• Written By
    Felipe Bernardes
  • Last Updated
    June 16, 2018

Top programming languages to learn in 2021

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C, Java, Python, PHP, SQL... Are you familiar with all these programming languages?

Do you know which one to choose If you want to become a developer? The answer is not that simple..., There are a multitude of programming languages for all tastes and different applications.

There are languages that are easier to learn and there are others that are more complex and versatile.

Your choice will depend on what kind of programmer you want to be.

With such diverse options, the question about which programming language to choose is widespread.

We bring you a list of the most used languages and their main characteristics to help you choose wisely.

Check it out!

Table of content

The Top Programming Languages List

1- JavaScript

What is Javascript?

Javascript is one of the most popular languages for web development due to its ubiquity and simplicity. It was created in May 1995 and since then has evolved a lot as a programming language.

In recent years, with the rise of front-end Javascript frameworks, it has achieved the status of the most popular language in web development. It is present in 99.99% of browsers. Virtually all webpages execute some kind of JavaScript code, so you can be sure that a lot of JavaScript code is running daily during a Google search or a navigation through Facebook. That make this is a required language if you wish to become a web developer.

What is Javascript used for?

In the beginning, JavaScript language was designed to work on the client-side, it ran exclusively on web browsers. Node.js brought the possibility to work on the server-side transforming Javascript into a ubiquitous language.

Nowadays, a full-stack web developer can use JavaScript alone, to create both the front-end and back-end parts of a web site!

Why is Javascript a top programming language?

Javascript is a very easy-to-learn and very fast-to-use language. This is another great reason to pick Javascript as a first language to study. If you already have some knowledge of Python or PHP, it will be even easier to master this language.

In addition, the Javascript community is extremely vibrant, which is a decisive factor when deciding a new programming language to learn. You can expect to find tons of e-books, tutorials and mostly importantly, packages ready to use in your projects. There is a great chance that a challenge you may face in the future has already been solved by someone and the solution is probably available online.

Find a complete Javascript course catalog in our Javascript section.

2- C Language

What is C?

Dennis Ritchie developed C in 1972, at Bell Labs. The legacy of C language stems from the fact that it is the ancestor to many of the advanced programming languages such as C++, Java, C#, JavaScript, and Perl. It is probably due to this reason that C is the first programming course offered in universities as it paves way for learning other languages.

What is C used for?

C language is mostly used for developing low-level applications as it is considered nearest to the hardware amongst all languages.

C language is present in almost all web applications, including tech giants like Google, YouTube and Adobe, but usually in combination with C++, which offers more features.

Why is C a top programming language?

C is definitely a top programming language to learn, specifically for beginners who are looking for a programming career in the long run.

It is important to learn its logic and syntax to work with all of them and with the countless applications already developed in C.

If you’re searching for good resources to get started or to expand your current knowledge, here is a complete catalog of C programming courses.

3- C++ Language

What is C++?

C++ language was developed in 1983 and considered an object-oriented version of C language.

What is C++ used for?

C++ is one of the most widely used languages in the world (this is why it couldn't be let off of the list of top programming languages). Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Winamp, and the complete suite of Adobe Software were developed using C++.

Why is C++ a top programming language?

Apart from that, several advanced games and operating systems – like Windows – have been developed in C++ due to its quick processing and compilation mechanism. Also, The job market highly demands C++ developers and the number of vacancies is growing.

You can visit this list of C++ courses to learn how to program in this language.

4- Java

What is Java?

James Gosling developed Java in 1990 at Sun Microsystems. Java further adds to the capabilities of C++ language. It is often said that Java owes a lot to C and C++ in terms of features and capabilities. The special thing about Java is that this is the first purely object-oriented programming language.

Java utilizes the principle of WORA (Write Once Run Anywhere). This feature adds to the portability of Java. You just need to compile Java Source code once and then on any machine where JVM (Java Virtual Machine is installed), you can run that code irrespective of the underlying operating system and hardware.

What is Java used for?

Java language is used to develop enterprise level applications and video games; it can be employed to develop web-based applications when used with JSP (Java Server Pages). Java has a huge job market with attractive incentives. This is a must learn. Definitely, a top programming language for every aspiring programmer.

Why is Java a top programming language?

Java teaches you to think like a programmer. It's an Object Oriented Programming language, helping to keep the system modular, flexible, and extensible.

The Java developer is among the most in-demand careers in 2021, considering the average salary, market demand, and professionals' satisfaction. Therefore, this professional is one of the most sought after by companies.

This ultimate list of Java courses will help you master your skills.

5- C#

What is C#?

C# belongs to Microsoft’s family of programming language and was developed in 2000 to be the part of the first-ever release of Microsoft’s prestigious .NET framework.

