What is the Best Programming Language to Learn in 2021?
So you want to be a developer? Now is a good time to learn to code. The salaries are high , the employment demand grows and an exciting new coding language tops the rankings of popularity each year.
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But what is the best programming language to learn? If you are new to this, there are many options to choose from, making it difficult to know where to start.
Programming languages continually evolve: as you pass away, you are replaced by the new big thing. If you do it right, you can earn a lot of money. Or you can go for proven languages that have stood the test of time.
All of this is enough to make your head spin. What programming language is best to learn? Which ones give the highest salaries? Are they easier to start learning? This list will guide you through everything you need to know to choose the best programming language to learn.
We are going to explore.
Table of Contents
- What Are the Different Types of Programming Languages?
- HTML y CSS
- What Programming Language is the Best?
What Are the Different Types of Programming Languages?
Every programming language is different. Although each programming language has its own syntax, the way you write, run, and compile can change everything.
Many developers prefer to work with certain types of languages. It’s also much easier to migrate between similar languages, so the first programming language you learn is important.
What are the different types of programming languages? Is there a difference between scripting and programming languages ? Let’s take a look.
- The programming languages can be virtually anything, but usually the best software development because they can be used across multiple platforms and are usually compiled rather than interpreted. Most programming languages are designed for software development, to develop programs that you download and run on your device.
- Scripting languages are the opposite. They are typically parsed, which means that your code runs on the fly rather than going through a compilation process within a program. Web development languages are usually scripting languages.
- Markup languages are not exactly programming languages, but they are used for web development. They are human-readable labels used to format a document.
- The web development languages are specialized in creating web sites, either in the frontend or backend.
- Backend (or server-side) languages modify a site from the server or application layer. For example, submitting data from a form or changing something in the database is backend programming.
Also keep in mind that many people simply use “programming languages” to refer to all coding languages as a whole. A scripting language is a specialized programming language, but not all programming languages are scripting languages.
Not all of the languages listed below are programming languages in the strictest sense, but they are all used for coding.
Time to dive in.
HTML y CSS
Although HTML and CSS are not technically programming languages, HTML5 and CSS3 are the ideal places to start if you want to be a front-end web developer. This duo forms the building blocks of any web page , with HTML structuring the content of a page and CSS styling and modifying that structure.
HTML and CSS are a good starting point for any young developer. While HTML is an easy markup language to learn, CSS will challenge you, but it’s not incredibly difficult to learn either.
|Frontend web development.
|HTML is easy to learn; CSS is also reasonably easy to learn.
|# 12 in the 2019 IEEE Languages Top. Loved by 54% of StackExchange Developers in 2020.
|$ 64k / year , according to PayScale. Also check the average salary of web designers .
|It is practically necessary to be a frontend web developer. It is very easy to learn, even for people with no programming experience. Its great popularity makes it easy to find free resources. Well supported on all devices.
|It doesn’t give you an exceptionally high salary because it is a requirement for all frontend web development jobs. Browser problems are always a concern.
|Frontend scripting. It is rarely used for mobile / software development.
|Very popular, it often goes hand in hand with HTML and CSS. # 3 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 7 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 6 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 58% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 83k / year , according to PayScale.
|The fastest and easiest way to code client-side scripts that run in the browser. A very popular programming language. Wide compatibility with various applications. It pretty much powers most modern websites, including this one.
|It can be overwhelming for those who only know markup languages. You have security and stability issues between browsers.
PHP is the language of choice for massive projects, especially WordPress itself . In its day it divided the developer community for being outdated and slow, and many still believe that it is not worth learning.
However, PHP has come back into vogue since PHP 5.x with a number of improvements in speed and structure. According to W3Techs, 79% of the surveyed websites use PHP .
One thing is clear: it is an efficient way to code server-side applications, and compared to other scripting languages, it is easy to learn. Its popularity with new programmers and the plethora of open source projects like WordPress means that there are plenty of learning resources too .
There are dozens of popular PHP frameworks , like Laravel , that can make your coding job with PHP even easier. With the release of PHP 8.0 , PHP is trying to move from just a backend scripting language to a general-purpose programming language.
|Backend web scripting.
|Easy to learn, especially for beginners.
|# 6 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 8 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 13 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 37% of StackExchange Developers in 2020 (¡ but feared by 63%!)
|$ 65k / year according to PayScale.
|Very easy to learn. It is well established in web development and is commonly found on websites. Modern versions are reasonably fast. It’s easy to find a job as a PHP developer.
|Its popularity is declining compared to new fad languages like Python. Many developers do not consider it viable.
