20 Top Programming Languages
Have you ever been really excited to get some ice cream, only to arrive at the ice-cream parlor, take a look at all of the available options, and realize that sometimes 31 flavors are just too many?
At Devmountain, we’ve been there.
After all, pistachio would certainly hit the spot, but you’ve also been kind of jonesing for a scoop of peppermint. And then you notice that they brought bubblegum back.
Cotton Candy. Lemon Custard. Chocolate Mocha….
As your head swims with the possibilities, you find yourself recognizing and understanding an age-old truth: Sometimes, there really is too much of a good thing.
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Coding
Programmers, software engineers, web developers, and more depend on coding languages. Coding languages allow these professionals to accurately instruct computers and similar devices in how to perform specific tasks.
By “speaking” to the computer in a language that it can easily understand and follow, coders are able to create programs capable of doing great things, from displaying an image on a screen to landing a probe on another planet.
But just as there are nearly limitless uses for computer code, there are a huge number of programming languages from which to choose. And just as your ice cream cone can only hold two or three scoops worth of ice cream, most aspiring programmers should pick and choose the languages that make sense for their goals, so they can pursue them.
We’re Here to Help
We’ve created a list of twenty programming languages. Now, this isn’t a programming language ranking, as each of these languages brings different advantages to the table. Instead, we’re showing some of what’s out there, so that when you arrive at the ice-cream parlor of coding education, you’ll have a better idea of what’s available, and what might be right for you.
Our List of the Top 20 Programming Languages
- R Programming Language
- Golang (Go)
What can we say? It’s hard to have a list of top programming languages without Python. Python is often on programming language charts for good reason. That’s because Python is powerful, yet simple to learn. A high-level general programming language, Python is usable across many applications and can be great for beginners and professionals alike.
Another core technology of the World Wide Web (and thus a popular programming language) is HTML. HTML is used to define the content and structure of web pages. In this capacity, it is commonly used alongside another “programming language” called CSS.
A star among application, game, and animation-software programmers, C++ offers the speed and portability needed to be used across devices and platforms, and it allows programmers the ability to reuse code, for easier program maintenance.
Rust offers speed and security, without sacrificing performance. Rust has valuable built-in documentation and features helpful error messages (so you can more easily find problems when something goes wrong). That said, for beginners, Rust may be more difficult than some of the other languages on this list.
An older language, Scheme is used by large, established internet entities such as Reddit and Google. Scheme’s format is easy to learn and ideal for teaching functional programming.
Java works exceptionally well in a number of use-cases and has long been the preferred go-to language for coding on Android. Java’s motto: Write once; run anywhere references its cross-platform abilities. This versatility, combined with the range of available extensions, can make Java a powerful addition to the programmer’s toolbox.
Kotlin is, first and foremost, a programming language used in Android development (where it is officially supported by Google and functions as an alternative to Java). That said, Kotlin’s simplicity, conciseness, and ease of maintenance make it a choice for non-Android tasks, too.
Another Java influenced programming language, C# is an accessible, general-purpose language that is as powerful as it is flexible. C# is designed specifically for use with the Windows OS (sorry Mac users) and is part of the .Net framework.
Originally designed for use in manipulating text documents, Perl grew into a popular, widely used programming language in the early 2000s. And while the introduction of Python has effectively stolen most of Perl’s thunder, this once-widely used language still enjoys some popularity. Perl is open-source, clean, and powerful.
The code behind Facebook, Yahoo, and Wikipedia, PHP has long held an important place in the coding world. PHP is simple-to-use, integrates easily with other languages, and is supported by all major operating systems. PHP is also uniquely designed to operate effectively with databases.
Scala combines functional programming with object-oriented programming, offering code complexity alongside concise notation for better coding and increased performance. Scala is also accessible and can be fun to learn.
Swift is fast, safe, and backed by one of the biggest players in the tech world, but it’s probably not going to be your first choice when it comes to general programming and development. That’s because Swift was designed specifically by Apple for use with macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iOS (sorry PC users). The good news is that Apple is dedicated to supporting Swift and provides access to a huge library of Swift coding resources.
Taking a detour into the technical, MATLAB is the kind of complex, high-performance language that you’d expect from a group called “MathWorks.” MATLAB combines programming, visualization, and computation, expressing problems and solutions in mathematical notation. As you might also expect, this makes MATLAB an ideal fit for areas such as modeling, simulation, scientific graphics, algorithm development, and numerical analysis.
Programming languages are generally used to tell computer systems what to do, but there are exceptions. SQL is a query-based language that is mostly focused on retrieving data from databases. This makes it effective when used to generate reports and sift through massive amounts of digital information. It’s just not as effective for all-purpose coding.
Speaking of data and databases, R Programming Language was designed to help with statistical analysis and relies on a vast catalog of statistical and graphical methods. And while R Programming Language is most often used in academic projects, it has also found a place with larger companies as well (including Uber and Google).
19. Golang (Go)
Go (or Golang) is an open-source programming language developed at Google. Flexible and capable of displaying large amounts of information effectively, Go scales well to larger systems. But, perhaps one of the coolest things about Go is its concurrency; Go can execute multiple processes at once, setting it apart as one of the most efficient coding languages.
If you’re a coding beginner looking for something simple, yet effective, consider the object-oriented programming language Ruby. Ruby (and by extension, the cross-platform web application framework Ruby on Rails) functions well with both front- and back-end development and is used by new startups as well as established brands.