Top 10 Most Popular Coding Languages

  • Coding language is the language that people use to communicate with computers.
  • There are thousands of coding languages in use for various applications.
  • The best coding language for you depends on your career goals as each language serves different applications.

Popular coding languages include Java, Python, PHP, SQL, and more.

In this increasingly digital age, learning coding languages is one way to weather the ups and downs of a fickle job market. All electronic devices, from smartphones and computers to video game consoles are programmed using coding languages. Even several everyday aspects such as social media platforms, air-conditioning systems, and traffic lights rely on coding languages to function. As these devices and platforms become even more pervasive over the coming years, there is a growing demand for professionals skilled in various coding languages.

Whether a company deals with designing mobile apps, setting up websites or repairing gaming consoles, they will be looking for applicants with expertise in one or more coding languages.

We’ve put together some of the most important things you need to know about coding languages along with a shortlist of the most popular coding languages in use today.

What Is A Coding Language?

A coding language is a language that people use to communicate with computers with the aim of accomplishing a specific task. While coding languages are a form of communication, they are not just another dialect as we traditionally know it. Computers cannot understand any form of human language. Instead, they understand binary, which consists of a series of zeros and ones – for example, 10011 or 10001.

In order to communicate with computers, we have to translate our directions into ones and zeros. That’s what coding languages do – they serve as an intermediary between human language and computers’ binary code.

There are hundreds of coding languages that you can choose to learn. Every language has its own unique features, abilities, pros and cons. Some are more adaptable and have diverse applications while others are more rigid and can only be used to accomplish a specific task. With so many choices out there, how do you pick just one to learn? To make it easier for you, we’ve broken up the descriptions of the top 10 most popular coding languages into sections highlighting each language’s features, what it is used for, professionals and companies that used it, and its pros and cons. Best of luck!

Top 10 Coding Languages

1. Java

Features: A versatile, widely used coding language, Java has become the standard for developing apps across different platforms. Although it is one of the older languages, it still ranks highly among the top 10 coding languages today.

What it is used for: Java is primarily used for creating internet-connected device apps for computers, phones, and scientific supercomputers. It is also used for game development and developing dynamic websites and programs.

Professionals that use it: Web developers, software engineers, Java developers, back-end developers

Companies that use it: Google, Spotify, eBay, Pinterest, Airbnb, Uber

Pros: Relatively simple, straightforward, and easy to learn and comes with good documentation tools

Cons: Can be cumbersome

2. Python

Features: Python is a versatile, high-level, general-use coding language that supports procedural-oriented as well as object-oriented programming. It is widely used in academia, including mathematics, biology, and bioinformatics. It is also popular among professionals working with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence as well as those working in data science, engineering, finance, and data analysis.

What it is used for: Python is used for various purposes in a wide range of industries, from machine learning and academia to engineering and finance.

Professionals that use it: Data engineers, data scientists, back-end developers, and Python developers

Companies that use it: NASA, IBM, Netflix, Pixar, Dropbox, Facebook

Pros: Is among the more flexible languages, open-source, easy to use and easy to debug

Cons: Takes up a lot of memory

3. JavaScript

Features: JavaScript is versatile, platform-independent, lightweight scripting language that has a diverse set of libraries. It is hugely popular among front-end developers looking to add various levels of user interactivity to applications, webpages, and browsers.

What it is used for: JavaScript is the primary tool for developing interactive websites and interfaces and is used extensively for complex mobile, web, and game development.

Professionals that use it: Web developers, software engineers, front-end developers, JavaScript developers

Companies that use it: Microsoft, LinkedIn, Facebook, Netflix, Instagram, PayPal, Google

Pros: Has different interfaces and is faster and easier to use as compared to most other coding languages

Cons: Can be difficult to debug and has poor client-side security

4. PHP

Features: PHP is a fast, secure, and beginner-friendly coding language with several advanced features for professionals. It is used to encrypt data, generate dynamic page content, and collect and send cookies. Its adaptability with a wide range of databases and ability to integrate with JavaScript, XML, and HTML, make it a popular choice with developers.

What it is used for: PHP is used extensively to develop dynamic websites and applications

Professionals that use it: Software developers, full-stack developers, PHP developers

Companies that use it: WordPress, Wikipedia, Spotify, Facebook, MailChimp, Slack

Pros: Comes with robust library support and built-in database connections

Cons: Has security problems and is one of the more difficult languages to use

5. SQL

Features: SQL (Structure Query Language) offers scalability and flexibility for database management systems, making it a top coding language for managing and storing data in relational databases. It has high performance capabilities and provides a high degree of security, which add to its popularity.

