With the invention of Computers, programming language became a necessity in this world. The term "Programming Language" was first coined as early as 1883, when the Analytical Engine was invented by Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, which required an enormous amount of manual work and calculation to get a simple mathematical program written. Since then, we have come a long way to a better place.
Today's programming languages are similar to the language we speak and are much more powerful and faster. They are used almost everywhere in today's world and have an important place in our lives. Let us get to the details to understand more. For training on Programming and getting started, visit the Software Programming course.
What is a Programming Language?
According to the Wikipedia definition, A programming language is a notation for writing programs, which are specifications of a computation or algorithm ("Programming language"). Putting it in layman's terms, a programming language can be used to communicate with a computer and make it perform certain tasks. While humans communicate and exchange ideas through various languages, computers use various programming languages to communicate between users and themselves.
Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2023
In this section, we will look at the list of the 30 most popular programming languages and the various types of programming languages (from highest to lowest level). Most importantly, we will understand what makes them popular, their uses, their career outlook, and their position in the Information Technology Industry.
Python is a high-level interpreted language found in 1989 and developed by Guido Van Rossum. Python is among the most popular in the top programming languages 2022 list. Python, like Java, supports Memory management and Object-Oriented Capability. Python is popular for its easy-to-read and written syntax making it one of the most trending languages today and one of the best backend programming languages. Python is mostly used for web applications and Artificial Intelligence applications. Python has great demand in today's jobs and is one of the highest-paying programming languages. Finding a job with Python is quite easy and has great demand and a bright future. For training on Python Programming, visit the best Python Programming course.
Java is a general-purpose, high-level language developed by Sun Microsystems in 1991. It is one of the most demanding and popularly used languages throughout industries and academic institutions. Java achieves the top position in the list for the programming languages list ranking. The features of Java that made it stand out are Memory management and Cross-Platform Compatibility. Memory management helped Java reduce the dependence on developers to remove unused memory when not in need. Automating this via garbage collection ensured developers would have to worry less about memory management. Cross Platform Compatibility ensures Java can be used on various platforms (Operating Systems) without any compatibility issues. This helped Java spread its popularity faster. Java is popularly used for Web, Mobile, and Embedded Systems, which are in wide demand now. If you are considering a career in them, Java is a good start.
C is one of the oldest high levels and most common programming languages. Developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie in AT&T Bell Laboratories, C is one of the popularly used languages for lower-level components in software, like Kernal in an OS. C is also in great demand for the programming of embedded systems. For situations where speed matters, C is the most preferred language. This is the main feature that makes C preferred for hardware programming. C is also widely used in Academic Institutions and is the best coding language to learn for beginners. C is preferred if you are looking for a career in Kernel Programming or Hardware Programming. However, there can be an overlap with the C++ language because of its Object-Oriented Capability.
C++, the successor of C, is the extension of C with Object Oriented Features. Developed during the 1980s by Bjarne Stroustrup, C++ is used popularly for Hardware Programing and Software applications and has a wide range of libraries available. C++ is one of the best programming languages for beginners looking to learn object-oriented concepts. It is also one of the best game programming languages, such as creating game engines. C++ has a similar place in the market compared to C; hence the career prospects will be similar to that of C.
5. Visual Basic .NET
Visual Basic was developed by Microsoft in the year 2001. It is a high-level language that supports Object Oriented Capability. It was mainly used for Web Applications and Desktop applications. Visual Basic is now a legacy language and has been replaced by better languages and frameworks.
C# was developed by Microsoft in 2001, along with its .NET framework. C# is very similar to C++ or Java in terms of syntax. Initially, .NET was used to develop Windows Forms and to develop Web Applications with ASP.NET. The framework has evolved a lot since then, especially with the introduction to .NET Standard and .NET Core. The latest frameworks are cross-platform, running on Windows, Linux, and Mac. The latest versions of .NET also allow developers to write Android and iOS applications. C# is mostly used for writing desktop and web applications but rarely used for system programming and embedded applications. C# has a wide demand in the industry and is an active language.
PHP is a general-purpose language used for server-side programming. Developed by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, PHP is a popular language among beginners looking to learn web development. PHP is known for its ease of learning. Although many jobs are available in PHP, it is getting replaced by better languages and frameworks.
SQL is a query language used for Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS).
SQL was developed by IBM Researchers Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin in the 1970s. SQL is not directly used to write applications but as part of any software to access any database to fetch, read or update data. SQL is an important language in the IT industry, but it is not the primary skill for any job role. SQL is often combined with other requirements like a programming language for developers, analytics tools for Big Data roles, etc. Hence, learning SQL is a big plus, along with other requirements for the job.
