UX Design 19 min read
35 Best Programming Languages You Should Start Learning Today
- 26 Jul 2019 11 min read
Thanks to the advancement of technology in this era, programming has undoubtedly become an in-demand skill today. With programming jobs growing 12% faster than the market average, US News reported that being a software developer—which requires extensive skills in either Web development or mobile app development—is the best job in America with a high salary and low unemployment rate. Programming sure sounds lucrative, doesn’t it?
In case you want to give programming a try or use it for a future project. The good news is you can quickly learn if you are focused and dedicated. But the question is, which programming language should you try first?
How to choose the right programming language?
Before you choose among the most popular programming languages on the list below, it’s essential to know how to choose the right one for you.
Different programming languages have advantages and disadvantages. But to better understand the differences, let us first classify these programming languages.
Low-level languages directly communicate to the computer processor unit (CPU) to perform basic to complex commands. The syntax of this class of language is generally hard to read, write, and remember since it uses non-English words as codes.
High-level languages, on the other hand, uses human language (most common in English) rather than machine languages; so it’s easier for programmers to read and write codes. This language is then converted using a compiler to translate high-level language into the machine-readable low-level code.
The programming languages in demand this year are generally used for most of the applications and websites you see today. As such, we will focus on high-level languages on this list. Here are just a few of the top programming languages you can learn and use:
Top Web Programming Languages
Top Mobile App Programming Languages
Top Embedded Systems Programming Languages
- Visual Basic
- Assembly Language
- Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP)
Web Programming Languages
Web Applications Programming refers to the coding involved in Web development. It includes Web content, client, and server-side scripting as well as network security.
Here are some of the popular programming languages:
This is the most basic programming language anybody can start with. HTML or HyperText Markup Language is the standard markup language for documents designed to be displayed in a web browser. HTML is used to describe content—may it be writing, links, pictures, sounds, and video—so the web browser can display them correctly. Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), there have been several versions of the language, but the most recent standard is dubbed as HTML 5 since September 2018.
Getting PHP up and running is relatively easy, making it one of the best programming languages to start with. Besides, beginners may find it easy to learn PHP thanks to its large community. Even veteran PHP coders can seek advice from the community on how to do things.
PHP code, on the other hand, is prone to spaghetti coding, or—in Layman’s terms—messy. This, however, can be easily cleaned up with the help of an Integrated Development Environment such as Sublime Text Editor. Without that, PHP lacks debugging tools, making it hard to fix common programming errors.
Python is a general-purpose, object-oriented, high-level programming language. Aside from its easy-to-learn and straightforward syntax, Python boasts of a fast edit-test-debug cycle. And, like PHP, Python is also free to use.
The great thing about Python is that it's open-source; thus, it offers a wide range of libraries for programmers to use. The downside here is that it's not native to a mobile environment, as Android and iOS don't support it as an official programming language.
Currently, Python is one of the most popular programming languages to use for Big Data processing and analysis. Aside from that, Python is one of the preferred languages for creating AI or machine learning-based web & mobile apps.
6. Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails (RoR) is an open-source, server-side Web-applications framework. Built on the Ruby programming language, it is used to create database-backed Web applications. Ruby on Rails, like most programming language frameworks, uses the model-view-controller (MVC) concept. This concept is a useful pattern for developers to reuse the object code and pattern to reduce application development with user interfaces (UI).
RoR has been around for a long time; hence, its community has been very active in fixing bugs and updating fresh releases. Resources to learn this programming language are also abundant. One of the frequent problems with RoR is its slow runtime speed. Its flexibility has also been an issue because it has a lot of hard dependencies and modules included in its default settings.
Crystal is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming (OOP) language. Its syntax is heavily inspired by Ruby’s, giving developers some familiarity. Crystal bridges the gap between C and Ruby with its clean, readable code, and lightning speed.
Ever wondered how Internet games and applications were made back in the day? The OOP language ActionScript was specifically designed for Website animation. Although the advent of CSS3 and HTML5 slightly pushed ActionScript in the background, it’s still one of the most popular scripting languages, especially if you want an animated website.
Built to rival Sun’s Java, the OOP language C# had XML-based Web services on the .NET platform. It’s designed to make developing solutions faster and easier for COM+ and Web services, making it a great programming language to learn for Web development.
Go, or more commonly known as GoLang, is an open-source programming language designed at Google. It’s concise, simple, and can compile fast. There are many ways GoLang can be used, such as for network and Web apps as well as a standalone command-line application.
With over 30 years of development, PERL is a highly capable, feature-rich language that can support object-oriented, procedural, and functional programming. Because it's been around for a while, it has a lot of resources that allow it to be easily extendable to its 25,000++ open source modules. PERL also has the proprietary tools that make it ideal for HTML, XML, and all other mark-up languages needed for Web development.
Want to teach your child to code? Scratch is a programming language that’s aimed at children 8 to 16 years old. Programmers can use this free online platform and create games, stories, and animations using blocks.
Mobile App Programming Languages
Mobile Applications Programming is the process of programming for small, wireless computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Although it may be based on traditional programming languages, the difference lies in the unique features of mobile development, such as touchscreen, accelerometer, gyroscope, among others.
Swift is a programming language used to create apps for the iOS operating system. It offers developers an easy to read and maintain the coding system.
The syntax of swift encourages programmers to write clean and consistent code. It may feel a little bit strict at times, but it improves readability and reduces mistakes. Swift is considered unstable for now, due to significant changes that come with new releases and problems of the lack of backward compatibility.
For mobile app developers, Kotlin is a programming language that can be used for the Android operating system. It can be used with a bunch of integrated development environment (IDEs) such as Android Studio, Eclipse, and even a standalone compiler.