What it is used for: SQL is used to define and manipulate data, retrieve data from databases, and execute queries against databases.

Professionals that use it: Database administrators, data engineers, data analysts, software developers, back-end developers

Companies that use it: Dell, IBM, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Oracle, Adobe, Facebook

Pros: Easy to learn and use because its commands are all basic English words such as ‘update’, ‘insert’, and ‘select’ among others

Cons: Has a complex interface

6. Ruby

Features: A high-level, general-purpose, open-source coding language that can be implemented across various platforms, Ruby is popular among web developers, software engineers, and data processing professionals. It is particularly efficient for creating web app development frameworks when used together with Rails.

What it is used for: Ruby is widely used in web development, data processing, and 3D modeling

Professionals that use it: Software engineers, Ruby developers

Pros: Requires less code as compared to other languages and becomes especially fast and easy to use when combined with Rails

Cons: Follows standards and patterns rigidly, which slows it down

7. C++

Features: A flexible and popular coding language for developing software, video games, and databases, C++ is machine independent but not platform independent. Although C++ was developed as a simplified version of C, it is still a relatively challenging coding language to master.

What it is used for: C++ is used by developers, coders, and programmers to optimize databases, browsers, and libraries and to build operating systems. It is also used by game developers.

Professionals that use it: Software developers, game developers, video game designers

Companies that use it: Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Mozilla, Bloomberg,

Pros: Is a versatile coding language with multiple uses and can run on any platform

Cons: Is slow to write and can be difficult to master

8. C#

Features: A modern coding language, C# comes with a rich and robust set of functions, libraries, and data types that make coding easier than ever for developers of all skill levels. It is popular among developers for its higher efficiency, speed, and scalability and is easier to learn as compared to C++.

What it is used for: C# is used to develop web and desktop applications and for game development

Professionals that use it: Video game designers, software engineers, app developers

Companies that use it: Stack Overflow, Accenture, Microsoft, Delivery Hero, Intuit

Pros: Has higher scalability and is faster to code

Cons: Slower and clunkier to use because it needs to be compiled again after ever change

9. R

Features: R is a comprehensive and complex open-source coding language that comes with extensions for SQL and has several different libraries. It promotes cross-platform compatibility and provides a wide range of data operation and modeling facilities.

What it is used for: R is used for data visualization, importing and cleaning data sets, and statistical computing

Professionals that use it: Data scientists, data engineers, data analysts

Companies that use it: Infosys, Google, Amazon, Meta Platforms

Pros: Is becoming the coding language of choice for data management and machine learning

Cons: Is a complex coding language with a steep learning curve

10. HTML

Features: HTML (HyperText Markup Language) provides the foundation of every website. It enables web developers to customize the design, layout, fonts, spacing, and colors of individual web pages as well as entire websites. HTML is also used to create apps, develop online games, embed images, navigate the internet.

What it is used for: HTML provides the structure of websites as well as app and game development

Professionals that use it: Web developers, mobile developers, front-end developers

Companies that use it: Every company that has a website including Google YouTube, and Facebook

Pros: It’s easy for beginners to learn because of its text-based structure

Cons: None

Which Coding Language Should You Learn?

There’s no single coding language that is best for everyone. As you’ve seen, each language has its own unique features, functionalities, and limitations. The best coding language for you will depend primarily on your interests and career goals.

Here’s a look at some in-demand careers and the coding languages you need to learn to work in each role:

Web Developer

Web developers are skilled in creating and maintaining websites.

Front-end web developers, who are responsible for the user-facing aspect of websites, must be knowledgeable in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Back-end web developers, who are responsible for the unseen aspects of a website, must be experts in Java, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are experts in designing, testing, implementing, and maintaining various software programs. To perform their job efficiently, software engineers must have strong knowledge of C++, Java, and Python.

Mobile App Developer

Mobile app developers spend their working day designing, developing, and maintaining various applications for all types of mobile devices including tablets and phones. The most important coding languages for mobile app developers are JavaScript, Swift, and Java.

Data Scientist

Data scientists work with data visualization, statistics, and machine learning. The most important coding languages for anyone working in this role are SQL, Java, R, Python, and JavaScript.

How To Learn Coding Languages

How you go about learning coding languages will depend largely on which language you want to learn and how you intend to use your knowledge. We recommend first learning more about the different types of coding languages and their applications using free resources such as YouTube.

Once you’ve identified which coding language you want to master enrolling in an online coding boot camp that teaches your preferred language. You can find hundreds of online coding boot camps ranging from free courses that cover only the basics to more expensive courses that go more in-depth into each language. Choose one that best suits your finances and long-term career goals and start learning about coding languages today.

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