If you are an aspiring developer, you need to know which programming languages are worth your time. Of course, that depends on the kind of work you want to do and the kind of jobs you want to have.
Similarly, if you’re a recruiter who often handles reqs that call for programmers and developers, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the market. Some languages are more valued than others in the eyes of today’s employers.
Below, we round up some of the most popular (and highly compensated) programming languages. This list should help both aspiring developers and tech-industry recruiters better understand today’s talent market:
Java is a highly popular language that has been in use for decades. First developed for Sun Microsystems in the 1990s, Java was initially intended for use with televisions and set-top boxes. It has since moved into many other industries, including banking, information technology, and financial services. One of the advantages of Java is that runs on all platforms. That is why you can find Java almost everywhere, and why Java developers are in such high demand.
Used primarily in web and app development, Python is a relatively simple language to learn. It is often used within team software development settings because it is easy to read, allowing one developer to see and understand what another developer is doing with ease.
Another advantage of Python is that it can be programmed in modules. Once a module is complete, it can be used in a variety of projects. Python is ideal for developers who want to keep their costs low because both its standard library and its interpreter are free. Additionally, it can be used on all major platforms.
C++ has been in existence for more than 30 years, and it is currently used in a variety of industries — including defense, finance, healthcare, gaming, and communications — due to its status as a powerful, efficient, and fast language. C++ may have a higher learning curve than some other programming languages, but learning it also grants access to a larger job market. Major companies like Facebook and Verizon Wireless regularly advertise for C++ developers.
PHP is generally used for server-side web development. It is a scripting language used to automate processes like dialogue boxes and animations so they do not have to be executed step-by-step every time they are triggered. PHP is useful for creating dynamic website functions, and it is also a key component of WordPress development.
C# is considered one of the most popular programming languages in the world, with more than 6,000 high-paying open jobs calling for C# skills in the US every month. C# was developed by Microsoft in 2000 as an answer to Java. It has since grown quickly, and is generally used to develop apps on the Microsoft platform. Although it is complex, C# is also relatively easy to learn.
Go, often referred to as “Golang,” is an open-source language created by Google. It is mainly used for web development and command line scripting, but it also has implementations in the Internet of Things and robotics. Many consider Golang to be a “future-proof” language as well, so it makes sense for up-and-coming developers and organizations to invest in it heavily.
Swift was created by Apple in 2014 and is used in iOS development. It is an open-source language with a large community of supporters thanks to the popularity of the iPhone. Although Swift is relatively new, it has grown to be one of the most in-demand languages. Unless you foresee a decline in the popularity of Apple products — and who does? — it’s safe to assume Swift is here to stay.
Many consider Ruby to be one of the most fun programming languages to learn and use. In part, that’s because Ruby is a “high-level language,” which means it handles a lot of the more complex aspects of coding for you. Thus, users can do more with fewer lines of code.
Kotlin is an alternative to Java for Android development. Safer and more concise than Java, Kotlin can be used for new apps or to expand existing Java-based apps. Kotlin is a relatively new language, and though Google did not announce support for Kotlin until 2017, it has already obtained a wide user base among Android developers.
Aspiring developers should note that it’s nearly impossible to master every language on this list. Instead, I advise you to explore them, learn about their key attributes, and then choose to focus on the languages that best suit your career objectives.
As for recruiters in the tech space, you should know what kinds of programming languages your clients typically need. While you don’t need to be a programmer yourself, you should have enough familiarity with popular languages to competently source and evaluate candidates who have these in-demand skill sets.