Top 5 Programming Languages to Learn in 2020

Newcomers to the field of software development often ask themselves the same two questions : “Where do I start?” or “What programming language should I learn first?”. If this is your case as well, there’s no need to worry, we’ve all been there.

With hundreds of programming languages to choose from, it can be a quite a challenge picking the one that best suits you or your career goals. Today, developers utilize more programming languages then ever before and some languages that are cornerstones of a specific programming domain might be be completely useless in another.

A good way to choose what the market thinks is “best” or what is in high demand for the moment is to observe where the tech trend is going as most projects will be in need of developers that are familiar with the languages of the “now”. Additionally, it is always good to branch out after becoming somewhat proficient in one language to keep your skills relevant should the trend change.

Below we will touch upon 5 of the most popular programming languages out there.

1.JavaScript

Ranking first on Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey (and for 7 years in a row for that matter), it is almost impossible to see today’s internet without Javascript, as most web developers default to using it. Javascript can be defined as a feature rich object based scripting language which is lightweight, flexible and most importantly, powerful. Most of the webpages you access today have javascript built into them. The popularity of JavaScript can also be linked to the rise of frameworks like jQuery, Angular and React JS. If your plan is to go into webdevelopment, there isn’t a better programming language to start learning first.

Here are a few things you should know if you want to start learning JavaScript :

  • Acording to Indeed.com, the average annual salary of U.S. based developer is $109,462
  • It is currently the most popular programming language on GitHub
  • It has gone down in popularity on Google trends in the past year, having a rating of 84 in 2019 while in 2018 it had a peak score of 100

2.Python

Python is a general purpose, user friendly programming language that is both versatile and powerful. Often used in back-end development, especially coupled with Django, Pyramid and Turbo Gear, it easy to learn and has a variety of features, thus making it very popular. It is also commonly found in the fields of scientific computing, mathematics and engineering.

Despite being second on this list, Python has overthrown Java as the most taught programming language in universities and academia. The reason behind this is also due to the wide range of applications, from 2D imaging, creating video games and 3D animation to name a few.

Here are a few facts about Python:

  • The average annual salary for a Python Developer in the U.S. is $117,503 as per Indeed.com
  • #4 on Stack Overflow’s most popular technologies list, and #2 on their most loved programming languages list.
  • Second most active programming language on GitHub

3.Java

Java is one of the most common, in-demand and oldest programming languages of today. Most of your favorite games and web apps have Java built into them. One of it’s key features is the independence it has from other platforms, and it essentially helps developers “write once, work anywhere”(WORA). Java can be found in almost everywhere and the demand for developers that have strong skills in this programming language is still very high, even though the technology itself is quite old.

It is present in almost 3 billion devices and is recognized for its scalability and the fact it can be easily ported across multiple platforms. It boasts high performance, strong memory management, top-end security and backwards compatibility. It is the favorite programming langage of Fortuna 500 companies, with roughly 90 percent of using Java to build their applications and back end systems. Some of the companies are Twitter, Amazon , Google and Youtube.

Some facts about Java:

  • The average annual salary for a Java Developer in the U.S. is $101,929 as per Indeed.com
  • Ranks third as GitHub’s most active programming language
  • It holds the number 10 spot on Stack Overflow’s most dreaded programming languages to learn or use

4.C/C++

C is one of the most impactful programming languages. It was introduced in the late 1970s and is considered the parent language or at least inspired other language such as Java, C# and Objective-C. One of the most popular OS, Linux, is entirely based on C. Simple, yet powerful it provides a structured approach to any application where performance is a critical component. Regardless of its age, C++ able developers have remained high in demand throughout the years.

The most common applications of C++ are found in performance intensive tasks, such as scripting, mobile applications and game development. Two of the most well-known projects built with C++ are Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome, and companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google and Nvidia to name a few are always on the lookout for skilled C++ developers.

Some facts about C++:

  • The average annual salary for a C++ Developer in the U.S. is $111,239 as per Indeed.com
  • Ranks fifth as GitHub’s most active programming language
  • Eighth most dreaded language according to Stack Overflow

5.Go

Created by none other than the tech giant Google, Go is one of the late comers to the programming world. It is widely used because of its open-source status, making it very handy for creating secure, simple and responsive software. It is also very newbie friendly, but that does not mean it is any less powerful. If the prospect of learning a programming language scares you, then Go would be the best place to start.

Google has optimized Go to be extremely memory efficient coupled with high speed and high performance similar to C/C++. Go is also used in some of the most well-known blockchain projects, such as Ethereum or Hyperledger Blockchain, and many startups choose to roll with Go due to how versatile and powerful it is.

Some facts about Go:

  • The average annual salary for a Go Developer in the U.S. is $136k as per Indeed.com
  • Ranks Third as the highest paying programming language in Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey
  • Fourth most active language on GitHub

Conclusion

These 5 programming languages are the backbone of many successful applications and companies, but in the end, there are plenty of other programming languages to learn, with new ones being created almost every year. It is up to you to choose the one that you think will benefit you most in the long run, but it is always good to stay up-to-date with new (and even old) technologies. The most important step is to choose one to begin with, and see where that leads you. As technology progresses, there will always be a demand for skilled developers, even for the most niche of languages.

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