A round-up of 15 of the best programming languages to learn in 2021
Being able to code in a top-in-demand programming language is one of the most important skills in this increasingly digitizing world. With applications across almost every industry, the job pool is extensive, to say the least.
The following is a list of the best programming languages to learn in 2021. They include the most popular programming languages that remain rather important and should be part of any aspiring coder’s skillset.
Best Programming Languages – Overview
Coding comes in many different flavors. You can get jobs ranging from designing an interactive website to creating an inventory management system for a bank. Industries like automobiles or space research heavily rely on good coders for various tasks. As a result, an experienced and well-learned programmer will often have the pick of the best jobs.
Of course, venturing into programming can feel like a Herculean task. To someone who may not be very tech-savvy, the code of a simple program will seem like gibberish. That really isn’t the case though. In fact, a big part of what makes a programmer successful is their mindset.
If you’re a focused, logical thinker with an understanding of language and mathematics, you’ll find it relatively simple to learn to program. Once you get the hang of your first coding language, it’s just a matter of picking up a few key differences to start growing your arsenal of programming languages. Data science is one popular field to apply your skills
Below are 15 of the most popular and best programming languages to learn that are also high in demand or offer complementary value. Keep in mind this cannot be a complete list, and many other popular programming languages cour be listed here.
Best Programming Languages To Learn – Popular Picks
Python is one of the most promising and best programming languages to learn in 2021. It can be used to create games, PC, standalone, and mobile applications, but it’s popular mainly for machine learning and deep learning applications.
With an extensive range of libraries including Tensorflow, NumPy, Matplotlib, and Pandas, Python is the programming language of choice for data scientists. Currently, it offers 137k libraries for data visualization, image and data manipulation, and much more. From web development to software development and game creation, Python can do it all!
Among all popular and best programming languages, semi-colon has remained the constant. It changed the very face of coding by omitting semi-colons from the code. Python code is simple, clean, and readable. Many Python developers have remarked that it’s very close to typing in the English language.
What’s interesting is the developer’s view towards learning Python. According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, Python is the top language that programmers do not use, but want to learn! And why not? For developers, Python offers exciting opportunities. There’s also a growing demand for Python developers in 2021 with an average salary of $79K2.
How to learn? See our review of the best Python courses online.
Swift was developed by Apple in 2014 for Linux, iOS, and Mac applications. It’s a relatively new, open-source programming language that is used mainly for mobile app development. It was developed as an alternative to objective-C with syntax similar to Python and Ruby. That being said, Swift is still compatible with objective-C libraries.
For beginners, Swift is easy to learn with a clean and simple syntax. There’s less code and it’s very close to natural English. Swift lives up to its name in terms of speed and performance. It’s 2.6x faster than objective-C and 8.4x faster than Python.
In iOS development, Swift is the popular choice. Even now that we have React Native and Flutter (Dart), Swift still remains the most widely used programming language for iOS development. Although, since it’s still a rather young language, Swift is still struggling with cross-platform support.
Course providers: There are many online learning platforms out there to learn the best programming languages online. We recommend looking into Udacity nanodegrees, Pluralsight courses, or edX courses or Simplilearn and Edureka for recognized certification, masters, and learning paths.
4. R Programming Language
Considering the increasing demand for data science and machine learning, R is another programming language that’s rapidly gaining popularity. It’s used mainly for statistical analysis, machine learning, and data science. It also offers a wide range of libraries including ggplot, dplyr, Shiny, and plotly.
The syntax for the R language is not very user-friendly (especially when compared to Python). For beginners, it can be quite difficult to grasp as compared to other popular programming languages. However, R boasts an active user community, and that’s always a plus when learning a new language.
R is open-source and its prominent features include cross-platform compatibility, distributed computing, extensive graphical capabilities, a wide range of packages, and an active community.
Overall, the R programming language is powerful, versatile, and can be easily integrated with BI platforms and data processing technologies like Spark and Hadoop. Currently, the average salary of R developers is $68K3.
How to learn? Join our tour of the best R courses online.