Objective-C is a general-purpose, compiled, an object-oriented language developed and used by Apple until 2014. Objective C is still popular due to the large number of existing applications written in it. It is used only for development for the Apple ecosystem. Objective C is still in demand, but it is advised to learn Swift since Apple shifted to Swift from Objective C.
11. Delphi/Object Pascal
Delphi is the name of a compiler for the Object Pascal, the object-oriented version of Pascal, which Larry Tesler developed in the late 1960s. Although there is existing software written on Delphi/Object Pascal, they are not in use anymore.
Ruby is an interpreted, dynamically typed, object-oriented programming language developed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto in the mid-1990s. The language was inspired by many other languages like Lisp, Pearl, and Ada. Ruby is a popular language used for web development. The framework Ruby on Rails is a server-side framework written in Ruby. It is popular for its ease of learning. Ruby is used for web application development and hence is still used in the market and has plenty of job opportunities.
13. Assembly Language
Assembly language is a low-level language used for hardware programming or embedded programs. The first assembly language was developed by Kathleen Booth in 1947 for ARC2. Assembly language actually varies depending on the given microprocessor since the language is basically the instruction set of a given microprocessor. Unlike normal languages, the programmer will have to know the microprocessor in detail - instruction set, registers, data sizes, etc. to work with assembly language. Assembly is used when performance is the goal making it the best feature of this language. Considering this language's career outlook, jobs requiring systems programming / hardware programming will require knowledge of assembly language.
Apple developed the swift language in 2014 for its ecosystem. Swift was made to make debugging easier and make the syntax easy to read. Apple shifted its language of use from Objective C to Swift. Swift is still in demand for iOS programmers, but it is advised to learn Objective C alongside since older applications are written in this.
Go / Golang was introduced by two Google Engineers in 2009. Go borrows syntax heavily from C and Java. The language focused on cross-platform compatibility, simplicity, and support for modern processors. It is an easy language to learn. Considering its market demand, it is popular in engineering and devops circles but not much asked in job descriptions.
Per is a utilitarian scripting language evolving from CGI scripting. Developed by Larry Wall in 1987, it is easy to learn and has quite a good number of software written under it. Although not the topmost language, it has quite a good demand that can be visible in many job descriptions.
R is a programming language used by statisticians and researchers mainly for the analytics of datasets. In the market, data-related jobs (Data Analysts, Data Scientists, etc.) require R knowledge for analytics purposes. It was developed by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman in 1993. R has a good demand in the market, but only for roles related to statistics, research, and data science.
Microsoft introduced F# in 2005 as an Object Oriented, functional language that compiles to .NET Intermediate Language. As a functional language, it expresses programs as mathematical functions and does not allow mutable states and data (Object Oriented Concepts). Since F# is only suited for certain programs, not many jobs demand it as the primary requirement.
Bash is a scripting language written by Brian Fox and released in the year 1989. It is mainly used to automate tasks on Unix and Linux Platforms. Bash has a fairly easy syntax. Although it is not a programming language by itself, it is used for many automation tasks and Linux / Unix Administration purposes. Hence, many jobs have Bash as a requirement, although not primary.
Scala is a high-purpose language developed to fill in the gaps in Java, such as functional libraries. Developed by Martin Odersky in 2003, Scala gained traction in the development of Software Libraries and applications. Although it has a high learning curve, there are plenty of Scala jobs available, and it is worth learning it.
COBOL is a very old programming language mainly used for mainframe systems. It was combinedly developed by CODASYL, ANSI, and ISO/IEC in 1959. Although less, there is an excellent chance of exiting employees since people who know COBOL today are very scarce. But there are not many upcoming opportunities with COBOL.
Rust is a comparatively new and powerful programming language that Graydone Hoare developed in 2006. Its best features are safety, reliability, and speed. The downside of this language is that it is complex and has a high learning curve. It is not recommended as a first language, but quite a few use it out there.
Prolog is a declarative language based on mathematical and logical theories. Developed by Alain Colmerauer in 1973, It is mainly used in research, Artificial Intelligence, and complex systems. It has a difficult syntax and is worthwhile to learn only if you are in a field that requires a prolog.
Julia is quite a new language and is a descendant of C. Developed by Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, Viral B. Shah, and other contributors in 2012, and it is mainly designed for data science and analytics-based applications. Like other application-specific languages, Julia is designed specifically for analytics purposes. Considering the career outlook, Julia can come in handy if you work in a field (Data Science) that requires Julia.
Haskell is an older high-level, functional programming language. Many other functional programming languages derive from Haskell. Developed by a group of researchers in 1990, Haskell is only used as a specialized software development method. Considering the career outlook, Haskell can come in handy if you aspire to work in a field that requires a language like Haskell.
