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Java was the king of programming languages for some time. Now it is trying to keep the second place as pressure from Python’s squeeze intensifies. Tiobe, the software firm, ranked programming languages for its December edition of the ranking system and placed C at the top of the pile.

Following closely are Java, Python, C++, C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, PHP, R, and SQL.

After unseating Java in the November rankings, Python is in third place, following a 20-year domination by the former. However, the rankings should not be seen as indisputable since the rankings tend to vary in a volatile way.

That being said, the language index by Tiobe clearly shows a decline in Java’s popularity.

Language of the year

December sees Java declining in popularity by 4.72 percentage points, compared to a year ago. Python was up by 1.9 percentage points in the same period. In December, Tiobe nominates a ‘language of the year,’ and Paul Jansen, the company’s CEO, thinks that Python will probably win.

Jansen says that the programming language with the highest increase in ratings over the past year will win the title. Python is ahead with +1.90%, followed by C++ at +0.71%.

It is a lot of ground to cover for C++ to win the title, practically guaranteeing that Python will be a shoo-in.

A changing landscape

If Python wins, this will be the fourth time it has won language of the year. Python has seen heavy use by data scientists and machine learning models, driven by its ecosystem of data science libraries like SciPy and NumPy.

It’s not just data scientists using Python that drives its popularity; it’s also the fact that non-programmers do not struggle too much to be adept at using it.

Other languages that are seeing increased use include newcomers like Rust and TypeScript.