5. Go – GoLang
Go is an open-source programming language designed by Google in 2007. Its often referred to as Golang because of its domain name (golang.org). The syntax for Go is similar to C but it also features memory safety, garbage collection, structural typing, and CSP-style concurrency.
According to the latest Stack Overflow Developers survey, Go is among the five most popular programming languages. Currently, many big companies including Google, Uber, and DropBox are using Go. If you’re opting to learn Go, then here’s an extra perk, the developers of Go, Perl, and Scala have the highest salaries.
Developed by Mozilla Corporation, Rust has been the most loved programming language for the fifth year in a row. 86.1 percent of Rust developers don’t just love the language, but also want to continue working on it.
Initially, Rust was intended to be used for low-level systems programmings like C and C++. But, what Rust adds to the mix is performance and safety. It ensures memory safety without garbage collections.
Overall, Rust is intended to be used for highly concurrent and safe systems. Big companies like Coursera and DropBox are already using it internally. It’s not really one of the programming languages to learn first, but as you can see from the Stack Overflow survey results, once developers get the hang of it, it becomes their favorite!
If Swift is the language of choice for iOS developers, then Kotlin is the popular choice among Android developers. In the Stack Overflow survey, Kotlin was ranked the fourth most popular programming language. It was also declared the preferred language for Android app development by Google ad there’s a growing number of Kotlin users on the GitHub Community.
Kotlin is a statically-typed, cross-platform, general-purpose programming language. It supports both functional and object-oriented programming features. It is mainly popular for Android development, but can also be used for web development and desktop app development.
What makes Kotlin unique is nothing unique. In fact, the language draws inspiration from other programming languages, which makes it easy to learn and use. For Java developers, Kotlin is straightforward because it’s completely interoperable with Java. It even supports all Java libraries.
Big companies like Netflix and Uber are offering some exciting career opportunities to Kotlin developers. Currently, the salary of a Kotlin developer is about $99k.
Following the lead of Kotlin, Scala was also developed to overcome the issues faced in Java. it’s a powerful, statically typed, general-purpose programming language. It supports both functional and object-oriented programming.
This programming language is similar to Kotlin, which is interoperable with Java. It means that the libraries in either language can be referenced directly into the other. You can also compile the Scala code to Java Bytecode and run it on a JVM (Java Virtual Machine).
Scala also supports a curly-brace syntax similar to C language and Java. Scala can be used for the same systems like Java, but it’s used mainly for big data processing and machine learning.
Several tech giants including Netflix, Twitter, LinkedIn, and eBay are using Scala for their respective platforms. The average salary of a Scala developer is $117k per year.
Currently, TypeScript is growing in popularity and is among the top ten most popular technologies. It’s also the second most popular programming language of developers surpassing Python from last year.
Java is a concurrent, class-based, object-oriented programming language that sees widespread use. It is regarded as the easiest programming language to learn and get a working knowledge of how classes and objects work.
It sees extensive use in many different areas ranging from web development to games to even scientific and financial applications. If you’ve used any electronic device, chances are, you have used something made on Java. One of the most well-known mobile operating systems – Android – uses apps made with this language.
There is a lot of competition here; it doesn’t offer an easy place for one to establish themselves as major players without significant experience and knowledge.
Your best bet is to start with a course covering the basics before trying to teach yourself more advanced aspects of this coding language.
How to learn: See our selection of the best Java courses online.
11. Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework. It abstracts and simplifies common repetitive tasks, making it easier to build websites and applications.
It primarily sees use in web development and has been growing in popularity steadily. Given its efficiency and simplicity, it has been firmly establishing itself as a major tool in the market.
The job market for Ruby on Rails may not be as vast as that of other best programming languages but it is a relatively new technology compared to languages like HTML and Java. Ruby on Rails is on track to establish itself as an industry standard and the job market should continue to reflect that.
It is a fairly straightforward programming language to learn and as an open-source one, it has oodles of documentation detailing its use. Several online courses should give you a jumpstart on this coding language. However, like all other skills, practice makes perfect, which holds true here as well.
HTML is a markup language, while CSS is a style sheet used to build the design for a markup language. The two are relatively straightforward and go hand in hand more often than not.