C# is very similar to Java in terms of capabilities. C# combines the robustness of C++ with the advanced features of Java. Therefore, if you are good at Java, it is extremely easy to switch to C# and vice-versa.

What is C# used for?

C# language is used to develop almost all types of software applications that come with Visual Studio IDE. If you are developing a dynamic web-based application in ASP.NET, you will be required to code in C# or VB to write backend handling mechanisms.

If you are developing a Windows form application or a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application, you will be required to code in C#. Similarly, if you are developing a Windows phone application, again you will be required to code in C#.

Why is C# a top programming language?

Keeping in view the importance of the usage of C# in Microsoft’s application, you should definitely consider it if you are looking to develop applications for Windows-based platforms.

The job market for C# programmers is also good, and you can find a lucrative job being a C# programmer.

Explore the fundamentals of C# with this list of courses.

6- Objective C

What is Objective C?

Objective-C was initially developed at Apple by Brad Cox and Tom Love, in 1983. The purpose of developing Objective-C programming language was to address the deficiencies in C language.

What is Objective C used for?

The major shortcoming in C language was object orientation which provoked many developers to devise languages that incorporate an object-oriented paradigm. As a result, C++ and Object-C were developed. However, the latter has gained immense popularity owing to its use in developing applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Why is Objective C a top programming language?

Sound knowledge of Objective-C would be helpful in landing you a job in companies that develop Apple based software applications. In addition to that, the freelance industry also has a huge demand for Objective-C coders across the globe.

Just getting started? Learn to code in Objective-C with this collection of courses.

7- PHP

What is PHP?

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is one of the top programming languages used to develop dynamic websites worldwide. PHP was developed in 1995 and is a server-side scripting language which means that PHP code is processed on the server and end the result is sent to the user of the website in the form of plain HTML. PHP is an open-source language which means that there are thousands of already built modules that can be modified to achieve the desired functionality.

What is PHP used for?

Also, PHP is easy to learn. You simply have to embed the code inside HTML. And, if there was anything left, there are hundreds of PHP platforms available such as Joomla,WordPresss, and Drupal that allow you to develop websites even more conveniently.

Why is PHP a top programming language?

PHP is one language that every programmer should learn if he or she plans to pursue a web developer’s career. PHP is also an integral part of the famous LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL and PHP) platform that Facebook, Yahoo, and other famous websites use. PHP has a huge job market, though not as highly paid when compared to ASP.NET developers; PHP developers easily find decent jobs.

Some easy and comprehensive PHP Tutorials in our PHP section.

8- Python

What is Python?

Python is another top programming language and is often considered one of the easiest languages to learn, owing to its simplicity, readability, and straight forward syntax. Python was developed by Guido Van Rossum in 1989. Python wasn’t used that widely in the past; however, the language has seen a great surge in popularity in the recent years owing to Google’s investment in the language in the past 10 years or so.

What is Python is used for?

Python allows programming for the web, mobile and games, between basic and advanced applications. Due to its ability to process large databases, it is also widely used in scientific computing, data science , Artificial Intelligence and its sub-areas, such as machine learning and deep learning .

Currently, some highly famous and robust sites are operating in this programming language, including pinterest.com, instagram.com, and rdio.com.

Why is Python a top programming language?

Python is quickly becoming the top choice among developers for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and deep learning projects.

Like PHP, Python also has associated web frameworks which make it more convenient to develop web-based applications in python. Django is one such platform which powers the aforementioned sites.

Here is a shortcut to finding the best selection of Python courses.

9- Ruby

What is Ruby?

Designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995, Ruby powers Ruby on Rails, a web development framework on which numerous renowned websites including Github, Scribd, Yammer, Shopify, and Groupon have been developed.

What is Ruby used for?

Similar to Python, Ruby is also a simple and readable top programming language mainly focused on developing web-based applications. Airbnb, Twitter, RGithub, Scribd, Shopify and Groupon are well-known companies that use Ruby

Why is Ruby a top programming language?

Ruby is regarded as a combination of some of the most famous features of Lisp, Perl, and Eiffel. Ruby also has got a good job market and Ruby developers are being paid decently at the moment.

Learn Ruby quickly and painlessly with one of these courses!

10- SQL

What is SQL?

SQL (Structured Query Language) is the standard language for relational database management systems. It is not exactly a programming language but a query to databases. It is characterized by being simple and easy to use, even for beginners.

What is SQL used for?

SQL provides a standardized way of interacting with the underlying database of an application. It is extremely simple to learn and is probably closest to the English language in terms of syntax. Almost every application has a back-end database and in order to interact with that, you will need to have sound knowledge of SQL.

Why is SQL a top programming language?

SQL alone is not that beneficial in terms of job placement; however, good command of SQL can help you stand out from the crowd. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you learn it.

You can choose one of these SQL courses to start!

11- R Language

What is R?

