A laptop displaying lines of code next to a coffee mug types of coding languages

Types of Coding Languages in 2021: Your Ultimate Guide to Software Programming

Are you interested in learning to code but aren’t sure where to start? This guide will help you learn the different types of coding languages and what they’re used for. Coding is a growing skill, and it’s important to explore if you want a job in tech. Read below to learn more about the most popular coding languages and where to learn coding.

What Are Coding Languages? 

Coding languages, also called programming languages, are a set of commands and instructions used to communicate with computers. Coding languages are used to create websites, software, and applications, and you can code an entire program with one. Coding syntax is the basis for all of these languages and their source code.

How Many Types of Coding Languages Are There?

There are just under 700 different coding languages. The reason for the extensive amount of coding languages is that each may perform different tasks that are suited for different types of projects. Beyond the main three types, coding languages fall into four categories: object-oriented, procedural, functional, and logical. 

What Are the Main Types of Coding Languages and Their Uses?

The main three types of coding languages are high-level languages, low-level languages, and middle-level languages. Each of these levels contains different modern languages used for specific tasks and projects. Read below to learn more about these types and what you should use them for.

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1. High-Level Coding Languages

A high-level language is the easiest to learn because it is the most similar to human languages, usually English. Since they are close to human language, they need to be translated into binary code so computers understand. A high-level language simplifies the coding process by hiding details and attributes that are not essential to users. 

This type of programming language is coder-friendly, easy to learn, and highly productive. These languages are also machine-independent and less prone to errors. However, these languages do have their weaknesses. Translation takes additional time and processing can be slow. They also do not communicate directly with hardware, unlike other languages. 

High-level programming languages allow the programmer to focus on what needs to be done rather than how the computer works. Examples of high-level coding languages are Python, C++, C#, Java, and JavaScript. Statista reports that these languages are some of the most used languages for web and software developers.

2. Low-Level Coding Languages 

A low-level coding language provides little to no abstraction because they are closest to the computer’s language. These languages can be translated to machine code without an interpreter, which means they are simple but difficult to learn. Low-level languages can run very quickly and leave a very small memory footprint.

Low-level languages are not very portable because they are usually designed for specific systems. These languages allow programmers to utilize processors and memory better than other level languages. There are many technical terms to remember, so low-level language use is mostly reserved for advanced coders.

These languages are used to write programs for specific hardware and architecture. Examples of these languages are assembly and machine language. An assembly language is used to give the computer direct instructions with words in place of numbers. Machine language uses binary code to give the computer direct instructions.

3. Middle-Level Coding Languages

Middle-level coding languages fill the gap between high-level languages and low-level languages. A middle-level language interacts with the abstraction of a computer. It forms a connection between raw hardware and programming, and they are often called intermediate or pseudo languages.

Medium-level language is an output of higher-level language, and it provides a good balance between the two other types. These mid-level languages are meant to improve the translated code before its execution. They can be used for anything from desktop applications to artificial intelligence.

C is a well-known middle-level coding language. Its advantages are similar to high-level languages because it is powerful and efficient, portable, and extendable. However, it utilizes a low level of abstraction, which can make it difficult to use. Another weakness is that the process of checking and finding errors is complex and time-consuming. 

Four Main Types of Programming Language Paradigms

Object oriented, procedural, functional, and logical are the main types of programming paradigms. A programming paradigm is a way of classifying different programming languages based on their features. Some languages may be categorized in more than one paradigm because they may have different elements.

  1. Object Oriented Programming. Object oriented programming relies on classes and objects. A class is a blueprint that is used to create more specific objects, and an object is a specific example of that class. Examples of these languages include C++, C#, JavaScript, and Python. 
  2. Procedural Programming. Procedural programming is a type of code that utilizes a step-by-step process to develop applications. C, C++, C#, JavaScript, and Java are modern programming languages with procedural elements. 
  3. Functional Programming. Functional languages construct programs by writing functions. This type of programming is based on mathematical functions. These languages include Ruby, Scala, and PHP. 
  4. Logical Programming. Logical programming is when program rules are written as logical clauses and predicates. A predicate is not a function because it does not have a return value. Logical programming languages include CLACL, Fril, Oracle, and .QL.

