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A Comprehensive List of Programming Languages and Their Uses

Computer science is an ever-evolving field and the prospects are seamless. It is present in every industry and organization and has a vital role in the world economy. However, computers, by themselves, are useless when not fed with instructions. This is where the need for a programming language arises. 

There are many easy programming languages to learn in the industry, each suited for a different task. If scouring through a long list of languages is too tedious for you, then you’re in luck. This article is a one-stop solution for anyone new to programming. Read on to find out what a programming language is and which are the best ones in the industry.

What Is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a set of instructions designed to produce various types of outputs. Programming languages help us solve real-life problems. The general purpose of programming languages is to provide us with a convenient method of passing instructions to a computer. 

In the early 1970s, programming languages like C++ were introduced. Since then, new programming languages have been launched in the market year after year. With the rapid growth of the Internet in the mid-90s, more programming languages of various types came into the picture, each created for unique purposes.

Most Popular Programming Languages and Their Uses

Naming a single most productive programming language isn’t a cut and dry matter. That’s because programming languages each specialize in different areas. 

For instance, Java is one of the common go-to languages for backend developers while game developers usually opt for C++. To understand how each is distinct from one another, let’s take a look at several popular programming languages and the areas where they are used.

1. HTML. The Hypertext Markup Language or HTML is extensively used in web development. It was the first web development language to be created to structure the viewing page of any website. 

This language can be called the foundation of web pages and is one of the most-used scripting languages. Little wonder why it’s been called the “backbone of the Internet.”

2. Python. Python is an open-source and purely object-oriented programming language that’s been gaining huge fanfare among tech professionals due to its scope and simplicity.

Indeed, Python has become the language of choice of data scientists and machine learning engineers alike due to its large host of libraries. Its popularity has also extended to backend web developers who prefer it for its easy syntax and libraries, such as Django.

3. Java. With its great support for cross-platform programming, Java is one of the most extensively used programming languages. We can use it for practically anything, from Android app development to server-side development. If you want to make a career as a software developer, you can start by attending one of the best Java bootcamps on the market.

4. JavaScript. This programming language is meant for web development. It helps enhance HTML and makes web pages more engaging and interactive. It allows web pages to have dynamic content and is the foundational language of web 2.0. Also, the infinite scrolling option in Google Maps? That’s because of JavaScript.

5. C. This language is regarded as the mother of all languages since all programming languages derive their semantics from it. It boasts speed and allows for low-level hardware control.

C is the language of choice for operating systems programming and compilers for different languages. It’s also used in various games, graphics, and applications related to calculations.

6. C++. This is a modified version of the C language that’s just as fast yet more secure and supports object-oriented programming. C++ is extensively used in machine learning, specifically for programming GPUs. It’s also used in the development of gaming engines and is popular among game developers.

7. C#: This popular language is used in web applications, local applications, and microservices. C# was developed and introduced in 2000 by Microsoft and shares great similarities with Java. This language is the standard in developing modern Windows apps.

8. PHP. It is primarily used to support HTML-based web programs or websites. PHP is considered to be one of the most important languages for web development and is also comparatively easy to learn.

9. Ruby. Ruby is a multi-purpose, high-level programming language and one of the most creative languages to work with. Ruby is mostly used by startups and small businesses for developing web applications. If you want to build applications from scratch, then this language is for you.

10. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Web designers and web developers use this language. If you are interested in making websites, then CSS is a must-learn language as it helps make your website more presentable and attractive. This language is an easy and quick way to learn web design.

Other programming languages that are worth mentioning are Haskell, Erlang, and F#. These fall under functional programming languages and serve a different purpose from object-oriented programming languages. 

What Are the Job Prospects of a Programmer?

Man in a sweater holding a yellow sticky note with “code” written on it
Computer programming, as a whole, is a wide domain that involves the use of different programming languages. 

Technology plays a great role in ensuring any organization operates smoothly. Due to its ever-expanding and dynamic nature, coders are seldom out of job opportunities. Below are several career paths that a programmer could venture.

1. Web Developer. Web developers are responsible for the design and the behind-the-scenes functionality of any website we see online. Depending on your concentration, you can either be a front end web developer, a back-end web developer, or a full stack developer. 

A front end developer must learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, while a back-end developer must know languages like C++, C#, and Python, among others.

Because having an online presence is critical to a business’ success nowadays, companies in almost every industry have begun hiring web developers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web developers earned $73,760 last year, on average.

2. Computer Programmer. With just a bachelor’s degree, a computer programmer can earn up to $86,550 in a year. A computer programmer’s main job is to write bug-free programs. 

You might be assigned to develop a specific part of an application or to test the quality and effectiveness of software products by finding bugs. This job requires a lot of patience and practice as you’ll be required to deliver high-priority tasks on tight deadlines. The most commonly used languages in this domain are Java, C#, and JavaScript.

3. Software Application Developer. Aside from being one of the most highly paid jobs in the coding sector, software application developers also enjoy increasing employment rates. As the title implies, his/her main job is to create mobile or web applications. 

Besides coding proficiency, the role requires a knack for crunching numbers as well as excellent communication skills. The main programming languages used in this sector are Python, Java, and JavaScript.

4. Computer Systems Analyst. Computer system analysts work towards enhancing the productivity of computers by adding new software applications. They research new technologies and analyze the costs and benefits of such. As a computer analyst, you should be fluent in Java, Python, C, or C++.

How to Learn a Programming Language

As we already know, there are several programming languages, each suited for a different purpose. Let’s look at the different aspects that can help you choose which programming language to learn and get started on your coding journey.

1. Set a goal. You can start with any simple project where you create a small web page or design a simple app like a text editor. You can also design a simple game using gaming engines like the Unreal Engine. It would be best to choose what interests you, whether these are apps, games, or anything else.

2. Get the setup. After choosing your project, you need to choose an Integrated development environment. It can be as simple as a text editor, such as Notepad, or a complex IDE like the Pycharm

3. Opt for a Course or Coding Bootcamp. Certifications are important as they validate your skills, knowledge, and experience. There are several online as well as offline courses available that certify developers. The Oracle certification for Java programmers, for instance, is a great choice for those who want to fortify their skills as a Java developer. You can find programs that focus on a specific language, such as C# coding bootcamps or C++ bootcamps, as well as programs that tackle several languages as part of a wider discipline like web development or data science.

4. Explore available resources. Look up some books or join online training courses to learn how to program. You can also listen to podcasts about programming essentials, such as the languages, as delivered by programming experts. YouTube is a great free resource to learn how to program.

5. Bulk up on work experience. Once you’ve mastered a programming language, start searching for relevant internships and projects. These will help enhance your knowledge and put your skills into practice. 

How Long Does It Take To Learn a Programming Language?

The amount of time required to learn a programming language directly depends on the difficulty of the language. If you start with an easy language like Python, learning can take you four to six months. In contrast, languages like Java and C can be mastered in a year or so. 

Keep in mind that learning a programming language requires good practice and experimentation. The learning process never stops for a coder. 

The more you practice and implement your knowledge in daily use, the better you become. One of the best ways to learn to code fast is to join a coding bootcamp. Demand for programmers is high. Thus, many companies directly recruit from these coding bootcamps.

Should You Learn a Programming Language?

woman using laptop at table
There is no doubt that the future of coding is brighter than ever.

Currently, there are more than 700 programming languages and growing. As more business and personal operations become technology-driven, the increasing importance of knowing how to spell and read code is more apparent than ever. 

If you’re interested in expanding your language proficiency, why not go digital? Take your pick from the list of programming languages we provided above. Evaluate your interests and projects you want to work on and use these languages to turn these into reality. 

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