R is used for statistical computing and graphics. Besides being a programming language, it is also an environment. R is widely used in fields like Data Science and M achine Learning . This language is highly extensible and provides a broad variety of statistical and graphical techniques. Due to its expressive syntax and easy-to-use interface, it has become a popular language in recent years.

What is R used for?

R is free to download as it is licensed under the terms of GNU General Public License. Its packages are available under the same license so you can use them, even in commercial applications. R runs on all platforms - Windows, Linux and Mac. If we break down the use of R by industry, we see that academics come first, it is also the first choice in the healthcare industry, followed by government and consulting.

Why is R a top programming language?

R has been growing in the market and becoming a very popular programming language. As artificial intelligence and data analysis applications are becoming more popular and this trend is not ending in the next few years, the demand for professionals who master this language, especially in large companies, should also grow.

If you want to learn R , check this page out.

12- Matlab

What is MATLAB?

MATLAB is used to perform numerical analysis, matrix calculation, signal processing and graphing in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed only mathematically, unlike traditional programming.

What is MATLAB used for?

MATLAB is an interactive system whose basic information element is a matrix that does not require sizing. This system allows solving many numerical problems in only a fraction of the time it would take to write a similar program in other languages when performing signal processing and communications, image and video processing, control systems, test and measurement, computational finance, and computational biology.

Why is MATLAB a top programming language?

MATLAB mastery is a huge advantage to anyone interested in science, engineering, and applied mathematics. Mainly if you’re interested in building a career in universities, large companies, or in specific areas of engineering and automation.

Find a Matlab course on this link.

13- Elixir

What is Elixir?

Developed by José Valim (a Brazilian engineer), Elixir is an open-source language that runs on the Erlang Virtual Machine (a virtual machine created by Ericsson), Elixir was first presented in the Ruby on Rails community, because that's where it’s creator came from.

What is Elixir used for?

The main goal is to provide productive programming for secure and easy-to-maintain distributed applications, leveraging the virtual machine resources on which it is built without performance costs.

Mainly used by web developers, Elixir is being used by companies such as Pinterest, Moz, Bet365, Whatsapp and others.

Why is Elixir a top programming language?

Elixir dates from 2012, but since the beginning presented a pretty active and collaborative community and this is one of the factors that made this language get popular quickly.

Find Elixir courses on this link.

14- Swift

What is Swift?

It is a fantastic way to write software, whether it’s for phones, desktops, servers, or anything else that runs code.

What is Swift used for?

Swift is used in the development of apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

Why is Swift a top programming language?

Learning Swift has become a great introduction to modern programming concepts and best practices. The way it combines safety and speed makes Swift a great pick for everything from “Hello, world!” to an entire operating system.

Try one of these Swift courses.

15- Go Lang

What is Go Lang?

Go is an open source programming language created by Google in November 2009. It is a compiled language focused on concurrent programming and productivity. With Go, it is easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software.

The Go syntax is similar to C (with garbage collector and a vast standard library ) and unlike Java, associative vectors are an intrinsic part of the language as well as strings.

Where Go Lang is used?

Developed by Google, it is one of the main languages used in the company's services. But it is also found in other popular programs, such as SoundCloud, Netflix, Uber and Dropbox. Docker and Kubernetes, container technologies, also use Go.

Why is Go a top programming language?

Although it is not yet as popular as other existing programming languages, it is a modern, lightweight and expanding system that is still gaining market share. Some professionals project that this language will replace Java in the next few years.

Master your set of skills with Go courses from this list.

Top Programming Languages Applicability

Here goes a list of programming professions and their requirements. These info-graphics will help you know what skills must be mastered and which roles fits your profile better:

Game Developer

Web Developer

Mobile App Developer

Data Scientist

Job Opportunities for the Top Programming Languages

According to one of the most renowned jobs search engines, this is the ranking for job opportunities in programming:

Programming Languages ranked by job availability

Which of the above Languages should you choose?

You were introduced to the top programming languages, their applicability in development professions and their job market, but the question still lingers... Which language is the best? According to this video, you should pick either Python or JavaScript to begin:

But, the truth is: only you can answer this question. The following are some of the factors that you should take into account while selecting a particular language to learn.

  • What the requirements of the application you want to develop; web-based, desktop or mobile application?
  • What your personal interests are; commercial or open source technologies?
  • What the job market of the language is.
  • The learning curve for a particular language.

Interested in frontend development? Read ou article about the top bootstrap alternatives!

Though these are some general guidelines, in the current market where job competition is at its peak, you must be proficient in at least one web-based language, one desktop-based programming language, and at least one mobile platform, in order to stand out among contemporary programmers.

Felipe Bernardes

I am an economist responsible for Marketing and SEO strategies at Classpert. I usually write about entrepreneurship, e-learning platforms, marketing, SEO, stock trading, and related subjects.