Popular modern programming languages to learn for career progressionPosted on: February 14, 2022
by Ruth Brooks
Software development has progressed greatly since the inception of the Internet in the 1980s. As businesses become more digital-savvy, and as businesses are increasingly either predominantly or entirely based online, there has never been a better time to learn a modern programming language.
Learning a modern programming language takes time and patience, but whether you’re looking to learn your first or if you’re looking to add another one to your skill set, in the modern world of work this skill is invaluable.
A brief history of modern programming languages
Prior to this, the most common programming languages were C and C++. Both of these were powerful and had formed the basis of software development, but as is now the norm for modern technology, an evolution was required. Despite the upsides of C and C++, they were not suited to the world wide web, and were considered complicated to new programmers.
In the 2000s, computing machines started to have multiple processors and many individual processors had more than one core. This change to computing hardware required programming languages that could adapt to the new technology. In order for these new multi-core processors to work at their full capacity, programming languages needed to be able to execute processes concurrently or in parallel.
Modern machines are powerful, and so they require programming languages which are quick and easy to read and write for optimum programmer productivity.
What are the most popular programming languages?
Different programming languages are used for different types of development, so choosing a programming language to learn will largely depend on what your career goals are. If you’re looking to learn a programming language, it is also worth considering not only the most commonly used languages, but the languages which are growing in popularity. By learning a programming language that is growing in popularity, you will develop skills that are in-demand in today’s job market.
The most in-demand programming languages for the different types of software development are:
- Game development: Unity and TypeScript
- Desktop applications: Scala, Go, and Python
- Systems programming: Go and Rust
Used for app development of iOS and macOS mobile applications, Swift was released by Apple in 2014.
Whilst still a relatively new modern programming language, iOS apps hold their place as the most profitable in the mobile app marketplace and iPhone use across the globe continues to grow, so learning this language could be an investment to futureproof your career.
Scala has similar features to Java such as its Object-Oriented Structure and speedy JVM runtime environment, but can also resemble pure math as a functional programming language.
It allows concurrent programming, and is a strongly typed language so engineers can customise their own data types making bugs impossible at runtime.
The first official version of Go was released in 2012 by Google. It is a low-level language, which is ideal for building web servers, data pipelines, and even veers into data science territory as it can be used in creating machine learning packages.
It is an open-source language, so developers can add their own contributions for other programmers to use.
Python is a popular first choice of programming languages to be learnt by beginners because it is user-friendly, clear, and intuitive.
Often used for back-end development, the open-source Django framework has been written in Python which is a popular choice and has been used in the development of Mozilla, Instagram, and Spotify.
What started as a thesis by a Harvard student has now become a popular modern programming language used by front-end developers.
Elm is another functional programming language which software engineers can use to create client-side interfaces without the constrictions often imposed by HTML and CSS.
Used as the basis for the Ruby on Rails web application framework, Ruby has an active community of users and straightforward syntax.
This scripting language is popular in the tech sector, and many start-ups have used Ruby on Rails to build their websites. Use cases include Airbnb, Bloomberg, and Shopify.
Pronounced ‘C Sharp’, C# was originally designed by Microsoft as part of its .NET framework for building Windows applications.
It is the go-to programming language for Microsoft app development, and is used by mobile developers to build cross-platform apps on the Xamarin platform. C# is also the recommended language for 3D and 2D video games and is used widely in VR development.
Become fluent in computer science
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