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Top 10 Programming Languages to Choose in 2021

John Selawsky
A senior Java developer and Java tutor. In Java We Trust.
・10 min read

When you only take your first steps into the technologies and strive to learn programming it’s kind of hard to figure out where to go. With the number of possible programming languages to learn reaching over three hundred, newbies might feel pretty gloomy about making the right choice. Let me ease that for you. I’ve been coding and teaching programming for quite a while now and I hope my experience will help you out. Here are my top ten best programming languages to learn first. Start from here, choose your path and get yourself on the road to your dream job.

Java

This is my personal number one. And there are plenty of reasons for it. Firstly, the demand for Java developers is never-ending. This is the technology behind enterprise-level applications used by the world’s top-notch companies. If you ever thought of working for, let’s say, Amazon, then Java is your thing. Secondly, it’s quite easy to learn for a newbie. And later, based on your Java knowledge, you can add up new languages like C++ or Python. And did I mention that Android development is also majorly based on Java? If not, then now you know.

Where to learn

  1. CodeGym. This is a gamified learning platform that helps you go through levels of Java mastery both with fun and an in-depth look. The course has over 1200 practical coding tasks with code validation and tips to help you with your solutions. So primarily you learn by doing, not just reading theory. A built-in IDE gives you an option to code from your smartphone which is quite handy if you only have spare time somewhere away from your laptop. However, your best bet is to use the IntelliJ IDEA. It is by far the most popular Java development environment; For this purpose, CodeGym has a special IDEA plugin.
  2. Java Fundamentals by Pluralsight. This course has a strong design patterns section which is often skipped by other learning platforms. Here you’ll get it right with the basic objective-oriented programming concepts and learn to apply them to your coding.
  3. Codecademy. This is a greatly structured educational resource. You can make your own curriculum or ask someone from the community to review your code. And there are high chances to get detailed feedback.

Python

This language is the choice to make if you’re aiming at becoming a Data Scientist or a backend website developer. Moreover, Python is widely used in GUI applications. It has a perfect toolset for these types of projects.

Also, it’s one of the easiest languages to start with. Though after Python you might find it hard to switch to a more complicated programming language.

Where to learn

  1. Learnpython. The platform offers neatly structured courses covering both basic and advanced levels. Also, it has over 500K community members so you can only imagine what thorough feedback you might receive if you ask for help.
  2. Learn Python the Hard Way. The coolest thing about this resource is that you can start here with zero previous programming experience. Though the title of the course states otherwise, the essence of it is pretty easily digestible. At least in the beginning.
  3. Invent with Python. You might wonder what you can invent with Python if you have no clue about the technology itself. Well, here’s the trick: first you learn the basics and do exercises to gain practical skills. And then you can actually create your own computer game!

JavaScript

JavaScript is a language that allows you to do complex things on a web page. Every time the web page has more than just a static view, like updated content, animations, video scrolling, etc., it is most likely done with JavaScript. There would have been no modern web without this one. JS code is executed in a web browser.

JavaScript is used not only for front-end (in browser), but sometimes also in back-end development (via nodeJS platform). By the way, now people very often choose to learn TypeScript, a strict syntactical superset of JavaScript. Both are newbie-friendly.

Where to learn

  1. FreeCodeCamp.org. As you can see from the title, this learning resource is free. But this is not its best feature. I value it for the enormous variety of tutorials and options to train your skills. As well as for a wider look at the JavaScript within the front-end development.
  2. CodeCombat. This one is good for the very beginners in programming. You can learn the basics and play a game at the same time.
  3. Code School. I like this one for a great jQuery tutorial. But the core JavaScript course is also very well-worked. It’s also gamified like the previous one. You can move from level to level, get signs of approval and generally have fun.

C/C++

Though not the easiest programming language to learn for a newbie, C++ has many areas where it’s almost indispensable. Some of the operating systems are created with this programming language. You can find it in web browsers, distributing systems, database software, triple-A videogames and many more.

C is a general-purpose procedural programming language. C is closely related to hardware. This allows data and system programming to be managed at a low level. You can use it not only to create “regular” software, but also to create driver or kernel level programs.

Where to learn

  1. C++ Tutorial for Complete Beginners. Here’s where you can start learning the technology and the concepts of object-oriented programming from square one. You’ll find out how the syntax works and how to set up the development environment.
  2. Beginning C++ Programming — From Beginner to Beyond. This is one more opportunity to learn C from distinguished tutors. The course is highly valued by the students and has very high ranks.
  3. Unreal Engine C++ Developer: Learn C++ and Make Video Games. As you can see from the title, this course teaches you C++ basics in game development. If you’ve ever come across cybersport and heard about Fortnite, this is a great example of a game developed with C++.

C Sharp

Though belonging to the C family, this language is a bit different from the previous. C# runs in a virtual machine and is very similar in principle to Java.

C# was created by Microsoft and established itself as a number one technology from Windows or .NET development. Moreover, the language is used in the Unity game engine that opens the way to 2D or 3D game development. Semi-complicated for a newbie.

Where to learn

  1. C# Basics by Treehouse. It’s a 188-minute course covering the basics of C#: syntax, types, strings, variables, etc. You’ll learn how to make your first program, compile mistakes, and much more.
  2. C# Basics for Beginners: Learn C# Fundamentals by Coding. This one gives you a chance to learn major C# concepts concisely and clearly. The course creator states that it will take you 6 hours. But I think it’ll take more. If you’re through with this one, you can move on to more advanced courses by the same tutor.
  3. C# Fundamentals by Scott Allen (Pluralsight). The course is divided into .NET concepts and tips of using C# code for creating your own applications.

