Hundreds of programming languages exist, each with its applications and capabilities. Whether their first language or a skill expansion, programmers must be strategic and discerning when deciding which ones to learn. Today, we plan to guide you in the right direction by sharing the seven most in-demand programming languages to learn.
What Is a Programming Language?
In a nutshell, a programming language is an artificial language that can be used to instruct digital devices to behave a certain way. Like human languages, each programming language has its vocabulary, syntax and other linguistic rules.
We can associate programming with both hardware and software. However, the rise in popularity of programming languages is due mainly to their applications in web or mobile platforms and data science. Experts predict that this meteoric rise will continue as our world further digitizes.
Top 7 at a Glance
It is never too late to get into a promising programming career. Seven of the most popular programming languages below have been handpicked for their growing number of their users and application support.
The Best In-Demand Programming Languages
- Ideal for websites, web servers, interactive and dynamic web applications, mobile apps and games
- Easy to learn even with no previous coding experience
- Packs a lot of features and versatility
- Used by premium platforms, apps and games such as Facebook, Netflix and Angry Birds
- Needs extra attention when it comes to ensuring client-side security
Python also has a rich history, having been developed in 1991. Amidst hundreds of more modern languages, Python remains in high demand, elegantly combining simplicity with incredibly complex capabilities.
An open-source, higher-level language, Python has a syntax that closely mimics English. Thus, it is easy to understand even for beginners with no previous background in programming languages. But do not underestimate Python’s functions and capabilities. It can be used for leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, particularly in developing deep-learning applications.
Various Python GUI frameworks help mobile application developers make it work natively on iOS and Android. Hence, even if it’s an interpreter-type language with many object-oriented and interactive qualities that digital devices don’t usually run, you’ll still be able to integrate it seamlessly.
In terms of salary, an entry-level Python programmer makes around $80,000 annually. Meanwhile, a yearly salary for a more experienced programmer can go up to $172,500.
As for its flaws, there are usually two main concerns. First, Python is notably slower compared to other programming languages. Second, it is known to consume a lot of memory. Hence, memory management can be a concern if you’re developing something that requires memory optimization.
- Ideal for website development, AI, machine learning and big data
- Relatively easy to learn
- Open-source with a very supportive community
- Used by premium platforms such as Reddit, Pinterest and Instagram
- Requires a GUI framework for mobile application development
- Has less speed compared to others
- Takes up a lot of memory
There’s an ongoing debate on whether HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, is a programming language or not. The same applies to Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. Many point out that its label as a “markup language” proves it’s not a programming language. On the other hand, sources like UC Berkeley recognize it as one.
For this line-up, we define HTML as a general-purpose programming language typically used to format how information is displayed on a website. Indeed, it differs from the more powerful programming languages that most budding software developers expect. It’s a bit feature-anemic. Still, it’s one of the most beloved and popular languages that even non-coders often use.
HTML is not a very demanding language to learn, but it can still give HTML developers annual average salaries ranging from $65,000 to $100,000.
- Great for website development, website maintenance and mobile apps
- Not a demanding language to learn
- Used as a building block for 90% of all websites
- A bit feature anemic
Ruby was originally released to the public in 1995, but it didn’t turn into a much-loved programming language until 2006. Today, it is one of the most in-demand languages around the world. An open-source language, Ruby is constantly growing and developing and supported by a vibrant community of dedicated coders.
This programming language is highly portable, versatile and widely used for back-end development – web server creation, web scraping, automation and data processing. However, Ruby can be used for front-end development, much like the other mainstream programming languages. For instance, the language is commonly used for web and mobile app development.
In terms of salary, Ruby programmers get decent pay. Their average yearly salary can range between $35,000 and $138,000. Meanwhile, the annual salaries of more experienced coders can go as high as $175,000. No wonder so many budding coders choose it as their primary programming language.
You should be aware of a few cons to using Ruby.
First, it’s not suitable for deep learning. It might not prove helpful for those looking for a machine language learning solution, either. Finally, its flexibility can make it difficult to debug.
- Useful for both back-end and front-end development
- Often used for websites and mobile app development
- Open-source with a very supportive community
- Used by premium platforms such as Airbnb, Basecamp, GitHub and SoundCloud
- Can’t be used to code AI and machine learning apps
- Can be difficult to debug
SQL – Structured Query Language – is our next language on the list. It’s a powerful, higher-level language designed to access, use and manipulate databases. With SQL, you can address every aspect of database operations, from retrieving new data, creating and updating records, and even setting permissions. However, SQL will require a translator to make it functional for a low-level operating system.
Those planning to start a career in programming with SQL as their primary programming language can expect a salary between $30,000 and $120,000.
Be warned, though. It’s a complicated programming language to navigate through. Since it’s not an open-source language, some of its versions can be quite costly too.
- Mainly used for accessing, using and manipulating databases
- Useful for business intelligence and business management tools
- Easily handles large volumes of data
- Used by companies such as Accenture, Microsoft and LinkedIn for data analysis and management
- Will require a translator for low-level operating systems
- A more complicated programming language compared to others
- Can be a bit expensive
PHP, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, is an open-source language much like other mainstream programming languages featured in this line-up. It has an extensive library of assets and resources courtesy of a supportive online community of developers.
PHP is typically used to develop web servers and embedded systems within HTML. Aside from that, this language can be used for deep learning and machine learning, web and mobile app development and other complex projects … as long as you use the right libraries!
Unfortunately, despite its varied functions and applications, PHP is sometimes regarded as the lowest-paid fully-fledged programming language. That’s reflected in the low, average salary of experienced PHP programmers, which may not exceed $40,000.
- Great for web server development, web and mobile application development, machine learning and data encryption
- Open-source with a very supportive community
- Can run on various platforms and operating systems
- Used by premium platforms such as Wikipedia, Slack, Flickr and Lyft
- Annual salaries of experienced programmers are disproportionately low
Finally, we simply can’t end the list without featuring the king of hyped languages. Having been developed in 1972, C has the longest history and staying power among the mainstream programming languages in our list. This is because C is a powerful and excellent language you can use for almost anything. It can create operating systems, dynamic web applications, mobile platforms and various types of applications.
While it’s not necessarily a machine language, C can still be used to implement machine learning algorithms. With its support of business applications, it’s no surprise how in-demand C continues to be.
The yearly salary of a C programmer is pretty impressive as well, ranging from a low $17,000 to a staggering $400,000 (sometimes even more!).
However, even C isn’t perfect. It still has a couple of disadvantages. First, it can be a complicated language to learn. However, a background in coding will help with the learning curve. Second, debugging in C can be a pain, since there’s no way to check for errors for each line of code. In addition, it lacks exception handling, which further complicates catching anomalies within your code.
- Ideal for developing operating systems, web and mobile applications and different types of applications
- Considered one of the highest-paying programming languages
- Has an expansive range of functionalities
- Used by the biggest tech companies, such as Microsoft, Mac and Linux
- Challenging to learn, especially for beginners
- Weak error management features
Which Programming Language Will be in High Demand in the Future?
Erlang, for instance, is an excellent language for developing communication apps. Meanwhile, Flowgorithm is a free language for anyone who wants to code a flowchart maker. The fact is, you’ll never see every language featured on a “top list” because there are simply too many!
Staying On Top of Your Programming Game
It’s never too late nor too early to jumpstart your career as a programmer. By learning any programming languages listed above, you’ll prepare yourself to land one of those high-paying programmer positions you’re shooting for. Good luck!
- Top 7 In-Demand Programming Languages - September 27, 2022