HTML/CSS is used almost exclusively to build websites. Everything from what shows up on your web browser to point links in the right direction requires an understanding of HTML.
Given the constant requirement in the market for not only new websites but also website maintenance and updates, the job pool for HTML/CSS is vast and has something for coders at any skill level.
It is one of the most future-proof skills as the demand for ‘taking businesses online’ will only grow over the next decade. Best way to learn HTML is by practicing. Follow a few web design courses or tutorials and build a few basic websites and you’ll soon find yourself improving dramatically.
PHP is a general-purpose scripting language that runs on the server-side, i.e. it runs on code that is executed on the web server – giving the user no way of accessing the actual code (unlike HTML).
PHP sees a lot of use in web development. In fact, entire websites can be enclosed in PHP, rendering it virtually impossible for anyone to reuse your code. It can also be used for executing scripts for simple text processing tasks.
PHP on its own has a rather limited job pool. When coupled with other popular programming languages, HTML in particular, opens up a plethora of job opportunities. There are jobs suitable for those with a basic understanding as well as advanced users.
14. SQL – Structured Query Language
The backbone of many websites, SQL is not strictly a programming language; it is called a ‘query language.’ In conjunction with PHP and HTML, SQL is a language that allows you to query large databases.
Although the use of ‘No SQL’ databases like MongoDB has negatively impacted its use, many old web applications and websites that do not see any reason to switch – continue to run using SQL.
However, this stiff competition makes the future-proof aspect of SQL doubtful. Nonetheless, it is a useful and still popular programming language that teaches you the basics of schema-based databases and their work. As of now, there is still a demand for back-end developers proficient in SQL.
SQL itself is relatively easy to learn for a beginner, the nuances of databases do confound people new to the concept. Enrolling in an online course is enough for you to become proficient in this language.
C++ is an extension of the language C and is one of the most used and popular programming languages with a wide variety of applications. It is a high-end language with imperative, object-oriented, and generic programming features.
Although it has primarily seen use in the development of desktop applications, it has also served as the inspiration for several other programming languages that see widespread use in this day and age. Interestingly, advanced games and game engines that millions play require the use of C++. In fact, Apple’s preferred Objective-C language (used to make apps before the release of SWIFT) was another extension of C (the language).
Though it may not be as widespread as it once was, it still has a healthy job market, though it is skewed towards more experienced programmers. However, it is still a great skill to have, especially as mastering the language guarantees a fat pay package.
C++ is a classic example of ‘easy to learn, hard to master.’ Hence, Java is still preferred as the go-to coding language for beginners wanting experience in object-oriented programming languages, before moving onto C++.
List of Popular Programming Languages
- ASP / ASP.NET
- Assembly Language
- BBC Basic
- Cascading Style Sheets
- Erlang and Elixir
- MetaQuotes Language
- MS Access
- Object-Oriented Programming
- Pure Data
- Ruby on Rails
- TeX and LaTeX
- Unified Modeling Language
- Unix Shells
- Visual Basic
- Visual FoxPro
Best Programming Languages To Learn – Summary
These are some of the most popular and best programming languages to learn in 2021, though this is by no means an exhaustive list. A working knowledge of some of the coding languages on this list will be plenty to kickstart a career in programming and development.
The best bet for an absolute beginner is to start with HTML or Java as they are relatively easy to pick up and will pave the way for easily mastering other programming languages. The more you learn, the more opportunities will come your way and as you build up experience, you’ll find yourself on a lucrative career path.
When it comes to programming, learning never really ends. How much you learn and how much you can achieve ultimately comes down to your own resilience and determination to keep up with this ever-evolving industry.
What are the best programming languages to learn for beginners?
In your opinion, waht are the most popular and best programming languages to learn first? Which ones would you recommend for beginners? Should beginners learn first to create Android, iOS apps or work in the field of robotics, artificial intelligence or data science? Please share your opinion and experience in the comment section below.
Best Programming Languages To Learn in 2021
- R Programming Language
- Go – GoLang
- Ruby on Rails
- SQL – Structured Query Language