The main purpose of SQL is to interact with a website’s database . There are a variety of database management systems like MySQL, MariaDB , SQLite, and PostgreSQL to help you manage it, but they all use the SQL language.
|Backend database management.
|Moderately easy to learn for those with programming skills. It can get very complicated if it is used for advanced functions.
|# 9 in the TIOBE index for February 2021. # 15 in the top IEEE languages of 2019. Wanted by 57% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 74k / year , according to PayScale.
|Powerful and capable of handling large amounts of data. High demand, database management is required for almost every website.
|It can be difficult to master. Dealing with stored data can be tedious.
The original C language is still used today, but most modern developers have switched to C ++. This general-purpose programming language is best known for its versatility; with it you can make applications of all kinds.
Computer programs, mobile applications, video games, operating systems, full browsers, even web development to some extent … if you can think of something, C ++ can do it. And it will do it fast.
|Mainly software development; can be used in various situations.
|Relatively difficult to learn, especially for beginners.
|# 5 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 4 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 4 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 43% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 70k / year according to PayScale.
|Pure versatility. It can be used for anything. Skills translate well into other languages. Fast and powerful.
|It is not the first language suitable for beginners. Incredibly complex due to its age and universal application. It is not ideal for web development.
While C ++ is a direct expansion of C, C # is simply inspired by it. Like C ++, C # is known to be a more modern and versatile version of the original language, which is now obsolete. So what is the difference between the two?
For one thing, C # is much easier to learn. It is simpler and less complex, but can be used to create a wide variety of different applications. It is also much better for web development than C ++. It is quite popular for game development and is in the middle of the highest paying languages.
Which of the two should I choose? It depends. C ++ is best if you need raw power. C # is simpler and easier to work with, but it is still a versatile solution.
|Mainly software and web development.
|Moderately easy to learn.
|# 4 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 5 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 7 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 60% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 68k / year according to PayScale.
|Relatively easy to learn, especially compared to C ++. Versatile. It can be used in a variety of different applications.
|It is not as powerful or as fast as C ++.
When it comes to iOS and macOS development, Swift is the gold standard. It is modern, fast and focused on security. All of this has caused his popularity to skyrocket. Developers love to code with it, as it is easy to write, which is why it has managed to monopolize iOS development.
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If you plan to develop programs or applications for Apple devices, Swift is a good programming language to start with.
|IOS and macOS development.
|Relatively easy to learn.
|# 9 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 15 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 9 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 60% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 105k / year , according to PayScale.
|Clean code with rapid development. The most popular language for iOS.
|Little multiplatform support. Its popularity is growing, but it is still considered a young language.
If Swift is the preferred language for iOS development, Kotlin is the primary language for Android. It does not pretend to be unique or revolutionary, but is inspired by the languages you already know, which is why it is so loved by developers.
It is also fully interoperable with Java, making it a direct replacement for Java. But unlike Java, whose popularity is dropping a bit, Kotlin is only growing, and it’s a competitive language to learn.
|Mainly Android development, but also web and software development.
|Relatively easy to learn.
|# 12 in the PYPL Popularity Index for February 2021. # 24 in the 2019 IEEE Top Languages. Loved by 63% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 100k / year according to PayScale.
|An excellent language for Android development, as well as for general purposes. An easy to learn and growing language. Interoperability with Java.
|Newer and less popular than Java, so there are fewer resour
Rust is an almost universally loved programming language. In many respects, it is similar to C ++. It is designed to be robust and fast, and you can use it in various projects.
Designed by Graydon Hoare at Mozilla Research, Rust was made explicitly to solve many of the problems that other languages present. So if you have problems with older technologies like Java and C ++, Rust could be the perfect successor.
|Mainly software and application development, but can be used for anything.
|It is considered a challenge to learn.
|# 16 in the PYPL Popularity Index for February 2021. # 17 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Wanted by 86% (!) Of StackExchange developers in 2020 (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019) . The least feared of all languages.
|$ 115k / year according to PayScale.
|Powerful, fast and efficient. Capable of being used in a wide variety of situations. Wanted by programmers.
|It is stricter than many other languages, making it difficult to code in it, as well as challenging to learn.
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It has almost everything you could ask for in a programming language: versatility, speed, and efficiency. Plus, it’s super easy to learn.
