Google’s Go was 2016’s programming language of the year, says the TIOBE Index, a highly-regarded resource for ranking the popularity of programming languages.
While the TIOBE Index only catalogues the relative popularity of programming languages via search engines, not how often they’re actually used in real life, it’s a handy tool for figuring out what skills to learn if you’re chasing a career in technology.
Every year, this award goes to “the programming language that has gained the most popularity in a year.” And “without hardly any competition Go has won the award for 2016,” TIOBE writes. Plus, TIOBE says that among its paying customers, it’s seeing more interest in Go in industrial settings.
Since 2009, Google has been overseeing the community-led development of Go — a programming language aimed at helping web developers build apps at Google’s scale and Google’s speed, with a focus on rock-solid performance and ease of use, rather than chasing after the latest fads in programming.
Go has won its fair share of fans in programmer-land, not least because it provides a viable alternative to Oracle’s Java, which has ruled the world of computer programming for the last two decades. Google’s been using Go internally to power things like its download servers, where you grab stuff like the Chrome install files.
Languages to watch in 2017
The runner-ups for programming language of the year, per TIOBE, were Dart (another Google-led programming language, incidentally) and Perl, a NASA-created language renowned for its reliability, if not its elegance.
Other movers and shakers on the list include Facebook’s Hack, which shot up to 51st place on the list from 67 in 2015, and Julia, a language that shot up from 73rd to 52nd place.
The TIOBE Index expects that in 2017, the favoured candidates for programming language of the year will include Apple’s Swift, Julia, the Microsoft’created TypeScript, and the ever-popular C++.
Incidentally, back in August 2016, the C programming language — the legendary programming language invented in 1972 and still widely used — recorded its lowest-ever score on the TIOBE Index since its creation in 2001. It looks like C finished 2016 with a lower score still, showing signs of fading even as its offshoot C++ gains on it quickly.