9 Best Programming Languages To Learn

The Internet, or more precisely, the World Wide Web (WWW), is an evolving entity – there was a time when knowing HTML was enough to create a website. Then comes the CSS, which made customizing and applying design elements to your website easy. Today, Web development in the USA or anywhere else has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

A web design and development company in the USA can charge you a significant sum of money to create your website because, unlike the good old days, it is no longer easy to develop for the web.

Web development is no longer as simple as building a website; it encompasses various technologies, including static web apps, progressive web apps (PWA), mobile apps, etc. Static websites are relics of the past; now, everyone wants a dynamic website to respond to user interactions. To build such a website, you will need to use more than just HTML and CSS.

Whether you are developing strictly for the web or want to try your hand at mobile development, the most challenging part is deciding where to begin. You can find hundreds of programming languages in everyday use, each with its complexities and idiosyncrasies.

Each programming language can help you accomplish a different task. Some languages are better for front-end development, while others can help you make a robust back-end. Below are some of the most in-demand and best programming languages for various use cases, including web development, game development, and mobile development.

JavaScript

A developer can’t get by without learning JavaScript. They have to use it in some way in most of their projects. According to Stack Overflow’s survey (2019 Developer Survey), JavaScript is among the most popular language among developers for the 7th consecutive year. Nearly 70% of the respondents reported using JavaScript in some capacity in the past year.

In addition to HTML and CSS, JavaScript is an essential language for front-end web development. Most famous sites, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Gmail, rely on JavaScript to create interactive web pages that dynamically display the content.

JavaScript is primarily a front-end language that runs on the browser. You can use this language on the server-side via Node.js. Node.js is a form of JavaScript compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS that you can use to build scalable network applications.

JavaScript has a flexible syntax that works across all major browsers and is the most easy-to-work-with language for beginners. It makes JavaScript the most friendly language to get started.

Swift

If you want to develop your apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, you need to learn Swift. It is a programming language developed by Apple for all its products. In 2014 Apple announced Swift as a unified language that a developer can use for creating apps for all the available Apple products.

Apple has built Swift from the ground up to match the realities of its operating systems. It makes it the most useful language if you want to make your app available to a large user base.

Learning Swift can also be the most profitable language to learn because Apple is not going anywhere as a tech industry leader, and iOS and iPad OS will be dominating the mobile market in the foreseeable future.

However, one limitation to developing for iOS or Mac OS is that you will need a Mac OS device to develop the apps. So, if you don’t already own a Mac or MacBook and not willing to buy one, learning Swift will not benefit you.

Scala

If you have worked with Java, Scala is worth checking out. This language use Java-Virtual-Machine (JVM) runtime environment. Scala contains the best features of Java with a modern twist.

Scala is a functional programming language that allows developers to elevate their code quality to resemble pure math. This language lets the developers execute complex procedures in parallel. Additionally, it is also a strongly typed language, which means developers can create custom data types. This flexibility with data types provides them with peace of mind by significantly reducing the possibility of encountering bugs at runtime.

Go

Go is one of the core languages supported by Google. It is a relatively small language with great potential. As a low-level language, it is ideal for developers wanting to break into systems programming. Go has many C and C++ functionalities sans the convoluted syntax and the steep learning curve.

Go is perfect for developing web servers, data pipelines, and machine-learning packages. As a compiled language, it runs close to the hardware allowing for a fast runtime.

It is also an open-source language, which means you can contribute to Go’s development and see your contributions get adopted by programmers worldwide.

Python

Python is arguably the most user-friendly programming language out there. Developers often say that Python’s syntax is intuitive and straightforward, almost like English, making it a popular choice for beginners.

Like more popular languages, such as Java, Python has plenty of applications that make it a powerful and versatile option as a programming language for almost any use case. People interested in doing back-end development can use the Django framework written in Python. It is an easy-to-learn and feature-rich tool that popular companies have used to develop websites like Mozilla, Spotify, and Instagram.

