A programmer at work

Are you planning to learn a new programming language in 2022? If yes, you need to choose wisely. Whether you are starting your career in software development or want to advance it, learning programming languages that are in trend, useful, and going to play significant roles in the future will help.

If you are still undecided about taking up programming as a career path, some statistics can help. According to the U.S. BLS, the employment of software developers, along with tester and quality assurance analysts, is anticipated to grow 22% from 2020 to 2030, much more rapidly than the average for all occupations.

Just like the U.S., the market for software development services in Europe is also growing rapidly, primarily due to the increasing demand for digital transformation and automation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s an acute shortage of software developers. All these factors make this an excellent time to start learning programming languages or hone your skills to position yourself favourably in the job market.

But are you feeling overwhelmed thinking about the multiple options available to you? Can’t decide where to start? No need to fret and fume because we have got you covered. After sifting through market and developer data from the past few years to spot trends, we have drawn conclusions that will give you a roadmap for your programming education.

Read on to know about the top 11 programming languages you should learn in 2022, which will surely help you plan your career moves the right way.

Programming languages to Focus Upon

1.      Python

Often called the future of programming languages, Python is used for

  • Data science
  • Backend web development
  • App development

This free, open-source, general-purpose programming language is one of the most popular languages to learn in 2022. Thanks to its readability, Python is pretty easy to learn for beginners. However, experienced coders too prefer to use it for a diverse range of tasks.

According to the latest statistics, almost 80% of developers use Python as their main coding language. According to the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index, Python sits at the top of the list. Worldwide, this programming language grew the most in the last 5 years (10.4%).

Apart from being user-friendly and easy to learn, Python also comes with extensive libraries and frameworks that support several applications and learning processes (for data science, artificial intelligence, etc). Python has also incorporated the variants of C and Java, like CPython, Jython, etc., and offers GUI support.

Due to its interactive qualities, programmers using Python can build and test their codes and prototypes as they go, which helps them write better and more reliable codes while decreasing the time wasted on writing and testing long sections of code. 

Developers using different programming styles like object-oriented, functional, reflective, etc., can work easily with Python when creating programs. Python was used to develop many popular platforms and digital tools, including Google Search, YouTube, and iRobot machines.

2.      JavaScript

According to Statista, this was the most used programming language globally among developers (64.96%) in 2021. You can use it for

  • Mobile applications
  • Web development
  • Building web servers
  • Game development

To prove the popularity of JavaScript, this data will suffice: 98% of all websites use it as their client-side programming language. Globally, JavaScript is the most common coding language used today.

It’s also one of the easiest programming languages to learn and needs almost no prior coding knowledge. Thus, when you start learning it, you can practice and play with it right away.

JavaScript is utilised to manage web page behaviours. Using it, you can build dynamic web elements, such as interactive maps, animated graphics, clickable buttons, and a lot more. If you are a programmer who uses JavaScript together with HTML and CSS, you will get a higher degree of website control and can offer a better user experience with respect to readability and navigation.

Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Uber, Facebook, and PayPal are some major companies that use JavaScript. As JavaScript is almost everywhere, you will find innumerable courses, communities, and avenues of professional support online. Such support, together with the language’s excellent usability, makes JavaScript one of the most in-demand programming languages that you should learn this year.

3.      Java

In 2020, Java celebrated its 25th birthday. Oracle says it retains its top spot among programming languages for developers. You can use it for

  • Web development
  • Desktop, mobile, and cloud applications
  • Artificial intelligence

Despite being ancient, Java still holds onto its supremacy and powers web backends, Android apps, and even real-world machines like televisions.

This object-oriented, platform-independent language helps developers build objects that encompass data and functions, which can then be employed to provide structure for applications and programs.

Some leading companies that use Java are Adobe, Amazon, and Instagram. Various factors contribute to Java’s popularity. To begin with, it’s relatively easy to learn and use. It can also deal with truckloads of data and has incredible security.

These features make Java the perfect programming language for the online finance sector. As a result, you will notice its use in various industries and sectors, such as IT, banking, e-commerce, and the stock market.

Learners find the versatility of Java truly appealing. Java applications are often flaunted as WORA (Write Once, Run Anywhere), which means they can successfully run on any operating system (OS), irrespective of which OS was used to create the original code. This makes it the perfect pick for creating applications not just for computers and mobile phones, but also for sensors, remote processors, and several other consumer products.