Golang

Also referred to as Go, the language was created by Google and is gradually becoming more and more popular. It allows a greater degree of multithreading than is considered average. Some of the very widely used DevOps tools have already evaluated the performance of this technology. It is modern and quite suitable for beginner developers.

Where to learn

  1. Go: The Complete Developer’s Guide (Golang). Apart from learning the fundamentals the course is aimed at giving a broader notion of Go’s concurrency model. It is neatly structured and easy to follow.
  2. Go Fundamentals By Nigel Poulton. If you have zero programming experience this one might be a good option. You’ll start from the very beginning and learn to write your first Go programs eventually.
  3. Learn Go on Codecademy. I’ve already mentioned the resource in my Java section. Codecademy is a way to go for Go as well. The course is created together with Google, so the information there is definitely up-to-date.

R language

If you are into Data Analytics you might want to have a look at this technology — the R programming language. It is a free technology for statistical computing and it’s running on multiple operating systems. The language might be somewhat hard for a beginner. But it has great perspectives on the job market. By the way, the most recent R update came out in February 2021, check it out.

Where to learn

  1. R Programming A-Z™. R For Data Science With Real Exercises! The course teaches you how to combine programming and statistics. And how to use all that in real life then.
  2. Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamp with R. I like this one for the stunning data visualizations you’ll be able to make. The course also goes deeper on how to deal with Machine Learning using the R language.
  3. R Programming. This is a more classically built course on R. It goes through the basic operations and concepts to more complicated things like data simulation. You’ll also learn how to write and debug your R code.

PHP

This is another popular programming language for backend web development. Huge companies like Facebook or Wikipedia are still using it. And if you turn to WordPress, knowing which is in very high demand on the job market, you will see PHP there as well. On the other hand though, PHP back-end developers might have less money than back-end devs using more sophisticated and modern technologies.

Where to learn

  1. PHP for Beginners — Become a PHP Master — CMS Project. This course is aimed at giving you the skill to create your next CMS like WordPress. It’s coined for the complete beginners but you might want to have a look at HTML first.
  2. Write PHP Like a Pro: Build a PHP MVC Framework from Scratch. This one is not exactly for the newbies. But it’s here where you can learn how to use PHP frameworks like Symfony or Laravel. This course is very much worth trying especially if you already have a certain knowledge of PHP for example from the previous course. Or from the next one.
  3. PHP OOP: Object-Oriented Programming for beginners. Here’s where you can dive into the OOP concepts by the example of PHP. The course is good for beginners and the tutor is a great instructor, in my opinion.

Swift

If your dream is to publish your apps in the AppStore, here’s where you turn to start. Swift is an iOS programming language, created by Apple itself. It’s the modern successor to Objective-C and it’s a good choice for the newbie, Apple fan. So all the future AppStore conquerors go right here, to the places where you can learn this language.

Where to learn

  1. Complete iOS 14, Swift 5 and Machine Learning with CoreML. This course does not require any prior experience and it’s built around basic topics first of all. The course creator promises to dispense with useless coding practices and get you into real-world coding. And I see no reason to doubt that.
  2. SwiftUI Masterclass 2021 — iOS 14 App Development & Swift 5. The updated version of the masterclass contains around 23 hours of video. It takes you through the basics to a more advanced level and teaches you all the essential skills you need to start creating your own projects.
  3. Cracking Coding Interview & Algorithm Design in Swift (2021). This course will teach you not only coding in Swift but also how to explain your technical decisions at a job interview. A very handy skill for a beginner programmer, isn’t it?

Kotlin

This one unlike the previous is number one for the conquerors of Google Play. Kotlin was named by Google as a primary technology for Android development. Note that it is being executed on Java Virtual Machine and the language is not that easy for people making their first steps into programming. I’d recommend learning Java first and then switching to Kotlin.

Where to learn

  1. Kotlin for Java Developers. As you see from the title of the course it’s not only me who thinks that Java should go first. But for those who want to upgrade mobile development skills, this is a place to go. The course is designed to explain the two languages in comparison so that you learn Kotlin faster based on the knowledge you already have.
  2. The Complete Kotlin Developer Course. This is a more comprehensive resource for learning Kotlin. Again, it has a part explaining how Kotlin and Java are related. You’ll learn the essentials of programming and the way they work in this technology.
  3. Kotlin for Beginners: Learn Programming With Kotlin. If you still think of skipping Java and jump right into mobile development, try out this course. It teaches you starting with the very basics and by the end, you’ll create your first Kotlin app. ## Wrap Up Now that we’ve narrowed down your choice to the ten most popular programming languages it’s time for you to take action. Whichever you pot for, there’s a pretty high chance of success. The job market is thriving thanks to these technologies and it seems like it will continue to thrive in the coming years. So make your choice and start to learn programming!

Discussion (4)

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hanpari profile image
Pavel Morava

You have probably markdown typo for c# in the sub-header.

Personally, I wonder why did you omit Rust? Not sure if SQL counts for a programming language, but I would add it here anyway.

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5elenay profile image
5elenay

I think go (golang), elixir and crystal will be used alot in the future.

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brtouli_mounir profile image
mounir brtouli

I want to learn Python for Web development , but everyone say , its not suite the Web , is that true ?

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ldrscke profile image
Christian Ledermann

Google, Instagram, DropBox and many others think otherwise :-D
Python is a great language to learn for webdevelopment with a thriving ecosystem around it