The 10 Best Programming Languages for Job Seekers to Learn

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jul 23, 2018

Jul 23, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Software development is one of the most lucrative careers in America. Last year, the nation's average software developer made a median of $103,000. And the industry isn't showing any signs of slowing down.

So, what's the best way to get in on the action? Well, first, you need to learn how to code.

In this article, we'll tell you about the ten best programming languages to learn if you want to find a job.

Best Programming Languages to Learn: The Classics

These languages have been around for ages. They aren't new or exciting, but they make up a large part of the software development ecosystem. One of these languages is a good place to start if you're new to programming.

JavaScript

According to StackOverflow's 2018 developer survey, more programmers use JavaScript than any other language. And unsurprisingly, knowing how to code in JavaScript is a prerequisite for many programming jobs.

Despite its name, JavaScript has nothing to do with Java (which we'll talk about below). It's a front-end web development language that transforms boring, static web pages into dynamic, responsive web pages.

And with the growth of node.js, JavaScript is becoming increasingly common in back-end (server-side) programming, as well.

It's a relatively easy language to learn, and it's worth learning. Knowing it won't make you unique, but it might make you qualified.

Java

More job listings ask for Java than any other language. It's been one of the backbones of software development since it first appeared in 1995, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Java, with its object-oriented programming style, is robust and versatile. It allows the developer to build large, complex software projects while keeping everything clean and organized. And it combines seamlessly with both back-end and front-end technologies.

If you want to learn a programming language that will allow you to work for almost any company in almost any context, Java is the way to go.

C#

C# is Microsoft's answer to Java. It's very similar and follows most of the same principles, but it's slightly more advanced.

C# exists within an ecosystem known as .NET. There are plenty of software development companies working in this ecosystem, and if you want to work for one of them, you'll need to know C#.

If you already have experience with Java, you'll be able to pick it up without much trouble.

Python

Of all the languages on this list, Python might be the easiest to learn, but that doesn't mean it's not powerful. In fact, Python is the second-most sought-after language behind Java.

Python is designed to be easy to write and easy to read, so you can keep track of what your code is doing without much documentation.

You can use the language either as part of an object-oriented framework or as a scripting language. This makes it ideal for both software development and scientific problem-solving.

Its only disadvantage is that it's slightly slower than most of the other languages on this list. But with the speed of modern computers, that's hardly an issue.

SQL

SQL isn't a true programming language; instead, it's a database language. But knowing how to use it is so important to your software career that we had to include it.

There are newer, sexier database languages out there now. But SQL is still by far the most popular, especially in older companies.

So, if you want to be able to manipulate server data, you'll need to learn SQL.

PHP

PHP is a server-side programming language that's been around for decades. And although it often feels dated, it's a huge component of the modern internet.

If you learn one server-side language for web-development, make it PHP. Every Wordpress site is made with PHP, so at the very least, you'll have no trouble finding freelance work with smaller websites.

Best Programming Languages: The New Kids on the Block

The following languages aren't as common as the ones we discussed above. But they're popularity is growing rapidly.

Thanks to such high demand, learning one of the languages below could you help earn you a hefty salary.

Ruby

Ruby takes the same philosophy as Python: fast to write, slow to run. But again, with the speed of modern computers and the cost of developer-time, this trade-off makes more sense than ever.

Furthermore, Ruby is versatile. With the Ruby on Rails framework, it can even function as a server-side language.

Because of these factors, Ruby is in demand, and there aren't many coders to fill this demand. So, if you want a high-paying job, learn Ruby (especially Ruby on Rails).

Swift

Apple developed Swift in 2014 as a programming language for Macintosh and iOS. That means that if you want to get into iPhone App Development, you need to learn Swift.

It's an easy-to-learn, well-designed language.

Kotlin

Kotlin is becoming the go-to language for programming Android apps. It's older and more complicated than Swift, but if you want to get into app development, it's worth learning.

Now that people spend more time using apps than web browsers, app development languages such as Kotlin and Swift are only going to become more important.

Go

Go isn't easy to learn, but that hasn't stopped it from growing in popularity in recent years. Despite its popularity, however, there aren't many Go programmers.

Unlike most of the other languages on this list, Go gives you direct control over your memory usage, making it fast and efficient.

Start Learning

Now that you know which languages to learn, it's time to pick one and start learning. Download an IDE and teach yourself to code. Once you're comfortable, start your job search.

A career in this dynamic and fast-growing industry is worth the effort.

If you found this article helpful, go to our blog for more great career advice.