4.      C/C++

Both C and C++ have a substantial presence in the domain of programming languages. Almost all low-level systems, like file systems and operating systems, are written in C/C++. In case you aim to become a system-level programmer, you should learn these programming languages that are used for

  • Operating systems
  • Hardware drivers
  • Software development
  • Graphics
  • Advanced computations
  • Web/desktop/mobile applications
  • Enterprise applications
  • Game development
  • VR

Though C sits far away from the cutting-edge of coding, it still enjoys a steady demand in the job market, primarily due to the legacy systems built on it, as well as its speed and reliability. It’s also the origin of other programming languages, like JavaScript, Java, and C#.

You will find competitive programmers extensively using C++ as it’s extremely stable and fast. It comes with the STL (Standard Template Library), a group of ready-to-use libraries you can use for diverse arithmetic operations, data structures, and algorithms. Thanks to its library support and speed, C++ is a popular and preferred choice in the high-frequency trading community.

Thanks to the efficiency and portability of C, the libraries, interpreters, and compilers of other programming languages are often implemented in C. For instance, primary implementations of interpreted languages like Ruby, Python, and PHP are written in C.

Some top companies using C are GitHub, MasterCard, and Telegram messenger. A handful of computer science purists would recommend you to learn C as your first programming language because several other languages use concepts and syntax introduced by C. However, others say C shouldn’t be the first programming language you learn as it’s difficult to pick up and master.

5.      Go

Google created this general-purpose programming language, also called Golang, to support its software development projects. Though Go is similar to C, it comes with an easier syntax and some extra functionality to support more scalable projects and more efficient creation. You can use it for

  • Video/audio editing
  • Network/system programming
  • Big Data

Some people consider Go as the blend of several other programming languages’ user-friendly aspects. Developers handling AI and machine learning, cloud-based applications, data tools, web servers, and command-line tools often prefer using Go. Google, Dropbox, Dailymotion, and Twitch are some of the world’s biggest companies using Go.

What makes Go really popular as one of the top-tier programming languages is its efficiency. It can run multiple processes concurrently and has an extensive “vocabulary,” which means it can exhibit more information than other languages.

Go offers top-notch management and memory safety features. Moreover, its structural typing capabilities facilitate a lot of functionality and dynamism. Perhaps all these factors explain why Go sits high up on many programmers’ list of the most-wanted and most-loved languages to use.

6.      PHP

It’s a general-purpose, open-source, and free scripting language that will stay relevant and important in the upcoming years. PHP is among the first server-side languages that could be embedded with HTML, thus facilitating the addition of functionality to web pages without calling external data files. You can use PHP for

  • Web development
  • E-commerce platforms
  • Content management systems (CMS)

Though JavaScript and Python give tough competition to PHP, the market still has a great demand for PHP developers. The learning curve for PHP is shorter compared to other languages like ASP, JSP, etc., making it a good choice to learn and master.

PHP is also extremely secure in preventing attacks and threats. Since it’s a partially object-oriented programming language, it facilitates the reuse of the development code, thus saving significant development time.

As PHP is a cross-platform programming language, applications created with PHP can run on leading operating systems out there, such as Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac OS.

Some of the world’s leading websites developed with PHP are Yahoo, Facebook, Slack, Mailchimp, and Wikipedia. WordPress made using PHP drives 43% of all websites.

7.      Swift

If you have your eyes fixed on iOS development, you should learn Swift that’s used for developing iOS applications. You can use Swift for creating all types of

  • iOS apps
  • watchOS apps
  • macOS apps

Developed by Apple Inc., this robust programming language is often touted as the future of secure and high-performance applications. As the iOS app field is rapidly growing, learning Swift can be an excellent career move.

Swift comes loaded with several amazing features that contribute to its popularity. Due to its ARC (automatic reference counting) memory management, it prevents memory leaks. Swift is scalable and makes it easy to add new features and functionalities to the product.

Due to its English-like syntax, it’s highly readable. You can integrate server-side Swift with any technology. It’s also interoperable with Objective-C.

Compared to other popular programming languages like Python and Objective-C, Swift is faster. Whether you use it for backend or frontend development, it facilitates better code sharing and a quicker development process.

