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The rise of Python

Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages, used across tech giants such as Google, Netflix and NASA.

Updated on: 15th July 2021

How has this clever language grown so quickly through the coding popularity ranks? And why are many choosing to worship this mighty contender over all others?

We take a look at what Python is, the range of benefits contained within its armoured exterior, and just what has caused its incredible growth in popularity.

Learning People | Developer coding on laptop

What is Python?

Breaking into the world of coding in 1991, Python is quite simply, a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively.

It was initially created as a way to write scripts that “automate the boring stuff”. But over time, has transitioned itself as a leader in web development, infrastructure management and the analysing of data.

Gone are the days of back-room utility language. When it comes to web application creation and big data analytics, Python has really been having its say. As Python can disparate code, it can be seen as a “glue code,” meaning that “in addition to connecting disparate software modules, it can be used to tie together multiple systems.”

In 2012, Stack Overflow, the largest and most trusted online community for developers, saw questions related to Python account for less than 4% of all queries. Fast forward to 2018 and over 10% of questions on the site related to Python. In 2020, GitHub found that 29.9% of all programming tutorials searched for on Google were for Python, outranking Java’s 19.1%  and JavaScript’s 8.2%, making Python the most popularly-searched coding language today.

What’s causing its incredible growth in popularity?

Python’s popularity is still on the rise because not only it is flexible and easy to learn, it’s the type of programming language that speaks to people at any level of ability. It’s widely used and, more importantly, it can be utilised by experts and beginners alike, making it a coding dream.

The beauty of Python lies in its simple programming structure and its ability to offer a whole array of advantages. It can be used for web development, data analysis and writing scripts to automate simple tasks.

Just look at its key players – Google, Netflix, Instagram, Dropbox, Cisco, NASA. With these companies on board, it’s clear to see how such a programming language could have gained its popularity.

As of July 2021, TIOBE, an organisation specialising in tracking software quality, says Python looks set to snag its index’s coveted number 1 spot in the next few months, “thanks to its market leadership in the booming field of data mining and artificial intelligence.” Currently in third place, this move would see it overtake Java and steal C’s crown as the world’s top rated programming language. 


The advantages of Python

  • Easy to learn and put into practice

We’ve talked about its ease of use and the fact that both expert programmers – in any programming language – and eager coders ready to learn can take to the adaptable scales of Python pretty darn quickly. With its clean syntax and indentation structure, learning it really is a doddle.

  • Functions are defined

Defining functions play a huge part in extensible programming. As Python themselves put it, this versatile programming language allows mandatory and optional arguments, keyword arguments, and even arbitrary argument lists.

  • Quick coding

One of the alluring things about Python web programming is the time it takes in terms of its development. Whatech.com highlights that “the code which takes three hours to write in Java takes just 30 minutes to write in Python.” Talk about timesaving.

  • Versatility

Simplicity and flexibility are at the forefront of this languages versatile mind. Straightforward syntax? Check. Use of indented spaces? Absolutely. In fact, it’s avid practitioners, known as Pythonistas, have uploaded 145,000 custom-built software packages to an online repository. “From game development to astronomy, these can be installed and inserted into a Python program in a matter of seconds.”

  • Compound Data Types

Lists – known as arrays in other languages – are one of the compound data types that Python really understands. Lists can be indexed, sliced and manipulated with other built-in functions.

  • Data Science

The need for more experienced data analysis has indeed become one of the most rapidly developed areas of IT in today’s times, and Python takes centre stage when it comes to usage. Libraries used in data science have python interfaces, making it the most popular interface used in machine learning. 

  • Widely supported

If you are seeking out a particular application or looking for a library with particular functionality, the Python website provides a Python Package Index, which is rather humorously known as the Cheese Shop, a reference to the Monty Python script of the very same name.

Python has held third place on the TIOBE index in 2020 and 2021 running. Since TIOBE describes its index as “an indicator of the popularity of programming languages”, this is a pretty big deal.

TIOBE also shows Python’s growing use in teaching, citing data that Python featured in 70% of introductory programming courses at US universities.

Google itself has been on Python’s slippery side since it reared its efficient head. And it now sits comfortably as one of Google’s official server-sides, nestled in amongst the stellar likes of C++, Java, and Go.

In case you aren’t really sure about how important Python is to Google, Dutch computer scientist, Guido van Rossum – only Python’s founder, BFF and previous BDFL, Benevolent dictator for life – worked at Google between 2005 and 2012. Self-described as “Gawky and proud of it,” van Rossum stated: “The joy of coding Python should be in seeing short, concise, readable classes that express a lot of action in a small amount of clear code – not in reams of trivial code that bores the reader to death.”

Next steps

So, now that you know the ins and outs of the versatile, easy to implement, and tipped-for-world’s-top programming language that is Python, why not take a look at our Python course? Suited to coders of all levels, it’s ready to take you from novice to Pythonista. 

Get in touch with our helpful career consultants to crack on with your coding course and start your own exciting programming journey today.

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