Ever wonder how big the .NET and Python communities are?

Do you ever wonder how big .NET and Python communities are? I’m working on an article about Python and .NET and this comparison definately came to mind. So I did some research on meetup.com.

I chose seven locations:

  1. Chicago, IL
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. New York, NY
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Portland, OR
  6. San Francisco, CA
  7. Silicon Valley, CA

And did a search for meetups on .NET and on Python. Here is a graph of the results:

Relative size of python and ,net communities via user groups.
[click image to enlarge]

There are definitely locations where .NET is more popular. LA has 1,292 .NET devs vs 918 Python devs.  Chicago has 588 .NET devs vs 266 Python devs. But the general trend is Python significantly outpacing .NET. San Francisco has 3,820 Python devs vs 1010 .NET devs. New York has a whopping 4,503 Python devs vs 1,116 .NET devs!

In my home town of Portland, OR we have 1,146 Python devs. I don’t have any data on .NET, sorry that is missing. But Portland is notable that because we have a larger Python community than LA, Chicago, and Seattle even though all three are much larger than Portland and LA is over 4 times as populous.

Finally, it probably won’t surprise you that Python is more popular in Silicon Valley. But it is kind of shocking to see it 28 times more popular.

You can download the spreadsheet I used to make this graph and tweak it with your own data if you wish:

python vs dotnet size.xlsx


  • I reckon this difference is due to the costs of developing apps in one language vs. the other: Python apps can be developed for free using Linux and IDEs like Aptana, Ninja IDE, etc., while developing .NET apps under Windows using Visual Studio (the only sane alternative IMHO) will cost you quite a lot. Yes, you can always try Linux, Mono and Xamarin Studio, but they’re difficult to work together, at best.

  • @Bogdan: The thing about Python is that you can develop on and develop for Windows, Linux and MacOS. Unlike .NET that forces you to be on Windows all the time. And devs usually don’t like Windows as a dev environment.
    And yes, the fact that you actually have to pay for Visual Studio is a downside, since it doesn’t offer you much more that the other IDEs.. actually, it offeres you a lot less since it’s only .NET oriented. vim is the only IDE you need :P

  • There is a certain bias here in the Python is a language that is used “for fun” (and professionally, of course) where .NET is used primarily professionally. For example, I am paid as a Java developer, but I am much more likely to attend a Python meetup or conference. So by this measure, I would not show up as part of the Java community in my area.

    I expect that similarly, each of these cities actually has more actual jobs in .NET.

  • I would have to agree with Eric Wilson. Also there’s no way you can compare a text editor like Vim with a full fledged IDE like Visual Studio. There’s no other IDE that comes close to it (not even Eclipse) and it does provide tooling to work with IronPython (http://ironpython.net/). Also you can get express editions of Visual Studio for free and if you’re more serious about using it for development there are programs that provide simple licensing terms and fees. (BizSpark)

    Python is an interesting language, as well as its community but it can’t be directly compared to .NET for many reasons. There’s a strong bias towards non-Microsoft technologies in Silicon Valley since it’s trendy to hate them among developers.

  • Also that dynamic languages have been considered cutting edge (trendy?) for the last few years; I notice that (roughly) the more “progressive” the location (in my perception) the greater the proportion of Python users. However, I am very aware as a .NET developer that .NET is loosing ground: where job sites used to offer similar numbers of jobs in Java and C# (in the UK at least), a rough guess is that they now offer 3x as many Java jobs.

    I’d be interested to know what proportion of Python developers use Python on the .NET platform, but can’t think of a way to get an indication. You could probably give an idea, from your experience?

  • Out of curiosity, I checked the Boston Python group numbers – it larger than any on your graph – weighing in at 4,625 members. http://www.meetup.com/bostonpython/ I don’t know how to compare the number of Boston-area .NET community members though since there is only 1 Boston-area Python group I know of, but many groups focused in whole or in part on .NET.

    • Hey Bill. Yes, that problem exists in both languages. For example, .NET has pure .NET, Azure, etc. Python has Python, but also PyLadies, Django, Twisted, etc. The best I could go for was ‘pure .NET’ vs. ‘pure Python’, assuming that’s the broadest of both groups.

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