As the internet penetrates every corner of the globe and the Information Technology (IT) industry booms, coding languages now play an integral role. Programming languages form the basis of this industry, with IT professionals learning multiple coding languages to work with the rapidly expanding software fields. If you are interested in building a career in programming or the IT industry, the language you’re proficient in will decide the kind of eligible roles for you. The more popular the language, the more opportunities will present themselves. Non-IT companies are also looking for proficient coders for exciting roles! To help you get started, we’ve made a coding languages list organized by popularity using the PYPL Popularity Index and TIOBE Index. Languages are listed based on their ease, usage, popularity, and USPs.
Purpose: Python is a general-purpose dynamic programming language created in 1991.
Popularity: It’s one of the most popular coding languages today and is used for server-side web and system development.
Pros and Cons: The language has a simple syntax and can work on multiple platforms, making it far easier to learn and execute. It is one of the first programming languages that most coders learn. However, it has a lower execution speed compared to other languages.
Purpose: Created in 1995, the language is general purpose and object-oriented, allowing coders to develop everything from web and mobile applications to embedded servers. The language can be used on any platform and is one of the simplest languages to learn as it does not use features such as operator overloading and multiple inheritances. These factors make Java a far more user-friendly programming language.
Popularity: Java is one of the most popular programming languages worldwide.
Pros and Cons: Unlike most other languages, Java can be written on one device and run across various devices, making it portable. However, unfortunately, the language does not provide a backup facility and must be stored on the device’s storage.
3. C and C++
Purpose: The two programming languages are used interchangeably in daily conversation, with C’s creation in 1972 and C++ in 1985. Both are general-purpose programming languages, with their code used to implement operating systems such as Oracle and Intel.
Popularity: C++ is known as the ‘superset’ of C, with slightly more comprehensive grammar.
Pros and Cons: The languages are simple, compiled, and have comprehensive library support. However, both languages have similar issues in terms of excessive memory usage.
Purpose: Similar to C++, C# is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. Developed by Microsoft in 2000, the language is popular among game developers and dynamic website creators.
Popularity: It has featured regularly in the top five Popularity of Programming Languages Index.
Pros and Cons: As it was initially created to rival Java, C# is highly versatile and can be easily understood by those with prior knowledge of C and C++. As a result, however, the performance of C# has been described as lackluster due to comparatively slower runtime.
Purpose: Created in 1974 at IBM, SQL (short for Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific programming language to access and manipulate databases to handle structured data.
Popularity: The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) made it the standard coding language in 1987.
Pros and Cons: It is fast and efficient, able to retrieve and process large amounts of data in short periods. Additionally, it is elementary to learn. However, the interface can be challenging to maneuver around.
Purpose: Described as specially suited for web development on their official website, the Hypertext Preprocessor language, popularly known as PHP, came into existence in 1994. It is an open-source language, free for downloading, and can be used on any platform, from Linux to Windows.
Popularity: A survey by the W3Techs shows that PHP is used by 77.3 percent of all the websites whose server-side programming language is known.
Pros and Cons: Its open-source nature is not as secure as other programming languages and unsuitable for coding larger content-based applications.
Purpose: Go is an open-source programming language supported by Google, developed in 2009. It is a procedural language for everything from Web Development to Cloud and Network Services.
Popularity: As it is concise and easy to read, it is far simpler to learn. Further, the language’s ability to run multiple processes simultaneously has led popular websites to use it, including Uber, Netflix, Dropbox, and of course, its parent company, Google.
Pros and Cons: It has an extensive standard library that allows the creation of packages. However, it should be noted that the language lacks a User Interface (UI) tool kit.
Purpose: JetBrains developed Kotlin as a statically-typed, general-purpose programming language. It is interoperable with Java code with a concise syntax.
Popularity: As of 2019, Kotlin holds the title ‘Preferred Language for Android App Developers.’
Pros and Cons: Kotlin’s code has fewer bugs and is easier to learn than other languages due to its similarity with Java. However, as seen in other newer programming languages, the lack of an extensive user database also contributes to fewer resources and experts in the field.
Purpose: MathWorks developed this programming language in the late 1970s for engineers and scientists as a tool to establish a numeric computing environment. The typical language usage includes data analysis, algorithm modeling, and scientific computations.
Popularity: The language is platform-independent and can be used on multiple operating systems, adding to its popularity.
Pros and Cons: The software is not expensive and hence, more accessible than other coding languages. However, as MATLAB is an interpreted language, it takes longer to execute when compared to compiled languages such as C and C++.
Purpose: R serves statistical computing and graphics requirements. It was built in 1993 and has been used widely by business analysts. R is platform-free and open source. It allows integration of the language with others, such as C++.
Popularity: It is the eighth-most used programming language worldwide as of August 2020, according to the TIOBE Programming Community index.
Pros and Cons: It is a platform-independent language and is highly useful in machine learning operations. However, using R requires large amounts of storage as objects are stored in the physical memory. Hence, coding with significant data points would be more difficult.
Purpose: The Swift programming language, released in 2014, was developed by Apple Inc. to create iOS and macOS applications.
Popularity: The rise in the development of iOS applications mirrors Swift’s popularity.
Pros and Cons: Swift is an easy language to learn due to its open-source nature and ability to integrate C and C++ codes into the Swift application. However, as the language is still young, its user database is limited.
Purpose: Rust is a compiled programming language developed in 2010 that is general purpose and focuses on memory safety and reliability.
Popularity: It’s used across large companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft.
Pros and Cons: It has a user-friendly compiler and strong editor with features such as auto-completion. However, the language is complex to learn and is slow in its compilation process.
Purpose: Ruby is a general-purpose dynamic programming language designed in 1995 with an emphasis on the simplicity of the code.
Popularity: It is a high-level, interpreted language marketed as easy to write.
Pros and Cons: It is an open source code which may lead to reduced security. However, the code is difficult to debug and has slower processing when compared to other languages.
Popularity: Its popularity is on the rise due to its similarity with Java and C, making Dart easy to use and adding to its charm.
Purpose: Created in 2004, Scala is an object-oriented and functional programming language designed to address the disadvantages faced by users coding with Java.
Popularity: According to Forbes, programmers and developers are revisiting Scala and looking at it objectively for its advantages.
The Most Popular Programming Languages in 2023
Using previously mentioned survey data, Manos Antoniou, a data scientist, created an algorithm to predict the most popular languages in 2023. His results show that “Analytics programming languages (Python and R) will continue gaining popularity.” At the same time, “PHP and Ruby could lose almost all their popularity and become obsolete in the next five years.”
Does it Matter Which Coding Languages You Learn First?
Choosing which coding language to learn first may seem daunting. Understanding the usage of your coding skills — whether it is data analytics or software development — will help narrow down the options. Further, learning popular languages such as Java and Python is much easier. They also set a strong foundation and open up many doors.
According to Forbes, Java was the second most popular language in the world in February 2022. According to The PYPL Popularity of Programming Language Index, its use increased by 1.2% from February 2021. At the end of the day, programmers with specialized knowledge are in-demand. Moreover, they draw higher salaries, so it may be beneficial to learn more than one language in order to future-proof your career.
Once you’ve chosen the coding language(s) to specialize in, we recommend building a solid foundation and continuously upskilling. Emeritus coding courses can help advance your career and improve your professional worth. Check out this related post, on how to become a coder, and then browse our large selection of online coding courses here.
By Priya Iyer Vyas
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