Apex is a proprietary language developed by salesforce.com for development on the Salesforce platform. Its difficulty is similar to C# and Java. Apex is an application-specific language developed for the Salesforce platform. Considering its career outlook, Apex can come in handy if you are a Salesforce developer.
Groovy is closely associated with Java and even compiles Java Bytecode. Developed by James Strachan in 2003, Groovy adds features not present in Java, like dynamic typing and operator overloading. Groovy also has the capability to be uncompiled, making it a scripting language. Learning Groovy is easy if you already know Java. Groovy is used in some popular tools like Jenkins. Considering the career outlook, it is listed on many job listings but is not a core requirement.
Lua was a language that was created out of necessity in Brazil. The Computer Graphics Technology Group members created it in 1993. It is a portable, easy-to-learn language used mainly by Game Developers as a scripting language. Considering its career outlook, Lua does not have many jobs available, but learning it might make you a well-rounded programmer.
How to Get Started with Programming?
For non-technical users, getting started with programming can be a confusing task and a search in the dark. Fortunately, they, too, can get used to the field with stepwise learning.
1. Understand what a programming language does
As detailed in the introduction of this article, programming language helps a user to communicate with the computer to complete specific tasks. This can be as simple as displaying a message or taking user input or as complex as sending data over a network or connecting to a remote machine. A clear understanding of this concept helps quickly write code depending on the requirements.
2. Understand what programs / software do
Programs are the code we write, which, when run, executes the code and gets the tasks done. Software is a combination of multiple programs used for larger and more complex tasks.
3. Start with a simple language
Now to get hands-on, start with a most straightforward programming language like C instead of choosing the best programming language to learn. C is a basic language to be taught for a beginner, considering its easy-to-read and write syntax, a slightly low-level language, which will help understand the more profound and basic concepts like memory allocation and pointers.
4. Get to the advanced concepts
Once you are comfortable with the concepts, move on to more important concepts like Object Oriented Programming. From the list of object-oriented programming languages, C++ / Java may be chosen for this. Many languages have a variety of advanced concepts available -- DBMS access, CGI Programming, etc. Hence, go through your preferred language syllabus to list the advanced concepts.
Once basic coding is mastered, anyone can move on to their interested domain - Full Stack Developer, Backend Developer, Front End Developer, etc. which has its requirements and skill sets.
The Well-Rounded Programmer
Becoming someone who writes code vs becoming a well-rounded programmer are two different things. In this section, we will look at some points that will make you a well-rounded and skilled programmer, which will indeed highlight you from the crowd.
1. Know the basics
Everyone wants to master a language, but the key to mastering a language is by knowing the basics harder than any higher concepts. Counterintuitively, this is true because all higher and complex concepts (OOPs, Pointers, etc.) are all built on the basic ideas of computer hardware and what each statement does in the computer. Hence, keep the basics strong.
2. Knowing what to write
Writing down a bunch of code is not the goal here, but knowing what to write is. Often rookies make the mistake of jumping to the keyboard before deciding what to write. Any skilled programmer's first step is brainstorming and deciding what to write. Identifying the requirements and developing the right programs will make you a skilled programmer.
3. Learn OOPs Concepts
Object Oriented Programming is one of today's world's most essential and unavoidable programming methodologies. Mastering the whole of OOPs will make you a very well-developed programmer and add to your job interview and career.
4. Learn to debug
Nothing comes perfect, and so do programmers. Finding errors within the program is a great skill to master and is most needed in your career. Understanding the data flow and finding out the root cause of an error is most required and an essential skill any programmer should have. Without this, writing and delivering error-free code will be a tough time.
5. Learn to Refer
Memorizing the whole of a programming language and its libraries is impractical and of not much use. Master the art of going through the documentation, referring to the required libraries and code, and implementing it for your needs. This is very much required and comes in handy when writing large codebases with complex code.
6. Workout hobby projects
Working out on self-developed hobby projects is the best way to excel in programming and software development. It is okay if your project is not an industry standard one - Even the most minor matters when you are trying to learn something. Check out internet sources or brainstorm a project idea to develop one.
Programming as a career has been on steady growth since the last decade. It is expected to rise in the coming years with the adoption of large-scale digitization by the government, organizations, and the general public. Programmers are among the most in-demand and well-paying jobs in the market today. Now that we have an insight into the various aspects of programming, getting hands-on and becoming a skilled programmer, training or certification will be a big plus for a great career ahead. If you need a training program, KnowledgeHut has a variety of training programs curated to shape the finest programmers for the future. To get started, visit Java Programming online.