Python has a rich collection of packages, including SciPy and NumPy, that helps in mathematics, scientific computing, and engineering. Libraries like OpenCV, PyTorch, TensorFlow, and sci-kit-learn help create machine learning programs, computer vision, image processing, and data science.

Python’s vast and robust collection of data and science libraries makes it an excellent choice for the academically inclined.

Elm

Elm is a relatively young programming language that began as a Harvard student’s thesis. For its modest beginnings, it has grown into a passion language for front-end developers worldwide.

It compiles to JavaScript, making this language ideal for creating fast-executing UIs with virtually zero runtime errors. Elm is a functional programming language that lets developers develop user-interfaces without the constraints of HTML and CSS.

Ruby

Ruby is a robust scripting language commonly used for web development. As it is evident by the name, Ruby is also the basis for the popular web application framework, Ruby on Rails.

This language is often the go-to option for beginners because of its reputation and the most friendly community. Ruby community has an unofficial saying that goes like this, “Matz is nice, and so are we,” attributing to the kind and considerate behavior of Ruby’s chief inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto.

In addition to the helpful and active community, Ruby’s syntax is also very straightforward. Ruby is an excellent language to puck up due to its association with big tech brands, including Twitter, Airbnb, Shopify, Bloomberg, and countless others. Various startups, at some point, have used Ruby on Rails to build their websites.

C#

Pronounced C Sharp, C# is, like C++, a general-purpose and object-oriented language that builds on the foundation of C. Microsoft Originally designed C# as a component of its .NET framework for creating Windows applications. It can be a perfect choice for a beginner who wants to try their hands at developing apps for the most popular desktop and laptop operating system.

C# use syntax similar to other C-derived languages like C++, so it is easy to get started if you have any prior exposure to C family languages. It is not only the language for Microsoft app development, but it is also the tool that mobile developers use to build cross-platform apps on the Xamarin platform.

Apart from that, if you are interested in VR development, learning C# will significantly help. It is the recommended language for creating 2D and 3D video games using the popular game engine Unity, which produces one-third of the top games in the market available right now.

Rust

Rust is not as revered language as others. Still, it is a valuable one to learn. A Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey shows that Rust is the most loved programming language among developers for the 4th year in a row. 83.5% of Rust developers said that they want to continue creating new projects in Rust.

Rust is the language developed by Mozilla Corporation and, like C and C++, is focused on low-level system programming. Rust brings to the table the emphasis on security and speed. It promotes writing safe code by preventing the programs from accessing memory locations that they shouldn’t – the areas, if interfered with, can cause unexpected behavior and system crashes.

Apart from its safe approach, Rust also has a significant advantage as other big tech companies, including Coursera and Dropbox, already started using it internally. While Rust is not as easy to get started with as other languages, its skills are likely to pay off handsomely, as Rust’s popularity will only continue to increase in the coming times.

Takeaway

When deciding to learn a programming language, it is essential not to get caught up in the trends and popularity contests. Often the best programming languages are the ones that people are using for quite a while. Meaning, the best language to learn in 2020 is the same as in 2019 and 2018. This statement will be valid for the next few years because the development industry will take some time to adapt to new programming languages if they appear on the scene.

While the computer programming field changes rapidly, the languages that hold sway right now are here to stay for a while. If you learn one or more of these programming languages, you will be in an advantageous position for the years to come.

Whit that said, it is essential to understand the going after new and less popular languages that might have great potential is not a bad idea. However, if, as a beginner, you choose a language that is not mainstream, you will have a difficult time finding ample opportunities to put your knowledge and skills to use.

Any beginner should start with something easy and more mainstream, and along the way, they can pick up the latest and greatest the world has to offer.

From what we have discussed about programming languages so far, here are the most popular and mainstream programming languages divided as per the category of development you want to try your hands at:

  • Front-end web development – JavaScript
  • Back-end web development – PHP, Python, JavaScript
  • Mobile Development – Java, C#, Swift
  • Game Development – C#, C++
  • Desktop applications – C++, Java, Python
  • System programming – C, Rust

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