Trending Programming Languages – Product Managers in Software Development are often asked to talk about software engineering trends. The reason why product managers and engineers are highly interested in trends is the fear of missing out on some new technology.
According to the TIOBE index this fear is ungrounded. Every year new programming languages emerge and seem to become popular but in fact not many changes. If we compare the current TIOBE index top 8 of today with the one of 2014 (5 years ago) and 2004 (15 years ago), there is only one different programming language. In 2004 Perl was still in the top 8 but it disappeared because of the supremacy of Python and the unclear future of the language with the split between Perl 5 and Perl 6. In 2014 Objective-C was in the top 8 but after the hype of gold diggers to write apps for the iPhone was over and Swift became its successor, Objective-C was out again. So apart from this exception, the top 8 of the TIOBE index has remained the same for all these years. There are some trends in the programming language area though, but these are slow, fortunately. Python is becoming the new big language in favor of languages such as PHP and Perl. Apart from that, there is a big fight going on for some relatively new languages to enter the top 20. These candidates are Dart, Scala, Lua, Rust, Kotlin and TypeScript.
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.