It’s known to be interoperable with Java code, allowing code written in Kotlin to work in Java and vice-versa.
Used by programmers to write software for iOS operating systems, Objective-C is an OOP, general-purpose language. It’s one of the more popular programming languages if you want to create applications for Apple/Mac devices.
16. Java - Android
Java is the most widely used programming language for android application development. It is also the most recommended to use because the mobile operating system of Android is built using Java. To start with the development, you can use IDEs such as Android Studio and Eclipse. There are also many libraries written in Java that you can use as a basis or reference, or to integrate into your android projects.
18. React Native
Flutter is Google's open-source native mobile application development framework. Using this framework, developers can create apps for Android and iOS systems. It boasts a flexible user-interface that allows for full customization helping it achieve fast rendering of projects.
Embedded Systems Programming Languages
In essence, an embedded system is a system with a dedicated function within an extensive mechanical or electrical system. It is also defined as computing systems without a keyboard, display, or mouse. A camera, toaster, or even mobile phones are good examples of an embedded system.
MATLAB is a powerful language and interactive environment for developing algorithms, analyzing and visualizing data, and performing numerical computations. It provides the features of a traditional programming language while having tools to build a graphical user interface (GUI). Moreover, MATLAB also allows programmers to create scripts to help automate work. It’s an excellent tool for creating the GUI of an app.
One of the good things about MATLAB is its comprehensive documentation, making it easy for newbie programmers to learn it. It also has one of the richest libraries available. Sadly, the toolbox isn’t as updated as it should be and may use a lot of computer memory when running heavy simulations.
Java is a general-purpose programming language that follows a class-based, object-oriented programming paradigm. It's one of the most versatile programming languages, as it can be written and run on different operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX machines without any modification. It can be used for desktop, mobile, Web, and enterprise applications.
Because Java is object-oriented programming (OOP), it allows you to group variables and functions by context, making the code more organized and easier to call. It is, however, less compact, as the code uses too many words.
One of the most popular frameworks in Java is Springboot. With many use cases, Springboot boasts many advantages, such as significantly reducing Development, Unit Test, and Integration Test time. Plus it eases the development of Production-ready web applications compared to the existing Spring Framework.
SAS is mainly used for statistical analysis and data management. Programmers can easily scrape data off text files and Web pages and store them in a database. Knowing this programming language is essential for programmers planning to build large-scale projects, whether it’s for mobile or Web platforms.
Loosely based on Java, Groovy offers a faster and simpler way to code—thanks to its concise and easy-to-learn syntax. This programming language can easily integrate itself with any Java platform and third-party libraries. Programming in Groovy is much faster than Java. The newer language still has to rely on Java's libraries; this means it can't wholly replace Java yet.
Julia is a relatively new open source functional programming language released in 2012. The source code can be viewed on GitHub. It boasts of speed, ease of use, and sustainability for big-data applications. It could well be on its way to becoming one of the top 10 programming languages of the future, thanks to its quick rise with 3.2-million downloads in January 2019, enjoying a 78 percent growth.
This programming language is said to compile faster than interpreted languages; but because it’s relatively new, there aren’t as many libraries available yet.
Rust is one of the relatively new programming languages that is challenging old-timers such as C or C++. It’s reliable, fast, and memory-efficient enough that it can outperform other programming languages. It’s a flexible open-source language that can be used for general purposes such as Web development and even for devices.
26. Visual Basic
First released in 1987, Visual Basic was made by Microsoft. It’s a programming environment wherein a programmer uses a GUI to choose and modify code written in the BASIC programming language. Today, it’s still one of the most powerful programming languages available, as it can create software, mobile apps, and websites.
27. Assembly language
Assembly language is a low-level programming language used to communicate the code to machines or devices. It’s used for direct machine manipulation and low-level embedded systems, among others. It is also possible to create mobile programs using Assembly language with the help of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK).
28. Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP)
ABAP is a high-level programming language that runs on SAP ABAP runtime environment. It’s used for building solid-state business applications in the SAP runtime environment. Since it uses SAP code, it can conveniently be used to develop scalable mobile applications/technologies.
C is a machine-independent, structured programming language. It can be used to create operating systems and other complex programs such as Oracle database and Git. C is so powerful that its programmers can even develop smartphone applications as well as websites.
This programming language is an extension of C, thanks to the additional classes included such as virtual functions, templates, and operator overloading. It’s a general-purpose OOP language that can be used for system/application software, drivers, and client-server applications, as well as embedded software.
R is a free open source programming language used mainly in data science. It is capable of machine learning, which is useful for automation and makes predictions possible. It’s also known for its data-handling and GUI capabilities perfect for crunching numbers and storing information in a database of your website or mobile app.
Scala is a high-level, object-oriented, functional programming language, making it a beautiful general-purpose programming language. It provides interoperability with Java so that it understands both languages and can run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Scala boasts of code complexity optimization and a concise notation.
Shell is a special-user program that helps connect the user with an interface and the operating system. In essence, it is the one responsible for executing commands read from input devices such as a keyboard or a mouse. It is designed to be run or executed by the Unix Shell, also known as the command line. Programmers typically use this to automate code compile process, which saves them time from writing long, repetitive codes.
Apex is a proprietary language developed by Salesforce.com. It's an OOP language that has a similar syntax to Java. It runs entirely on the Force.com platform.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is designed for managing data. SQL statements are used to generate queries to store, edit, delete, or call data from within a database. This can be used in various types of programming and languages.
Technology has come a long way with all these programming languages available for you to learn and earn from. We hope this list of the top programming languages will help you know which path to take as you begin your journey as a programmer.