IEEE Study: C Programming Now Most Popular Language for 2016

Move over Java, there’s a new top programming language in town. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), C is now the most popular programming language.

IEEE based its findings on a variety of factors, some of which include open-source code production, online job postings and social media networking posts. The organization also worked with professional data journalist Nick Diakopoulos to compile these results.

Java had previously held the #1 spot on IEEE’s rankings for two years. While it still retains a highly respectable spot at #2, researchers believe C is the most popular programming language used by IEEE members.

C Programming

Developed by Dennis Ritchie & Bell Labs more than four decades ago, C is a general-purpose programming language that supports structured programming, lexical variable scope, and static typing. It’s been inherently designed to provide constructs which efficiently map to typical machine instructions. And since its inception, C has become one of the world’s most widely used computer programming languages.

Many other computer languages have been influenced by C. This include C++, D, Go, Rust, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, Limbo, Perl, PHP, Python and Verilog to name a few. In terms of syntax, these languages are very similar to C. They often use recognizable expression and syntax. So if you’re familiar with C programming, you should have little-to-no problem learning the aforementioned languages.

You might be surprised to learn that many operating systems are designed with C. This is because it has desirable characteristics like efficiency, portable code, and the ability to access hardware addresses. But C is used in many other applications, including open-source software, embedded applications and more. Assuming the IEEE report is correct, we’ll likely see C being used even more in the months and years to come.

Other Findings

There were several notable changes with IEEE’s most recent programming languages report. For instance, Shell programming, which consists of scripts like bash, has steadily declined in popularity. In the IEEE’s last report, shell was ranked #12. However, it has since fallen all the way #19. As explained by IEEE, this signals a growing demand for “more sophisticated systems to manage cloud-based data centers.”

Google is also gaining momentum in computer programming, with it Go language surpassing Apple’s Swift in the IEEE rankings. Don’t let that fool you into thinking Swift is a dying language, though. On the contrary, its popularity has increased from #16 to #11 in less than a year.

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