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Python Bumps Off Java as Top Learning Language

By IDG News Service

July 9, 2014

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Python has surpassed Java as the top language used to introduce U.S. students to programming and computer science, according to a new survey published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Python is the most popular language for teaching introductory computer science courses, as eight of the top 10 computer science departments now use Python, in addition to 27 of the top 39 schools, according to Philip Guo, a computer science researcher who compiled the survey for ACM. In addition, Coursera, edX, and Udacity, the three most popular online class providers, also offer introductory programming courses in Python.

Python has several qualities that make it a good candidate for universities. For example, Python has a simpler syntax than Java or C++, which enables novices to start writing programs almost immediately, and it can be scaled up for heavy industrial use.

Another popular language for teaching programming is MatLab, a mathematically-oriented language often used to introduce scientists and engineers to programming.

Java has been the most popular language for teaching programming to students for at least the past 10 years, and Guo notes the survey is the first to show Python has passed Java in popularity.

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