Though it’s extremely scalable, due to its fast performance and well-optimised code, Swift still works with older languages like Objective-C. Apple’s ecosystem of applications uses Swift heavily. Other top-notch companies that employ Swift to create many of their iOS-based applications are Lyft, Uber, LinkedIn, and Airbnb.

8.      Kotlin

Kotlin was actually developed and introduced in 2011 by JetBrains. The first version of this cross-platform programming language officially hit the market in 2016. It has interoperability with Java and support for functional programming languages.

You can use Kotlin for

  • Web applications
  • Server-side application development
  • Desktop applications
  • Android apps

Kotlin was designed to be a better performer than Java, and many believe it to be true. This is also the programming language that powers many Google applications. Some reputable organizations that have adopted it as their preferred programming language include Pinterest, Coursera, Uber, and Evernote.

Some of Kotlin’s notable features include improved security features, structured concurrency and concise code, 100% interoperability, and the requirement of less coding than Java.

Kotlin is slightly easier to learn than Java, which is a key factor behind its huge popularity among Android developers. Thanks to the presence of Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile, you can use the language for iOS development as well.

If you’re eying a career in app development, learning Kotlin in 2022 should feature on your to-do list.

9.      R

R is a cross-platform, open-source language that can efficiently run on diverse operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS. R developers typically experience huge demands because of the advanced fields where the language is extensively used.

R is widely used for

  • Statistical analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • Data analysis

It also holds a lot of importance in the telecom domains and financial sectors. This isn’t just a statistic package. Since you can also integrate it with other languages like C and C++, it facilitates convenient interaction with many statistical packages and data sources.

Since R is a highly niche language, people tend to learn it after acquiring good experience working with Python or Matlab. However, as it’s an open-source language, it has a solid online community of developers, which can greatly help you in mastering the language.

Some prominent companies that use R as one of their primary languages include Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.

Some of the key statistical features of R include Measures of Central Tendency, static graphics, and probability distributions. Two major programming features of R include the presence of a wide range of libraries and the ability to perform distributed programming.

As there’s a massive shortage of skilled R developers, learning this language now can be an attractive career choice.

10. C#

Developed as part of Microsoft’s .NET framework, C# is a general-purpose language, widely known for its large collection of libraries and frameworks. It’s highly effective in developing games, which means this might be your ideal language if you want to enter the field of designing games.

You can use C# for

  • Game development
  • Enterprise software
  • Desktop applications
  • Mobile applications
  • VR

C# is slightly more difficult to learn because of its low-level design and complexity. However, as it originates from other C languages, knowing them will make your C# learning journey a bit easier.

Some leading companies that use C# include Microsoft, Stack Overflow, Accenture, and Intuit.

Some of the key features of C# include interoperability, scalability and updateability, a rich library of inbuilt functions, and fast speed.

Due to its high worldwide demand, learning C# can turn out to be an excellent career option for you in 2022.

11. Ruby

If you desire to start your career with a programming language that’s relatively easy to learn, Ruby may be your ideal option. Invented in the mid-1990s, Ruby entered the market with a more human-friendly syntax.

You can use Ruby for

  • Data processing services
  • Static websites
  • Desktop applications
  • Automation tools

This is very frequently used with Ruby on Rails framework that lets you create web apps faster than many other frameworks/languages out there. Convention over configuration is a key philosophy of Ruby on Rails because many programming decisions come already made for you.

Learning the Rails framework after mastering the basics of Ruby will essentially help you develop useful web applications relatively quicker.

Some top names that have used the Rails framework in their applications include Twitter, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, and CrunchBase.

Some of the top features of Ruby are its purely object-oriented nature, the presence of objects and methods, and great flexibility.

Closing Thoughts

Whether you are an established programmer or just starting your career in the industry, learning a new programming language can help advance your career. But before you select any language, you should check your career goals, schedule, and the resources available at hand.

For instance, you could think of a standard, 4-year undergraduate college program for comprehensive theory and practical knowledge of programming. But if you don’t have four years to invest or don’t want to spend thousands of dollars in tuition fees, coding bootcamps designed for entry-level candidates to the pros and everyone in-between could be just what you need.

Whatever be the learning route you ultimately select, it’s certainly the best time to pick up a new skill and kick-start your programming career. So, which of these languages, as mentioned above, will you pick to start or further your programming journey?

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