also other queries such as "programming with <language>", "<language> development" and "<language> coding" should be tried out.
  2. Add queries for other natural languages (apart from English). The idea is to start with the Chinese search engine Baidu. This has been implemented partially and will be completed the next few months.
  3. Add a list of all search term requests that have been rejected. This is to minimize the number of recurring mails about Rails, JQuery, JSP, etc.
  4. Start a TIOBE index for databases, software configuration management systems and application frameworks.
  5. Some search engines allow to query pages that have been added last year. The TIOBE index should only track those recently added pages.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Q: Am I allowed to show the TIOBE index in my weblog/presentation/publication?

    A: Yes, the only condition is to refer to its original source "www.tiobe.com".

  • Q: How may I nominate a new language to be added to the TIOBE index?

    A: If a language meets the criteria of being listed (i.e. it is Turing complete and has an own Wikipedia entry that indicates that it concerns a programming language) and it is sufficiently popular (more than 5,000 hits for +"<language> programming" for Google), then please write an e-mail to tpci@tiobe.com.

  • Q: I would like to have the complete data set of the TIOBE index. Is this possible?

    A: We spent a lot of effort to obtain all the data and keep the TIOBE index up to date. In order to compensate a bit for this, we ask a fee of 5,000 US$ for the complete data set. The data set runs from June 2001 till today. It started with 25 languages back in 2001, and now measures more than 150 languages once a month. The data are available in comma separated format. Please contact sales@tiobe.com for more information.

  • Q: Why is the maximum taken to calculate the ranking for a grouping, why not the sum?

    A: Well, you can do it either way and both are wrong. If you take the sum, then you get the intersection twice. If you take the max, then you miss the difference. Which one to choose? Suppose somebody comes up with a new search term that is 10% of the original. If you take the max, nothing changes. If you take the sum then the ratings will rise 10%. So taking the sum will be an incentive for some to come up with all kinds of obscure terms for a language. That's why we decided to take the max.

    The proper way to solve this is is of course to take the sum and subtract the intersection. This will give rise to an explosion of extra queries that must be performed. Suppose a language has a grouping of 15 terms, then you have to perform 32,768 queries (all combinations of intersections). So this seems not possible either... If somebody has a solution for this, please let us know.

  • Q: What happened to Java in April 2004? Did you change your methodology?

    A: No, we did not change our methodology at that time. Google changed its methodology. They performed a general sweep action to get rid of all kinds of web sites that had been pushed up. As a consequence, there was a huge drop for languages such as Java and C++. In order to minimize such fluctuations in the future, we added two more search engines (MSN and Yahoo) a few months after this incident.