Last Updated 10/24/2023
If you’re new to the field of software development, the toughest part of learning programming is deciding where to begin. There are hundreds of programming languages in widespread use, each with its own complexities and idiosyncrasies.
The good news is that as you begin your journey as a software developer, you’ll start to discover which programming language will be most suitable for you, your interests, and your career goals.
In this article, we’ll go over the best and most in-demand programming languages for many common use cases and career paths, including web development, mobile development, game development, and more.
Best Programming Languages
With over 700 programming languages to choose from, you’re likely wondering which programming language is the best to learn. Your choice will ultimately depend on your skill level, career goals, and which languages employers are using in their organizations. To help you get started, here are the 10 best programming languages to learn in 2024.
Python is perhaps the most user-friendly programming language of any on this list. It’s often said that Python’s syntax is clear, intuitive, and almost English-like, which makes it a popular choice for beginners.
Python has a variety of applications that make it a versatile, powerful option when choosing the best programming language for your use case. If you’re interested in back-end web development, for example, then the open-source Django framework, written in Python, is popular, easy to learn, and feature-rich. Django has been used in the development of some popular sites like Mozilla, Instagram, and Spotify.
Python also has packages such as NumPy and SciPy that are commonly used in the fields of scientific computing, mathematics, and engineering. Other Python libraries such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, scikit-learn, and OpenCV are used to build programs in data science, machine learning, image processing, and computer vision. Python's science and data applications make it a great choice for the academically inclined.
Along with Python, SQL programming is essential to efficiently using data in web applications. Unlike other coding languages on our list, though, SQL specifically enables the storage, extraction, and manipulation of data within an existing database.
As the primary database programming language, SQL has its own markup that must be learned to query a database effectively. Programmers interested in working with apps that utilize intensive-use databases like social media platforms, payment processors, and music libraries should consider learning SQL. For prospective data professionals, SQL familiarity is usually a must-have skill for roles like database administrator, data analyst, and QA engineer.
Over the last several years, TypeScript has grown in popularity, with close to 40% of developers using the programming language, according to Stack Overflow's 2023 Developer's Survey. According to the TypeScript website, several well-known companies are utilizing the programming language, including Google, Airbnb, and Slack.
Rust is a bit of an upstart among the other languages on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable language to learn. Stack Overflow’s 2023 Developer's Survey found that Rust was the most loved programming language among developers for the eighth year in a row, with 80 percent of Rust developers saying that they want to continue working with it.
Developed by the Mozilla Corporation, Rust, like C and C++, is intended primarily for low-level systems programming. What Rust adds to the mix, however, is an emphasis on speed and security. Rust emphasizes writing “safe code” by preventing programs from accessing parts of memory that they shouldn’t, which can cause unexpected behavior and system crashes.
The advantages of Rust mean that other big tech companies, such as Dropbox and Coursera, are using it internally for operational purposes. While it may be a bit more difficult to master than other beginner languages, Rust programming skills are likely to pay off handsomely, as the language's popularity will only continue to rise in the near future.
One of the core languages favored by Google, Go is the little language that could. As a low-level language, Go is ideal for engineers who want to enter the field of systems programming. It encompasses much of the same functionality of C and C++ without the difficult syntax and steep learning curve. It’s the perfect language for building web servers, data pipelines, and even machine-learning packages.
As a compiled language, Go runs “close to the metal,” allowing for a blazing-fast runtime. It’s an open-source language, and ambitious developers can see their personal contributions adopted and enjoyed by programmers worldwide.
If you’re interested in Apple products and mobile app development, Swift is a good place to start. First announced by Apple in 2014, Swift is a relatively new programming language used to develop iOS and macOS applications.
Swift has been optimized for performance and built from the ground up to match the realities of modern iOS development. Not only does iOS run on every iPhone and iPad, but it’s also the basis for other operating systems such as watchOS (for Apple Watches) and tvOS (for Apple TVs). In addition, Apple isn't going anywhere as a tech industry leader, and iOS apps continue to be the most profitable in the mobile app marketplace.
Like C++, C# (pronounced C Sharp) is a general-purpose, object-oriented language built on the foundations of C. It was originally designed by Microsoft as part of its .NET framework for building Windows applications.
C# uses a syntax that’s similar to other C-derived languages such as C++, so it’s easy to pick up if you’re coming from another language in the C family. C# is not only the go-to for Microsoft app development, but it’s also the language mobile developers use to build cross-platform apps on the Xamarin platform.
Additionally, anyone who is interested in VR development should consider learning C#. C# is the recommended language for building 3D and 2D video games using the popular Unity game engine, which produces one-third of the top games on the market.
Elixir is a functional, general-purpose programming language that was first introduced in 2011 by Ruby developer, José Valim. The low-latency language is used to develop high-traffic websites and highly scalable applications.
While the use of pure functional programming languages is still relatively niche, Elixir has grown in popularity in recent years due to its ability to easily handle a large amount of processing. Plus, the programming language has concurrent functioning, allowing it to work on multiple tasks at once. Today, Elixir is being used by many prominent companies like Toyota, Pinterest, and PepsiCo.
Make Your Move.
Take the first step in your journey by learning more about the immersive tech bootcamps at Fullstack Academy.
Best Programming Languages to Learn For Your Career Goals
When beginning your journey into coding, only you can answer the question of the best programming language to learn. Make your selection based on your career interests and the type of software development you want to pursue. Here is a quick summary of the different possibilities we’ve discussed:
Mobile development: Swift, Java, C#
Game development: C#
Systems programming: C, Rust, Go
It’s Code Time
Although the field of computer programming changes rapidly, the languages listed above have a great deal of staying power. By learning one or more of these languages, you’ll be in an excellent position not only for this year but in the years to come. Once you master one programming language, it’ll likely be easier to learn a second language since you can draw on existing knowledge.
An immersive program, like Fullstack Academy’s coding bootcamp, can help prepare you for a fulfilling career in software development. Not only will you build a strong foundation in several in-demand skills, but you’ll also graduate with a portfolio of work to showcase to potential employers.