Top 10 Programming Languages to Learn in 2020

Programming has long ceased to be the nerdy computing jargon of software developers and tech geeks. It has become an imperative business skill in today’s digital business environment, that every ambitious and dynamic employee must acquire to some degrees. There are 600 prominent programming languages in the world as of now. Today most people have a fairly clear idea about what a basic programming language is, can name a few and most likely even know at least one Plus, learning programming languages increases your chances of getting into data analysis jobs exponentially. Data Science is being called the sexiest job of the 21st Century, and if you can learn to program, that directly sets you on the path to data science.

The Information Technology industry is recruiting whopping numbers of Software Engineers as of today. The bias of people who earlier looked at IT jobs as dreary and insipid is fast morphing into one of cognizance and approbation. So, what are the best programming languages to learn? Whether you are just starting out and interested in knowing about a few of the options among beginner’s programming languages, or a coder looking to add more programming languages to an already impressive repertoire, we present to you a list of the top 10 top programming languages that are being used to make computers more powerful.

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Top Programming Languages

1. Python

Python is a highly sought-after programming language, and beginners too can dive in to learn. This programming language has been around for nearly 30 years but is now gaining immense popularity among developers as the ultimate programming tool for data manipulation. It is the best tool one can use for automating repeated tasks. For students already familiar with basic programming languages like C or C++, and concepts such as variables, operators, loops etc. it is considerably easy to grasp Python and use it meaningfully to increase their productivity at work and reduce the time taken to perform tedious tasks. The Glassdoor estimates the average Python Developer’s’ salary at $76,526.

Python programming language pros

Python is a free, dynamic, versatile, easily readable and useful tool for exploratory data analysis, especially effective while working with smaller datasets. There is an impressive scope for collaboration, as Python has one of the liveliest programmer’s community. The syntax is simpler, and it’s easier to write a code in Python than it is to write one using C or C++.

Python programming language cons

Python is not the fastest programming language out there, and if speed is one of the key considerations to your project, you may be better off using the likes of Java or Ada. It is also not the preferred language for mobile computing and has in fact, been passed over by both Android and iOS.

2. Java

Java is the oldest computer programming language being used today. It was developed by a computer scientist called James Gosling at an American IT company called Sun Microsystems. This was in the early 1990s. They were later acquired by Oracle. Java is easy to learn because it has a simpler syntax akin to English. Java has been ranked number one on the TIOBE index for three years in a row. Java Developers earn around $101,929 per year reports PayScale.

Java programming language pros

Java is the most widely used programming language extensively used for developing mobile and web applications. It is a secure language and is platform-independent, which is to say the programs written using Java can be run using any software or hardware platform. It has multithreading, so it’s possible to run various tasks concurrently inside a program. Another great advantage of Java for beginners is that as a language that has been around for almost two decades, there is a wealth of material available online for anyone who wants to learn. It’s an almost 100% Object Oriented Programming Language.

Java programming language cons

Like Python, Java too has speed limitations of its own. It also consumes more memory than C or C++. Though Java’ garbage collection feature has its advantages, every time it runs, it impacts the performance of the application. Many also complain that the look and feel of the interface is not cutting edge.

3. C

C was originally designed in the early 70s. It is used for writing operating systems as well as more complex programs. In fact, it was invented to write the UNIX operating system. Other applications written in C are MySQL, VLC Media Player, Adobe Suite, Mozilla Firefox etc. For anyone who is starting out in their programming career, it is imperative to learn C. Today it has become the most widely used System Programming Language. Indeed.com estimates the average annual salary of a C programmer anywhere between $63,520 and $130,319.

C programming language pros

C is fast, easy and efficient. It is irreplaceable as it is the core constituent of so many other programming languages. There are as few as 32 keywords in C that have several built-in functions, which are extremely helpful when building programs in C. C offers dynamic memory allocation which means it is possible to allocate memory at runtime.

C programming language cons

C doesn’t support object-oriented programming. It is also not possible to do runtime checking so that errors or bugs are not immediately detectable after each line of coding. It has no concept of namespaces. As a compiled language, once a program is written using C, it must be run through a C compiler. However, a C compiler is free, and this is not a great disadvantage.

