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O’Reilly: Python Popularity Continues

January 27, 2021

O’Reilly released findings of its annual platform analysis, identifying the most-searched technology content from O’Reilly online learning. Each year, O’Reilly gathers usage data across O’Reilly online learning, publishing partners and learning modes, live online training courses, and virtual events to provide technology leaders with an overview of key trends, tools, and topics to watch and adopt within their own businesses.

Of note, the research found Python continues to be the most popular programming language to learn, building on the growing demand from the previous year by 27%. This is a significant increase for a language that was already topping the list. While scikit-learn, Python’s machine learning (ML) library, remains a front-runner in usage with 11% year-over-year growth, the popularity of PyTorch, an ML framework used for deep learning, increased by a staggering 159%.

Additional findings from the analysis include:

While Python remains the most popular programming language, interest in other languages is increasing. JavaScript usage rose 40%, C increased 12%, and C++ is up 10%.

AI topics experienced continued growth, with AI growing 64% and ML 14%. AI/ML-related themes such as natural language processing (up 21%) have been and will remain important for the future of AI. Among ML platforms, TensorFlow maintains the lead in usage and experienced a steady rise in interest, with 6% growth from last year.

Data science (up 16%) is trending. Legacy systems like Hadoop experienced a 23% decline in interest, but usage of Spark content is nearly three times that of Hadoop. Other data tools that are on the rise include Dask (up 400%) and ​Ray​ (up 189%).

Interest in cloud-related titles continues to climb, with cloud usage, dialogues, and queries up 41% from the previous year. While AWS dominates, it only experienced a 5% increase this year. Meanwhile, content about cloud providers Microsoft Azure (up 136%) and Google Cloud (up 84%) is surging. These trends indicate that organizations are moving significant business-critical applications and datasets to the cloud.

As IT operations radically change, observability (up 128%), containers (up 99%), and Kubernetes (up 47%) all experienced significant growth. Usage of DevOps-titled content dropped by 17% in the past year, but SRE (including the term “site reliability engineering”) and operations are top of mind for developers, growing by 37% year-over-year and 25% year-over-year, respectively.

Security topics continue to show significant growth, increasing 35% from last year. This growth is partially attributed to interest in the CompTIA Security+ certification, which represents about 33% of general security usage and increased by 58%. Other trending topics in the security sector include ransomware (up 155%), zero trust (up 130%), hacking (up 16%), and ethical hacking (up 33%).

“At the rate new technology emerges, it’s important to identify the trends and tools that really impact learning among the tech practitioners themselves,” said Mike Loukides, vice president of emerging technology content at O’Reilly. “Analyzing yearly trends in technology usage while keeping tabs on what’s gaining traction helps our community stay on track to remain current and competitive in the real world. What we’re seeing within programming languages, AI/ML, data science, IT operations, and security provides a forecast on the systems and tools that will fuel innovation in 2021 and beyond.”

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