If you’ve found your way to this post, you’re obviously wondering which are the best programming languages to learn. Of course, that will all depend on your long-term career goals, how much you already know, and how you plan on learning.
After reading this article, you will better understand the most popular programming languages in use today. We’ll also share what these languages are for and the career options available to you if you possess those skills.
Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2021
Technology advances at a phenomenal rate. Therefore, the best programming languages to learn in terms of skills that hiring managers are looking for might change over time. For this reason, we keep this blog post updated according to the skills that are most in-demand. We last edited the below list in July 2021.
1 – Python
If you’re a recent school or college leaver, you’ve likely come across Python already. If you’re further on in life and learning computer coding languages to switch careers, Python is a good starting point.
There are several reasons why Python is one of the best programming languages to learn for beginners: Its simplified syntax makes it easier to learn than most other programming languages, and being an open-source language makes it easily accessible. There are also many books, games, and online resources that make it easy to learn Python. The Raspberry Pi even comes pre-installed with Python.
What Jobs Can You Get With Python?
Python’s main uses are in Back End Development and Data Engineering, and many companies advertise purely for Python Developers. However, due to its popularity, Python can open doors to many other surprising careers, including:
- Web Developer
- Data Analyst
- Software Tester
- Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer
- IT Teacher
- Computer Science Lecturer
- Data Journalist
- Financial Advisor
- Back End Software Development or Software Engineering
- Front End Development
- Full Stack Development
- Game Development
- Mobile App Development
3 – SQL
SQL – pronounced sequel, or ess queue Elle – stands for Structured Query Language. It is the most commonly used language for communicating with and editing data contained within databases. While that might sound a little abstract, the best way to understand what SQL does is to consider it in the context of Facebook.
Facebook holds a whole stack of data about all its users within a database. When you log into Facebook, it calls upon the relevant data it holds about you to display your profile. Then as you scroll down your news feed, it calls upon all the other bits of data, such as text, images, usernames etc. It then uses this information to display the posts you’ve liked or are tagged in.
SQL utilises intuitive English-based syntax, which makes it one of the best programming languages to learn, even for those with absolutely no computer science experience.
What Jobs Can You Get With SQL?
SQL is one of the most widely used programming languages worldwide. Therefore, taking the time to learn SQL can open up quite an array of career options such as:
- SQL Server Developer
- Software Engineer
- Business Analyst
- Data Scientist
- Database Administrator or Manager
- Quality Assurance Engineer (or QA Tester)
- College Tutor
- University Lecturer
- Data Journalist
4 – PHP
PHP is a widely-used open source programming language that focuses on server-side scripting. Developers use PHP to create web forms, shopping carts, chat forums and many other elements that enable two-way interaction between users and the internet.
PHP is considered one of the best programming languages to learn for beginners. The challenge is getting your head around the logic, rules and abbreviations associated with learning any computer language.
What Jobs Can You Get With PHP?
PHP is so widely used that many companies specifically require PHP Developers. Apart from that, the most commonly advertised job titles requiring PHP skills are Back-End Developer, Software Engineer and Full-Stack Developer.
WordPress is also based on PHP. Therefore, learning PHP can make WordPress developers more employable and enhance their earning potential.
5 – C#
C# is part of the Microsoft .NET framework and is built on the foundations of C and C++. So if you have any experience with either C or C++, it’s likely you will find C# incredibly easy to pick up.
It used to be true that any programming languages relating to Microsoft products were more expensive to learn, but upon qualifying, Microsoft Developers (C# and .NET) could command higher salaries.
That said, Microsoft has recognised the need to make their products more accessible, which makes them much easier to learn.
What Jobs Can You Get With C#?
6 – Java
Java is a computing language made for developing applications we use on desktops, laptops, games consoles, scientific supercomputers, mobile phones… Just about any device you can think of.
Java is so popular because it is a general-purpose cross-platform programming language. So it allows developers to write code on one platform and run it on any other. In other words, a developer can create an app on any platform; then, you could run it as a web application while your friend uses the mobile app version.
Java has many uses, including creating Android apps, many apps for the financial services industry, IoT (Internet of Things), blockchain, big data, data science, AI and machine learning.
If you speak English, Java is easy for beginners to pick up fairly quickly. That said, it’s probably not as easy to learn as Python.
What Jobs Can You Get With Java?
Java is an excellent language to learn if you want to work for large corporations on big projects. The job titles that you could attain by learning Java include:
- Software Developer
- Java Developer
- Software Engineer
- Technical Architect
- Chief Technology Officer
- Back End Developer
- Full-Stack Developer
- Android Developer
- Mobile App Developer
7 – Go
Go is developed by Google and much in the same way that Google quickly dominated the internet, Go has become extremely popular in a very short time. Often also called Golang, it’s another open-source programming language that is designed to make it easy to build reliable, efficient software.
The story behind Go, is that Google developers created it to eliminate the frustrations and limitations they experienced when using other languages. The result is a language that’s applicable for use on Google sized projects but easy for beginners to learn.
What Jobs Can You Get With Golang?
As IT recruitment consultants, we are seeing a surprising number of jobs for Go Developers. Other job titles asking for Go skills include Software Development, Software Engineer, Back-End Developer and Full Stack Development.
8 – Swift
Swift is the language that was first licenced by Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs. So if it’s your ambition to create iOS, iPadOS, tvOS or watchOS apps, Swift is the language you should learn.
That said, Swift is no longer limited to those who have Apple devices. In 2020, Swift released a package that enables developers to build and run Swift code on a Windows operating system. To make it easy to learn Swift, Apple released Swift Playgrounds, a free iPad app designed to teach kids how to code.
What Jobs Can You Get With Swift?
It probably goes without saying that as it’s Apple’s language, the most popular job title you will find relating to Swift is iOS Developer. Other job titles include; Front End Swift Developer and Mobile App Developer. No matter what the job title, it’s most likely that you’ll never be out of a job designing or engineering iOS Apps if you learn Swift.
A Word of Caution on Bootcamps
Bootcamps are a fashionable way to learn coding skills. However, they can be expensive. Also, whenever we speak to hiring managers after interviewing job applicants who have attended bootcamps, we repeatedly hear the same criticism – bootcamps don’t work!
That’s not strictly true, in fact, bootcamps do help many people land their first job in tech. Bootcamps give students a fantastic start in the best computer languages to learn right now, along with some valuable, practical skills. However, they often give students the illusion that they can walk straight out of a bootcamp and into a job. Sadly, this is not the case.
What bootcamps don’t give you is any knowledge of coding best practices or test-driven development. If you’re serious about getting a job in computer programming of any kind, these are the things that will take you to the next level.
A Few Final Thoughts on The Best Computer Languages to Learn
Students often look for the easiest computer language to learn, because let’s face it, learning complicated subjects is less fun. When subjects are no fun to learn, we quickly lose interest. That said, the first computer language you learn will always be the hardest.
When you begin learning any computer language, the challenge comes with grasping the rules of coding logic and what all the abbreviations mean. A complete beginner can get the basics of any programming language within a couple of days. However, as any experienced programmer will tell you, when you embark on a career in computer programming, you commit to a lifetime of learning.
After reading this article, we hope that you now have a better understanding of the best computer languages to learn. We also hope it has helped you understand how these languages can help you achieve your career goals.
If you have any further questions after reading, you might benefit from having a conversation with an IT recruitment consultant. They speak to hiring managers every day and can offer insider information about what they’re looking for.
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