10 Most Popular Coding Languages to Learn: 2021 List

 A view from above of someone typing code on a laptop. A Python manual is next to the laptop. types of coding language
Python is one of the most popular programming languages to learn, but there are many more.

As of 2020, the most popular programming languages include Python, JavaScript, and C#, according to Stack Overflow. Below you will find an explanation of the most popular languages in the field, including their uses and reasons for popularity. 

  1. Python
  2. C++
  3. JavaScript
  4. C
  5. Ruby on Rails
  6. C#
  7. SQL
  8. Java
  9. Scala
  10. PHP


Python is a general-purpose coding language that is used for web development, operating systems, machine learning, web development, and data science. Python is also used for design and analytics. It is a very popular programming language because it is easy to write and use. 


C++ is also a general-purpose coding language. Its primary uses are game development, operating systems, and web browsers. It works with procedural, functional, and object-oriented programming, and learning C++ can make learning other languages easier. It is popular because it runs and manages memory efficiently. 


JavaScript is an object oriented language, and it is arguably the most common. It is mostly used for web applications because allows the writer to make interactive projects. JavaScript is a go-to language because it offers unified development, which means coders don’t need to learn more than one language to get the job done. 


C is a general-purpose programming language and structured programming language used to write applications, operating systems, and more. C is a base for programming, so if you know C, you can easily grasp other C-based languages. It is hugely popular because it is very simple and versatile.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails is used by web developers, and it provides a framework and structure for written code. Ruby on Rails is helpful because it simplifies repetitive tasks. It is user-friendly and offers fast development of custom software solutions for technically complex web projects.


C# is used to perform many tasks in multiple professions like game and app development for both desktop and web servers. C# is popular because it is easy to read and usable for many different types of projects. It is mostly used for game development, web and mobile apps, and business applications.


SQL stands for structured query language, and it is used to update and retrieve data from a database. This makes it helpful in data science because it allows users to access, manipulate, and modify data. It is a Microsoft database management system that is popularly used for relational database management systems.


Java is a server language that is used for big data and development projects. It is commonly used in numerical, desktop, and mobile computing. Java is popular because it can run on many different platforms and types of computers, making it a great choice for any programmer to learn. 


Scala is a programming language that uses both object-oriented and functional types of programming to create software applications. It also helps to avoid bugs in complex applications. Scala is often used in cooperation with Java. Scala allows you to build high-performance systems with access to large libraries.


PHP is an open-source general-purpose scripting language that can be used with HTML, and it is used primarily in web development. It allows you to manage and oversee dynamic content, session tracking, and databases. This basic programming language is popular because it is simple and provides advanced features for professional programmers. 

Learn to Code in 2021

In an increasingly digital world, coding is one of the most valuable skills you can develop in 2021. According to PayScale, professionals with C++ programming language skills make an average of $89,000 a year. PayScale also reports that people with C programming skills have an average salary of $92,000. 

The languages listed above are a great place to start. You can learn to code at a university, through online courses, or at a coding bootcamp. If you want to start learning how to code, you can check out the best online bootcamps and learn quickly and efficiently. You can learn game programming, server-side programming, database systems, and more.

Types of Coding Languages FAQ

Which coding language is the best to learn?

The language you learn depends primarily on your career goals. Some good common languages to start with are HTML, JavaScript, and Python

Where can I learn to code?

There are many ways to learn to code. You can read books, enroll in online classes, find a bootcamp, or even enter a university degree program to learn and refine your coding skills.

What careers use coding languages?

Most tech careers use coding languages, including web development, software engineering, database administration, and application development.

Can I learn to code for free?

Yes, many online and in-person bootcamps are offered for free. These courses typically provide the basic knowledge needed to learn to code.

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