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Saurabh Hooda
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Will Python Overtake Java as the Most Used Programming Language?

Will Python Overtake Java as the Most Used Programming Language? As per the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2019, Python is the fastest-growing major programming language in the world. Moreover, it outshined Java this year to reach the feat.

Several scholars and professionals believe that Python is on its way to conquer and overthrow Java as the most used programming language. But will that turn out to be true? While some say maybe, others stick to ‘no’!

The answer to the question of whether Python will be able to usurp Java and replace it as the most used programming language isn’t that straightforward.

So, let’s begin the argument with the TIOBE Index.

1. The TIOBE Index

As per the TIOBE Index, Java is the most widely used programming language in the world right now. The TIOBE Index is updated every month, but Java remains bolstered with fewer, smaller deviations from its stronghold. Nonetheless, Python has been on a steady rise.

The consistency of Java is one of the contributing factors to its high adoption rates among developers and organizations. However, with the Python programming language entering the equation, the question of whether Java will remain the most used programming language in the near future has become more important than ever.

The Java programming language was awarded “the programming language of the year” title by the TIOBE Index in 2018. With the latest numbers running in, seeing the same title awarded to the Java for 2019, and even 2020, is obvious, but not so obvious post that.

Let’s take a look at the important TIOBE Index stats regarding Java and Python for the month of June 2019:

  • Python saw a rate of change of +2.77%, an all-time high
  • Java saw a rate of change of -0.36%

According to the TIOBE Index, if Python is able to keep up this pace, then it will be able to replace Java, as well as the C programming language, in the next 3 to 4 years to become the most popular programming language in the world.

However, it is an oversimplification of the real deal. The thing is that you can’t completely rely on TIOBE data. This is due to the way in which the TIOBE Index collects data.

TIOBE rankings consider 25 of the most popular search engines. Clearly, it doesn’t represent the bigger picture, especially that’s outside the scope of SERPs. Although the TIOBE Index can give a good idea of the programming scene, it can’t present the precise picture.

In order to completely replace something, the alternative must be able to fulfill all purposes met by the aforementioned in addition to offering additional benefits. This is only possible if the two are completely identical or almost the same.

Obviously, this is not the case with Java and Python programming languages. To explore this statement further, let’s briefly compare the two general-purpose programming languages.

2. Will Python Overtake Java?

2.1 Python vs Java

Amazingly, Python hit the programming scene about 4 years prior to Java entering the scene in 1995. While Java went on to become one of the most popular, and gradually the most popular programming language of the world, Python remained in the shadows in a dormant state.

It’s only recently with the advent of machine learning and data science that the Python programming language has started picking up the pace.

With more and more research and development going on in data science, machine learning, and related fields, the adoption rate of Python has also significantly increased.

As both Python and Java are general-purpose programming languages, they are compared to one another time and time again. Despite their similarities, the differences between the two are more than a few.

Comparing Python with Java can be like comparing apples to oranges. Java emphasizes the principle of WORA, Write Once, Run Anywhere i.e. a cross-platform ability, whereas Python prioritizes code conciseness and simplicity.

Python is presently used by big names like Dropbox, Netflix, and Reddit. Accenture, Google, and Symantec are popular brands utilizing Java. Although both have some overlapping use-case scenarios, not all of them are identical.

While Java is preferred for building full-size, highly scalable applications, Python is best suited for applications that involve scientific computation to some extent.

Even if Python is able to replace Java as the most popular programming language, it doesn’t mean that Java will go out of business. The general-purpose language will still be used for pretty much everything that it is being used for today, such as building standalone applications and occasionally for web development.

3. The Rise of Python

Will the fastest growing programming language Python will ever be able to overtake Java? Java is a very powerful, and convenient, programming language. Even after over 2 decades of its release, the programming language is either on top of most surveys or close.

An antithesis of Python conquering Java is that even though both Python and Java are general-purpose programming languages, they serve different purposes and cater to distinct programming niches.

There are several common aspects among Java and Python but they aren’t 100% identical. This presents a great uncertainty about whether Python will replace Java or not. It is not possible for a Java developer to switch all the code over to Python, hence Java stays.

A major use-case of Python is for data science and scientific documentation. This is a major contributing factor to the steady rise in the popularity enjoyed by the Python programming language. Contrary to this, Java isn’t a go-to option for data science or scientific research.

Another significant reason for the increasing popularity enjoyed by the Python programming language is the boom in software engineering. This leads to attracting hordes of newbies to the field of programming.

Now, everybody knows that the Java programming language can be too much for newbies. Even for something as rudimentary as the “Hello World!” program in Java, one needs to have a sound understanding of concepts such as classes, packages, and static methods.

The aforementioned fact, obviously, throws-off many people. Comparatively, in Python, the “Hello World!” is simply a single-line program. Hence, many people getting started with programming chooses Python over Java.

4. The Final Call!

Without some kind of clarity, it is very difficult to tell what does the future of programming has in store for us.

Maybe Python will be able to crush Java in the upcoming future or maybe Python itself gets left behind, forgotten in the wake of some newer programming language, who knows!

But then again, predicting the future is something that everybody likes to do. It gives a sense of reassurance and also serves as a fair approach to predict the unpredictable in the ever-changing terrain of information technology.

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