​Programming languages: Python is hottest, but Go and Swift are rising

Python edges out C and Java to become the most popular programming language.

IEEE Spectrum's latest ranking of the hottest programming languages puts Python ahead of the rest, but Apple's two-year-old Swift is now a top 10 contender.

The open source Python language climbed two places in IEEE Spectrum's fourth interactive programming language ranking, to take out the top language in the current ranking, based on the "typical Spectrum reader".

The ranking app helpfully built by the engineering organisation's publication can display the most popular app by different weights, such as demand by employers, popularity on open source projects, or a custom view.

The remaining top 10 languages in descending order were C, Java, C++, C#, R, JavaScript PHP, Google's Go, and Apple's Swift.

According to IEEE Spectrum, its ranking system is based on 12 metrics from a range of sources, including Google Search, TIOBE rankings, GitHub, Reddit, Hacker News, and Stack Overflow.

The ranking is meant to serve as a guide for whether students and professionals are investing in the right skills. ZDNet's David Gewirtz has compiled a handy list of various rankings and offers advice on how to approach them.

In this sense, developers would appear to be safe targeting the top five, but also get a grasp of fast-rising languages like Google's Go and Apple's Swift.

As Spectrum IEEE notes, the top four languages -- Python, C, Java, and C++ -- are close in popularity and remain unchanged from the previous ranking. Swift's rise meanwhile mirrors the demise of Apple's Objective-C.

The order shifts slightly when weighted for demand by employers. Here, Java leads, followed by C, Python, C++, JavaScript, C#, PHP, HTML, Ruby, and Swift.

Though some might argue HTML is a markup rather than a language, IEEE Spectrum defends its inclusion since "HTML is used by coders to instruct computers to do things".

The open source ranking is also lead by Python. Filling out the top 10 in descending order were C++, Java, C, Swift, C#, JavaScriipt, HTML, Ruby, and Go.

TIOBE earlier this awarded Google's Go the top language award not because it was the most popular but the fastest growing.

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