Programmers are in high demand these days–their fluency in coding language is invaluable. Knowing various programming languages is a no-brainer for engineers, but a basic understanding of the languages can benefit anyone, even if you’re not looking to become a master coder. Grasping some general understanding of coding can help you make the right hires for your business needs, communicate better with the engineers on your team, and prevent any awkward misunderstandings (Ruby isn’t a gem, and Java isn’t an excellent cup of coffee). Plus, with the high salaries earned for coding, you might want to consider it for a future career move! So what do you need to know?
Here are the 10 most popular programming languages:
Java is top pick as one of the most popular programming languages, used for building server-side applications to video games and mobile apps. It’s also the core foundation for developing Android apps, making it a favorite of many programmers. With its WORA mantra (write once, run anywhere), it’s designed to be portable and run happily across multiple software platforms. I first got started with Java server programming back in 1999–it was so exciting, I actually wrote a few books about it. Java is everybody’s pal!
Python is a one-stop shop. There’s a Python framework for pretty much anything, from web apps to data analysis. In fact, WordStream is written in Python! You’re the best bud. Python is often heralded as the easiest programming language to learn, with its simple and straightforward syntax. Python has risen in popularity due to Google’s investment in it over the past decade (in fact, one recent study has shown Python to be the most commonly taught programming language in U.S. schools). Other applications built with Python include Pinterest and Instagram.
If you saw C on a report card, you’d be pretty bummed. Maybe a bit confused, too (is it actually a B-?). However, C is not the bizarrely bad grade it seems to be. It’s often the first programming language taught in college (well, it was for me 10 years ago). I thought it was a nice “in-between” language in that it was object oriented without having to be fanatical about it. It was also low level enough to be close to hardware, but no so low level that you had to do everything manually. Because there are so many C compilers, you can write stuff in C and have it run pretty much anywhere.
Ruby (also known as Ruby on Rails) is a major supplier of web apps. Ruby is popular due to its ease of learning (it’s very straightforward) and power. Ruby knowledge is in high demand these days!
C# (pronounced C-sharp, not C-hashtag for you Twitter fans) is the language used in order to develop Microsoft apps. C# is syntactically nearly identical to Java. I’ve spent much time training with C#, but if you’re good at Java, you’ll likely have an easy time jumping onto C#. If you’re looking to work on Microsoft apps, C# is the way to go. C# opens a lot of Windows (har-har).
PHP (which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, if you care to know) is often used in conjunction with dynamic data-heavy websites and app development. It provides a ton of power and is the beating heart of monster sites like WordPress and Facebook. What’s really cool about PHP is that it’s an open-source language, so there are tons of free pre-built modules that you can grab and modify to get your ideal results. PHP is also on the easy end of the learning spectrum, simply requiring you to embed the code within HTML. PHP is a must-learn language for aspiring web developers.
Objective-C is the programming language behind iOS apps. Apple’s new language Swift is rising in the ranks, but Objective-C is still the recommended starting point for those looking to craft Apple apps for iPhones and iPads. Next stop–the iOS App Store!
SQL is a database query language (SQL stands for Structured Query Language) that’s ideal when talking big data. SQL lets you siphon helpful data from massive databases. Nearly every app has a backend database, and SQL is the language that helps you interact with that sweet data. In terms of software development, SQL isn’t ever used alone–rather, you invoke SQL from some other programming knowledge and you have yourself a nice package deal.
C is the predecessor to more complex programming languages like Java and C#. C is best when you want to work small and when dealing with low-level applications. It’s widely used for embedded systems like the firmware of your television or the operating system of an airplane, as well as computer operating systems like Windows. For me personally, C was more of an academic language. It was nice to learn how to write a kernel back in college, and you gain a more solid understanding of how newer languages work under the covers, but it’s rare for most application developers to ever have to use this today.
There you have it–the king languages of coding. What’s your programming language of choice and why? If you’re a newbie looking to dive into coding, take a look at these nine spots on the web where you can learn to code (for free)! You’ll be a code master in no time.
Editorial Disclosure: Inc. writes about products and services in this and other articles. These articles are editorially independent – that means editors and reporters research and write on these products free of any influence of any marketing or sales departments. In other words, no one is telling our reporters or editors what to write or to include any particular positive or negative information about these products or services in the article. The article’s content is entirely at the discretion of the reporter and editor. You will notice, however, that sometimes we include links to these products and services in the articles. When readers click on these links, and buy these products or services, Inc may be compensated. This e-commerce based advertising model – like every other ad on our article pages – has no impact on our editorial coverage. Reporters and editors don’t add those links, nor will they manage them. This advertising model, like others you see on Inc, supports the independent journalism you find on this site.