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Top programming languages to learn in 2021

What are the top programming languages to learn?

This is a common question. But, the answer is not that simple. There are many factors that should be taken into account while selecting the top programming languages and where to start.

Technology evolves in matter of weeks and by the time you become expert in a particular software technology, it can already be considered obsolete.

Another extremely important thing to note is that the top programming languages vary greatly in terms of functionality and complexity. The answer to what programming language you should learn majorly depends upon the type of task you want to perform.

Let us explain it a bit better...

For instance, if you are developing some static web-based application, you might need to learn simple HTML. Conversely, if you want to develop a more dynamic application with advanced capabilities, you might need to learn ASP.NET, PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails (learn how to get started in our article about Rails for Zombies), or more common now, JavaScript and accompanying framework. Desktop and mobile applications have different requirements as well.

One interesting aspect of programming is that not only programmers and software engineers are interested in learning new programming languages, but people from totally different walks of life are also into it.

At first site, programming looks like something from outer space. But, we have good news for you! In this article, you'll learn that programming is not limited to programmers. With rigorous practice and attention, anyone, yes anyone, can program.

Now, back to the top programming languages...

Here goes a list of 15 to help you decide from where to start. Also, you're gonna find a number of typical “developer types” so you know better what they do, what kind of skills you must master and which languages most meets the needs of each “profile”.

Let’s get started!

The Top Programming Languages List


Javascript is one of the most popular languages for web development due to its ubiquity and simplicity. It was born 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. And so, this is a required language if you wish to become a web developer.

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!

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 important, 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 courses catalog in our Javascript section.

C Language

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

A bit of history: 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.

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

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

C++ Language

Though C language was performing extremely well, it lacked object orientation. In order to address this issue, C++ language was developed in 1983 which is often considered an object-oriented version of C language.

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

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.


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 i.e. “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.

Java language is used to develop enterprise level application 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 programmer.

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


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.

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 mechanism. 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#.

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 thefundamentals of C# with this list of courses.

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. The major shortcoming in C language was object orientation which provoked many developers to devise languages that incorporate 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.

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.


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 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.

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, WordPress, and Drupal that allow you to develop websites even more conveniently.

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 much highly paid when compared to ASP.NET developers; PHP developers easily find decent jobs.

Some easy and comprehensive PHP Tutorials in our PHP section.


Python is another top programming language and is often considered on the easiest language to learn, owing to its simplicity, readability, and straight forward syntax.Python was developed by Guido Van Rossum in 1991. 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.

Currently, some highly famous and robust sites are operating in this top programming language. Including,, and

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 sites aforementioned.

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


Similar to Python, Ruby is also a simple and readable top programming language mainly focused on developing web-based applications.

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.

Ruby is regarded as a combination of some of the most famous features of Lisp, Pearl, 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!


SQL is not a development language, it is actually a database query language. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. 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.

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

You can choose one of these SQL courses to start!

R Language

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 Machine 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.

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 run in 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.

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


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.

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.

Find a Matlab course on this link.


Elixir is an open-source language that runs on the Erlang Virtual Machine (a virtual machine created by Ericsson), whose 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.

Developed by José Valim (a Brazilian engineer), Elixir was first presented in the middle of the Ruby on Rails community, because that's where it’s creator came from. 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.

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

Find Elixir courses on this link.


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

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 standard library vast and cool) and unlike Java, associative vectors are an intrinsic part of the language as well as strings.

A curiosity about Go is that a few days after the launch of the language, Fancis McCabe, developer of another language called Go!, requested a change of the name of the language of Google, to avoid confusion. McCabe created Go! in 2003, but never registered the name…

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 Language to choose from the above?

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. 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 are; 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.