Why Python and C# can’t displace Java, C, or C++?

Although Java, C, and C++ have seen drops in language popularity, they once again remain atop the Tiobe language popularity index, which uses the number of developers, courses, and vendors for each language to calculate its popularity. Their two main contenders—Python and C#—face obstacles that may keep them in the second tier.

Python actually slipped 1.32 points from its rating a year ago, while C# slipped 0.71 points in the same period.

Python and C# have long been poised to become the next big programming languages, but that hasn’t happened so far because of their limitations, notes the Tiobe report’s authors: “C# is not a Top 3 language because its adoption in the non-Windows world is still low. Python on the other hand is dynamically typed, which is a blocker for most large and/or critical software systems to use it.”

“It will be hard for [C# and Python] to become part of the Top 3,” said Paul Jansen, managing director at software quality services vendor Tiobe. “Although I think the days are over for the big three in the long term, it is unclear to me who will replace them. Just name a candidate and I can tell you why it will not reach the top three.”

But one preduction Jansen does make is that Google’s Go language will rise in the rankings. Google hit the No. 10 spot in Tiobe’s July ranking, then fell to No. 16 in the August ranking and then to No. 17 in the September ranking. But Jansen sees this downward trend for Go as a temporary glitch. “I am pretty sure it will be higher again next month.”

One reason for the difficulty in predicting language popularity in the future is that  fewer and fewer applications are being written in a single language. That means more languages have opportunities to grow their usage, and the current leaders are increasingly going to share their market share with other languages.

The  top 10 languages for the September Tiobe index were:

  1. Java: 12.667 percent
  2. C: 7.382 percent
  3. C++: 5.565 percent
  4. C#: 4.779 percent
  5. Python: 2.983 percent
  6. PHP: 2.21 percent
  7. JavaScript: 2.017 percent
  8. Visual Basic .Net: 1.982 percent
  9. Perl: 1.952 percent
  10. Ruby: 1.933 percent

In the Pypl Popularity of Programming Language index, which looks at how often language tutorials are searched on in Google, the top 10 for this month were:

  1. Java: 22.4 percent
  2. Python: 17.0 percent
  3. PHP: 8.7 percent
  4. C#: 8.1 percent
  5. JavaScript: 8.0 percent
  6. C++: 6.8 percent
  7. C: 6.1 percent
  8. R: 3.7 percent
  9. Objective-C: 3.5 percent
  10. Swift: 2.9 percent


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