4. C++

C++ is an object-oriented, general-purpose programming language that was developed as an extension of C. It had the properties of C and the added concept of classes, i.e., data types with data members and member functions. Naturally, this makes C++ a hybrid language, as coding is possible in both C as well as OOP. C++ is extensively used for system programming, application software, drivers and embedded firmware. According to Indeed.com, the average annual salary of a C++ developer is approximately $ 107,642.

C++ programming language pros

Being a middle-level programming language, it combines features of both high and low-level languages. C++ is reliable and fast. Anyone who learns C++ will gain an understanding of different programming approaches and especially the OOP programming approach. It is easier to learn Java or C Sharp for programmers comfortable coding in C++. It has a large community and easy availability of online resources for learning and collaboration. Other advantages of C++ are scalability (its ability to run on a small scale as well as large scale data).

C++ programming language cons

C++ doesn’t have built-in threads. C++ doesn’t have a feature akin to garbage-collector that might filter out unnecessary data. C++ uses pointers, which consumes much memory and can be a difficult concept for early learners.

5. R

R is fast emerging as a top programming language in demand. It is extensively used in statistical computing, data analytics and research and marketing. It is possible to learn R quite easily owing to the crisp syntax and uncomplicated interface. It is open-source, hence free and can be easily downloaded in most machines. R is platform-independent and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. IEEE ranked R as the 5th most popular programming language in 2016. In 2015 R held the 6th position in this same survey. R is being used by giants like Twitter, Ford, Microsoft and Google. The average annual salary of the R programmer is approximately $70,187 says Indeed.com. This figure rises steeply for a Data Scientist with knowledge of R.

R programming language pros

R boasts an impressive repository of useful packages that appeal to all sections of the business community. Packages like dplyr and readr have been extremely well received in areas of data manipulation and plotting, while packages like Shiny and Markdown are favoured for reporting end results of different analysis. R is compatible with several other programming languages like C, C++, Java and Python. It is the lingua franca of statistics. R facilitates statistical operations, such as classification and regression.

R programming language cons

The basic R package doesn’t support 3D graphics. Objects are stored in physical memory. R by itself cannot handle Big-data, but it’s a limitation easily circumnavigated by integrating it with Hadoop. R is not as secure as some of the other programming languages out there.

6. Ruby

Ruby is a high level, an open-source, general-purpose programming language developed in the mid-1990s in Japan. It has a very natural syntax which makes it convenient and beginner-friendly. It is, in fact, the go-to framework for many start-ups and novice coders owing to the excellent ease of prototyping it offers. It is an OOP language and supports all regular platforms like Linux, Windows and Mac. Their package manager RubyGems offers standard formats for Ruby programs and libraries. Ruby is being used by websites like Airbnb, Hulu and Kickstarter. Indeed.com has estimated the average annual salary of a Ruby on Rails developer at $123,118.

Ruby programming language pros

The natural and elegant syntax allows for short and succinct codes. Ruby was the 4thmost in-demand programming skill on Angel List. Since it is the preferred language for Start-up businesses, and start-ups are booming everywhere, Ruby skills are surely an unmistakable shot at employability. Ruby has the 5th largest meetup community and the 8th largest StackOverflow community.

Ruby programming language cons

When creating larger and more complex apps, it may become difficult to track errors, so it is not a very scalable language in that aspect. Ruby is slow, a downside of the extreme flexibility of this language which may make referencing required by the machine rather time-consuming.

7. Scala

Scala is a highly scalable, object-oriented, functional programming language, first developed in 2003 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. Soon after it revolutionized the world of Big-Data, Twitter uses Scala to manage their Big-data. Scala is an upgrade of Java, designed to do away with unnecessary codes, supports higher-order functions and nesting. PayScale estimates the average annual salary of a software engineer with Scala skills at $107,903 approximately.

Scala programming language pros

It has a simple and lightweight syntax, which makes it easy to learn. Scala is statically typed and does not require rewriting. Being a multi-paradigm language, since it supports both object-oriented and functional programming, Scala gives the developer an opportunity to explore both.

