Technology

Python Outranks Java As The 2nd Most Popular Language On GitHub

It’s that time of year again when GitHub releases its annual Octoverse report and gives us a glimpse of the current state of the developer community and their preferences on the largest repository platform.

According to the report, for the first time, Python has outranked Java as the second most popular language on GitHub by repository contributors.

Between October 2018 to 2019, developers collaborated in more than 370 primary languages on GitHub. Out of which, JavaScript continues to dominate the platform with the first position, whereas Python acquired the second position by pushing Java to the third place.


Octoverse19_top_lang_over_time
Image: GitHub Octoverse 2019

Data Science fueling the growth of Python programming language

Until recently, GitHub was traditionally the base for software developers, however, the coding community is evolving. One of the biggest factors behind Python’s growth is a “speedily-expanding community of data science professionals and hobbyists — and the tools and frameworks they use every day.

Right now there are several core data science packages powered by Python on GitHub that are not only helping more users to join the data science field and but also proving foundational to projects in academia and companies alike.

Apart from Python, repositories with topics like “deep learning”, “natural language processing”, and “machine learning” have gained popularity over the years in the data science community.

According to GitHub, out of the most popular (based on star counts) public repositories labeled with these topics, more than 50% are built on numpy. Whereas many of them utilize scipy, scikit-learn, and TensorFlow.

There is also an increase in non-code contributions from the data science field, including academic papers since last year.

Other noteworthy conclusions from GitHub’s Octoverse reports on Data Science and Python-related repositories are:

  • Growth of Jupyter Notebooks, 2016-2019: In the last three years, the use of Jupyter Notebooks (by the count of repositories with Jupyter as their primary language) has seen more than 100% growth year-over-year for the last three years
  • Growth of natural language processing repositories, 2016-2019: Natural language processing (NLP) is another important area of data science picking up steam on GitHub, as packages like NTLK lower the barrier to entry for NLP work.

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