The 10 Best Programming Languages to Learn

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With technology steadily becoming an integrated part of our lives, careers in programming are on the rise. As the backbone to every software, website and application out there, being proficient in a programming language is a skill that can open doors to numerous career opportunities for you.

If you’re new to the world of software development, or if you’re a seasoned programmer and you want to add another programming language under your belt, you’ve come to the right place!

We’ve compiled a list of the best programming languages to learn for web, mobile and game development.

Let’s dive in then, shall we?

1. Java

Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult

Available jobs: 65,400

Average salary: $89,000

Java is the golden ticket to the world of software development. Indeed, since its emergence nearly 25 years ago, it has made a significant impact on the programming world.

And it’s easy to see how: Java is used for everything from web-based applications like Google Docs to games on mobile phones, as well as for developing websites and even processing credit card payments. To add further to its appeal, Java follows a simple syntactic structure, meaning it’s quite easy to learn.

Not only that but it also regularly appears in the top spot of TIOBE Index’s monthly list of the most popular programming languages. And it’s the second most popular language used at some of the biggest companies in the world, including Airbnb, SpaceX and WeWork. In other words, learning Java will do nothing but make you an attractive candidate for virtually any development-based job you set your heart on.

2. JavaScript

Difficulty level: Moderate

Available jobs: 30,850

Average salary: $80,000

JavaScript managed to secure a spot for itself among the top three programming languages on this list, largely because of its unyielding popularity among software developers, this frontend programming language is used to create interactive applications and website interfaces.

Its compatibility with major browsers and other programming languages make it an essential language for frontend development, while its expanding playing field in backend development and game development make it more relevant than ever before!

JavaScript is an essential part of your toolkit as a software developer, and it’s often recommended that it’s learned alongside Java, as one complements the other.

3. Python

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Available jobs: 56,400

Average salary: $90,000

Python’s versatile nature makes it a jack-of-all-trades in the programming world. Like Java, Python uses English-like syntax, meaning you’ll find it much easier to learn and understand.

Although it’s widely used to develop website backends, including those of Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, Python is also used in scientific computing, machine learning and engineering. Meanwhile, its increasing popularity among startups means endless job opportunities for you.

4. Rust

Difficulty level: Difficult

Available jobs: 100

Average salary: $86,000

Although relatively new in the field, Rust has managed to win over a lot of developers’ hearts. While its syntax shares similarities with C++ (coming up later), Rust is a much more user-friendly and innovative alternative. This probably explains why it was voted the most loved programming language three years in a row.

With a user base that has been steadily growing, Rust is becoming a strong competitor for other programming languages. And although it’s mainly used for general system development, its versatility makes it compatible with many different areas, including game and web development. As a result, Rust has become a real asset for the open-source software community.

5. C#

Difficulty level: Moderate

Available jobs: 58,600

Average salary: $81,000

C# is another great addition to the list. Developed by Microsoft back in 2000, this modern programming language has evolved significantly over time.  

Although it’s mainly used for game development for PCs and consoles, C# is also a popular choice for creating websites, apps and virtual reality. Its versatility means it can be used in virtually any project, which is why it is favoured by so many people.

Despite its sophisticated functions, the language itself is beginner-friendly, which is why more and more new developers are learning it. In some respects, C# resembles both Java and C++, but unlike its distant cousin C++, you’ll find that learning C# is a breeze.

6. Swift

Difficulty level: Moderate to difficult

Available jobs: 1,900

Average salary: $95,000

As the brainchild of Apple Inc., you could say that Swift is the cool kid at the back of the programming languages bus.

Created for iOS software development, Apple aimed to create an easy language that’s fun to use. Indeed, its English-like syntax requires less code, which makes learning it a painless task for newbies and experienced programmers alike.

If developing native iOS and macOS apps sounds like the dream job to you, learning Swift is a logical step. And with iOS device demand on the rise, you definitely won’t be short of project opportunities!

7. Kotlin

Difficulty level: Moderate

Available jobs: 1,000

Average salary: $100,000

Since its emergence in 2011, Kotlin has conquered many areas in the open-source community. Indeed, companies like Netflix, Uber and Pinterest are all using Kotlin within their systems.

However, Kotlin’s most significant achievement came about in 2017, when Google announced that it’s the official language for Android development. So, if you’re particularly interested in creating Android apps, Kotlin is the one for you.

Also, if you’re already fluent in Java, Kotlin is fully interoperable with it, which makes it an even more attractive language to learn. And to add to that, its simple language features and high performance make it very accessible, so you will be able to learn it in next to no time!

8. C++

Difficulty level: Difficult

Available jobs: 53,550

Average salary: $86,000

If your goal is to become a system-level programmer, developing desktop applications, both C and C++ are up for the task. However, C++’s flexibility makes it a preferable choice for designing higher-level applications. Indeed, C++ is considered to be a pioneer in modern programming, with Amazon and Google also favouring it over other languages.

But it doesn’t stop there: being fluent in C++ means that you can work in diverse areas, including virtual reality, gaming and computer graphics.

9. Go

Difficulty level: Moderate

Available jobs: 600

Average salary: $113,000

It’s no surprise that Google developed its own programming language!

Despite not having a following as big as Java and Python, Go (also known as Golang) is gaining good momentum. It’s relatively simplistic, making it very straightforward to learn, while it’s also quite similar to C-style languages.

Meanwhile, it’s quite popular among startups in Silicon Valley, so if you’ve got your heart set on a Valley-based startup, learning this programming language will give you quite the leverage.

10. PHP

Difficulty level: Easy

Available jobs: 27,600

Average salary: $69,000

PHP is the real OG on this list. Indeed, it was the first of its kind when the internet was first introduced.

PHP is a general-purpose programming language and is often a favourite among web developers around the world. In fact, a whopping 79.1% of all websites today use PHP. This probably has something to do with the fact that it’s free and easy to set up.

Although PHP’s golden days are behind it, it remains an essential programming language that’s expected to maintain its position in the field for many years to come.

Learning any one of these programming languages, whatever your experience in the sector, is without a doubt a smart move. Not only does it add value to your CV and improve your job prospects, but it also expands your knowledge base.

Which of these programming languages are you familiar with? And which ones do you want to learn? Let us know in the comments section below!