Top programming languages: Data science languages trump longtime dev favorites in 2023

Programming languages used for data science and data analytics are growing in popularity, due to the acknowledgement that data skills are crucial to business success and the proliferation of data-centric tools, such as process mining and execution management.

“As more businesses and organizations seek to make data-based decisions, the need for data analysts and data scientists will continue to grow,” said Brenda Hungerford, Ph.D, Director of Data Science Programs at Coding Dojo.

Python and SQL move up top programming lists

Each year, Coding Dojo combs through thousands of job postings on Indeed and LinkedIn and compiles a list of the programming languages that appear most often. In February, they released their top 10 programming languages for 2023:

  1. Python: 68,534 (#2 in 2022)

  2. SQL: 57,971 (#3)

  3. Java: 57,236 (#1)

  4. JavaScript: 48,041 (#4)

  5. C: 35,702 (#7)

  6. C++: 35,281 (#5)

  7. Go: 32,503 (#8)

  8. C#: 29,084 (#6)

  9. Assembly: 14,866 (#10)

  10. MATLAB: 8,504 (previously unranked)

Python took the top spot, moving up from the #2 position in 2022, and SQL moved into the #2 spot, up one place from #3 in 2022.

“Both Python and SQL are relatively easy languages to learn. They have both been around for a long time, so a great deal of documentation and community support are available,” Hungerford said.

Python also topped the TIOBE index of most popular programming languages in February 2023, a spot it also held in February 2022. SQL moved up two spots from #10 in 2022 to #8 in 2023.

TIOBE Index of top programming languages for February 2023

TIOBE Index for February 2023 - Source: TIOBE Software BV

“Python is great for data mining, AI programming, statistical programs, research projects, web sites, small glue programs and learning how to program,” Paul Jansen, CEO TIOBE Software said.

Hungerford attributed Python’s popularity to the language being both useful for in-demand computing tasks and flexible. “While Python excels in data processing and machine learning, it also stands out for its versatility and ability to integrate with other languages,” she added.

MATLAB and R on the move

Two other languages often used for data-focused work, MATLAB and R, also made significant moves.

MATLAB, developed by MathWorks, is a proprietary language and desktop environment used for numerical computation, data analysis and visualization. R, created by statisticians Ross Ihaka and Rober Gentleman, is specifically designed for statistical computing, analysis and visualization. The official R environment is free open-source software, available under the GNU General Public License.

MATLAB appeared on Coding Dojo’s list for the first time, taking the #10 spot and moved up a spot on the TIOBE Index, going from #14 to #13. R didn’t make it onto Coding Dojo’s list of top 10 languages, it was right ahead of MATLAB on the TIOBE Index, moving up from the #13 spot in 2022 to the #12 spot in 2023.

“The rise in popularity of MATLAB is surprising because Python has libraries that can be used in place of MATLAB. MATLAB is expensive and closed-source, while Python is free and open-source,” Hungerford said.

Data-driven decision making

Today’s businesses and organizations face a variety of concerns, including inflation, global instability, supply chain disruption and sustainability concerns. To overcome these challenges, decision makers are increasingly using technologies that enable data-driven decision making and optimize their processes. It’s no wonder then that programming languages used for data science and data analysis, such as those noted above and Celonis PQL (process query language), are also growing in popularity.

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Bill Detwiler
Senior Communications Strategist and Editor Celonis Blog

Bill Detwiler is Senior Communications Strategist and Editor of the Celonis blog. He is the former Editor in Chief of TechRepublic, where he hosted the Dynamic Developer podcast and Cracking Open, CNET’s popular online show. Bill is an award-winning journalist, who’s covered the tech industry for more than two decades. Prior his career in the software industry and tech media, he was an IT professional in the social research and energy industries.

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