Scala programming language cons

Being a multi-paradigm language it can be slightly difficult to understand type-information. It lacks any real tail-recursive optimization, a drawback that is marginally compensated for by using @tailrec annotation. It does not have a prolific developer pool.

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8. Ada

Ada was developed in the mid-1970s in the Us Defence as a single language that would be capable of replacing the number of other programming languages used in the embedded computer systems of the military. It was further developed in the late 1990s to add features of object-oriented programming and transmitted to the sphere avionics, rockets and satellites. The average annual salary for an Ada developer has been estimated between $77,998 and 79,692, according to PayScale.

Ada programming language pros

With the Contract based features introduced in the newer versions of Ada, testing is characteristically built into the language, which reduces the testing time and costs exponentially. Extensive research is happening in the area of Multicore support. This is an architecture that can enable a single silicon chip to hold up to 64 processing units. As a high-level programming language, Ada is extremely well-defined and offers flexibility, security, multiple inheritances, multithreading and all the features that make it the programming language to generate reliable software.

Ada programming language cons

Considerable amount of time and efforts are required to make a code compliable. Research and revisions are ongoing.

9. Swift

Swift was developed by Apple Inc. about six years ago for iOS and created to be easily integrated with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks and existing Objective-C codes, which is another object-oriented programming language that is described as an extension of the standard C language. Swift is often described as Objective-C without C. It is friendly to new programmers. According to Indeed.com, a Swift developer’s average annual salary ranges from $92,773 to $125,626.

Swift programming language pros

Swift is lightning, fast and safe. It beats Objective-C in speed. It is cutting-edge with extremely modern features such as closures, type inference, generics, namespaces and multiple return types. The syntax is concise, and the language is native to Cocoa and Cocoa Touch, and it is built with the same compiler as objective-C, has the same ARC memory management and runtime as Objective-C which makes it possible for coders to fit their Swift codes apace with their C codes. Swift is interactive. It has an innovative feature of Playgrounds. Swift has extremely powerful string processing capabilities. It is possible to build anything with Swift, from a social media app to a complex 3D game.

Swift programming language cons

Swift has limited native libraries and tools. Also, the number of Swift Developers around are fewer compared to languages like Java or C. However, the community is burgeoning fast, and there is a great market for Swift Developers.

10. Kotlin

Kotlin was developed at JetBrains a decade ago. Kotlin is another general-purpose, open-source programming language. Beginners may enrol, however for anyone who is already familiar with Java; the learning curve is rather shallow as in both cases compilation is done on Bytecode executed by JVM. Albeit it has some advantages over Java for JVM and Android development. It eliminates the limitation of Java 7 on Android and is becoming extremely popular with Android software developers. It was endorsed by Google in 2017. Kotlin combines object-oriented programming with safety and interoperability. A Kotlin programmers’ annual salary has been estimated at $97,000 by PayScale.

Kotlin programming language pros

It is the preferred language for Android app development, and what’s more, it’s also used for writing iOS applications. Though its syntax is distinct from Java, it is able to interoperate with Java code. Bigwigs like Uber, Pinterest, Atlassian have used Kotlin for android app development. Kotlin proffers tremendous support for functional programming despite being an object-oriented language so that it combines the best of both. Kotlin is easier and cheaper to maintain and is emerging as a legitimate successor of Java. Kotlin is still being developed so we can be sure that the language will see further improvements in future. The Kotlin Coroutines released not too long ago and available in many languages, is a library of asynchronous, stackless programming. Coroutines are described in the official Kotlin website as lightweight threads that are cheap and almost free. Kotlin is less buggy and more reliable.

Kotlin programming language cons

Notwithstanding the increasing popularity of Kotlin, there still are fewer recruitable experts as of today. Yet this can easily translate to greater demand for a Kotlin expert in the job market. But it also means that the Kotlin developers’ community is not that prolific and learning resources are not easily available as in case of Java.

We hope that our list of top programming languages will set you off in the right direction to realize your dream of becoming a coder. It doesn’t matter if you are not an engineer or have never worked in Information technology before, once you understand the basic concepts of coding, so many opportunities will open up to finally steer your career in the direction you’ve always desired.

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