Programmers convert computer programs and applications designed by software developers into code or a set of instructions that a computer can understand and execute. Given that computers, mobile phones, and the Internet have become an indispensable part of much of modern life, it's not surprising that professionals with fluency in the top programming languages are highly sought after.
Programming can be a rewarding and stimulating career for those with aptitude, motivation, and the ability to keep learning. With the number of programming languages running into the hundreds, deciding on which languages to learn can be confusing for beginners. Once you begin writing programs of course, you will discern what is most suited to your interests, ability, and goals.
Here's a brief overview of 10 in-demand programming languages:
Widely considered one of the most user-friendly coding languages due to its simple syntax, Python is a versatile language that lends itself to a range of uses, such as back-end web development, data science and analytics, artificial intelligence, and financial services. It has many libraries of toolkits and standards and is well-integrated with C and C++.
The open-source Python-based Django framework is popular among programmers who work in back-end development. Popular sites, such as Spotify and Pinterest use Django. Many web-based start-ups use Python. (Incidentally: Python, as has been documented elsewhere is named in honor of British comedy troupe Monty Python, not the snake.)
The Python Software Foundation has some helpful advice for beginners looking to learn Python from scratch.
Java came in at number 3 on GitHub's State of the Octoverse 2020, and at number 2 on the PYPL January 2021 index. Among programmers, active Java developers number in the millions.
There are several online resources for self-study and practice, including Codecademy, LearnJavaOnline.org, and Udemy. Oracle, which owns Java, has a wealth of information about the language, makes tutorials available, and even offers a number of Java certifications.
Microsoft designed C# for developing Windows applications on its .NET framework. It is an object-oriented language used primarily for application development on Windows, as well as for building Android and iOS apps using the Xamarin platform and Linux, and 2D and 3D video games using the Unity game engine.
Derived from C, C# makes for relatively easy learning for those who are familiar with C or C++, because the syntax is similar. It is supported by Microsoft, and has an extensive code library, a range of data types, and shared codebases.
Microsoft offers details about learning resources. Tutorials are available from Tutorials Teacher, Udemy, Microsoft Virtual Academy, Tutorials Point, edX, and many other sources.
Introduced by Apple in 2014, Swift is widely used for building applications for Mac, iPhones, iPads, and the Apple watch. Designed to deliver optimum performance on the iOS platform, Swift executes code quickly, and works for both server- and client-side applications. It uses an easy-to-read syntax.
Swift came it at number 9 on the PYPL January 2012 index. Apple offers books, documentation, and courses for learning development with Swift. Details are available online.
One of the older programming languages, PHP is primarily used for developing server-side web applications. Many large enterprises build their web applications using PHP. Content-driven websites, such as Wikipedia, Facebook, and WordPress use PHP.
For details about the latest PHP releases, documentation, and downloads, visit The PHP Group. The PHP language manual is useful for those who already know how to code. Laracasts provides plenty of tips and techniques.
C++ was developed as an extension of C, one of the oldest programming languages. It is still a popular language, widely used for programming systems that power applications, and systems that can run across platforms and devices. C++ is also used for developing games, desktop applications, and some embedded devices.
C++ benefits from a large developer community that works toward updating the language, contributing numerous libraries and compilers. C++ comes in at number 5 on the PYPL January 2021 index, and number 7 on State of the Octoverse 2020.
C++ uses complicated syntax and is feature-heavy. It's not an easy language for beginners to master. Standard C++ Foundation provides lots of helpful information. Tutorials are available from Cplusplus, Udemy, Google, Programming Tutorials, LearnCPP, and other sources.
Ruby is used mainly for back-end web development. The Ruby-on-Rails framework, which is used by Airbnb, Twitter, GitHub, Shopify, and other start-ups, is based on Ruby. Ruby is fairly easy for beginners to learn. It uses simple syntax and is supported by a friendly and helpful community.
There are numerous tools and frameworks for learners to work with. There are plenty of online resources for beginners. Popular sites include Try Ruby, The Ruby on Rails Tutorial, Rails for Zombies, Ruby Koans, Codecademy, and Learning Ruby.
Go is an open-source language that was developed by Google for smooth, reliable, and secure systems programming. It is used for building web servers, applications that handle very large data volumes, and machine learning software. Go is increasingly being used for cloud-based applications. Besides Google, Netflix and Uber use Go for some applications.
Go uses simple syntax and is supported by comprehensive documentation and a large library. According to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 9.4 percent of professional developers who responded said they used Go over the past year, making it the 12th-most commonly used language among professionals who participated in the survey.
The Go Project provides documentation, instructions for installing Go, and tutorials.
Not yet 6 years old, Rust is fast becoming popular among developers. According to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Rust was the most loved programming language among the professional developers who responded.
Developed by Mozilla Corporation, Rust is designed for systems programming. It enables secure coding and is intended to deliver fast and secure systems operations. Besides systems programming, Rust is being used for developing software for embedded devices.
The Rust Team provides documentation, advice on getting started, and other helpful information.
Hone your skills
Other languages that are in demand include TypeScript, Kotlin, R, Dart, MATLAB, and Scala.
Practice is the best way to learn programming, so start building applications. There are lots of online resources and communities that offer learning materials, tips, and support.