Python programming language's top uses, tools: Developers reveal their choices

Data analysis overtook web development among Python developers last year.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Python has grown to become one of the top programming languages in the world, with more developers than ever now using it for data analysis, machine learning, DevOps, and web development. 

Data analysis and machine learning in particular have moved up in Python developers' priorities, according to the 2018 Python Developer survey.  

Today, 58 percent who use Python do so for data analysis, up from 50 percent last year, overtaking web development on 52 percent. The other rapidly rising uses for Python are machine learning and DevOps.

When asked what they use Python for most, web development is the leading answer, given by 27 percent of respondents, and well ahead of the 17 percent who report data analysis as the most common use. 

However, if machine learning, on 11 percent, and data analysis are combined under the general 'data science' label, data science becomes the most common use for Python.     

The results are based on a survey of just over 18,000 developers from more than 150 countries carried out by the Python Software Foundation and IDE developer JetBrains. 

SEE: Python is eating the world: How one developer's side project became the hottest programming language on the planet (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

It would appear Python developers are taking heed of warnings about Python 2.7's sunsetting on January 1, 2020. The survey found that 84 percent are using Python 3, versus 16 percent still using Python 2. Python 3 adoption is up from 75 percent last year. 

By far the two most popular web frameworks among Python developers are Flask and Django, which are used by 47 percent and 45 percent of respondents, respectively. However, Flask use grew 15 percentage points year over year versus four points for Django.      

The most popular data-science frameworks and libraries are NumPy, Pandas, Matplotlib, and SciPy. TensorFlow, Keras, and SciKit-learn are also popular for machine learning. 

The HTTP library for Python, Requests, is also hugely popular with developers, followed by Pillow, Scrapy, and asyncio.

It appears that AWS is the top cloud platform for the 55 percent of Python developers who do use the cloud. Respondents were allowed to pick multiple providers and 36 percent list AWS, followed by Google App Engine, which is used by 29 percent of respondents. Heroku gets 26 percent, followed by DigitalOcean at 23 percent, and Microsoft Azure at 16 percent. 

Linux is the most popular operating system to develop on, according to the survey. However, again, respondents were allowed to pick multiple operating systems. Still, the results show that 69 percent of developers use Linux, 47 percent use Windows, and 32 percent use macOS.


When developers are asked what they use Python for, data analysis now comes out ahead of web development.

Image: Python Software Foundation/JetBrains

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