If potential and popularity are enough to motivate you, Python is the one to choose. There is no shortage of demand for it at this time.
|Web and software development.
|Easy to learn
|Python has exploded in popularity in recent years. # 1 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 3 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 1 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 67% of StackExchange developers in 2020, and claimed by 30%, the most of any language.
|$ 79k / year according to PayScale.
|It can be used in almost any situation, from web applications to software development to creating games. It is multiplatform. High popularity means a lot of resources and even more jobs.
|Slower than other languages. Python knowledge does not translate well to other systems.
Ruby is all simplicity. Its elegant syntax is easy to handle and designed to be as painless as possible, and it works in both front and backend development. The Ruby language is practically written in English, so learning its syntax is elementary.
But don’t be fooled by the appearance of simplicity. Ruby may not be a very powerful language, but it does its job well.
|Mainly frontend and backend web development.
|Very easy to learn.
|# 15 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 14 in the TIOBE Index of February 2021. # 17 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 43% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 78k / year , according to PayScale.
|Clean and efficient code. The language of choice for effortless web development (especially with the Ruby on Rails framework ). A large and vibrant community.
|It is not as flexible or as popular as other language
Java seems like the granddaddy of all coding languages, but it’s not really as old as C ++. Although it is considered obsolete by many, it is still used around the world and on all types of devices.
Python is getting over it and overall its popularity is waning, but it’s certainly not dead. There are thousands of jobs for Java backend developers and the demand is still high, making it a reliable option.
|Development of software / applications, web and mobile.
|Is hard to learn.
|Despite being an ancient language that has plummeted over the years, Java remains one of the main competitors in terms of popularity. # 2 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 2 in the TIOBE Index of February 2021. # 2 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 44% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 75k / year according to PayScale.
|Multiplatform and general use. Ancient and popular despite its age. Greater security.
|Learning difficulty Low performance. Popularity tends to decline
Like Kotlin, Scala was created to replace Java and its many problems. It is a powerful and versatile language, but much more concise. Although you can use it for the same systems as Java, it is mostly used for big data processing and machine learning.
Although it is not exploding with the same popularity as other languages, it has a lot of potential.
|Mainly software / application development.
|Complex and difficult to learn.
|# 18 in the PYPL Popularity Index for February 2021. # 18 in the 2019 IEEE Top Languages. Loved by 53% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 117k / year , according to PayScale.
|Less verbose and more concise than Java. Very powerful and can be used anywhere.
|As difficult to learn as Java. It is not the right language for first time programmers.
The last one is Go, an alternative to Java and C ++ designed by Google. Its best asset is performance, eliminating the considerable compilation times that afflict many other languages. It is concurrent, working in the background while performing multiple functions at once.
However, unless top speed is your only goal, other languages can do much of what Go does better. It’s not always clear exactly what you should use Go for. Still, developers like it, and its popularity continues to grow. For example, MailHog , the open source email testing tool that powers DevKinsta’s local email testing feature , is built on the Go programming language.
|Mainly backend web development.
|Very easy to learn.
|# 13 in the PYPL Popularity Index of Feb. 2021. # 13 in the TIOBE Index of Feb. 2021. # 10 in the IEEE Top Languages of 2019. Loved by 62% of StackExchange developers in 2020.
|$ 117k / year , according to PayScale.
|Very light and fast. A modern solution to common programming problems.
|Newer language, so resources are scarce. Simplicity makes it less flexible.
What Programming Language is the Best?
There is no clear answer on which coding language is the best. Each has its own pros and cons and shines in different situations. But when it comes to specific categories, there are clear winners. These are the best languages for:
Beginners: For easier languages to learn, even if you have no experience, start with HTML / CSS, Go, Ruby, PHP or Python.
Software developers: C ++ is without a doubt the most powerful. But don’t overlook Rust, Python, Scala, or C #. It all depends on the software you are building.
Mobile Developers: Swift is the best for iOS, and Kotlin for Android. But general-purpose languages like C ++ and Java can work fine too.
High Salary: Swift, Rust, Scala, Kotlin, and Go help you earn about $ 100k a year, with Scala and Go generating the highest salaries. Also check our developer salaries for different positions .
Flexibility: C ++ may be the giant of flexibility, but Rust, Java, Scala, Kotlin, and Python work well across platforms and in a variety of situations.
From remote work options 🌍 to high salaries 💰 to satisfying and exciting work 😄, there are many reasons to be a developer. The first step? Read this guide ⬇️
Choosing a single programming language from a list of hundreds is not an easy task. But if you know what you want to do and where to start, it’s a lot easier to narrow down that list to some of the best candidates. This is true whether you want the most popular language, the one with the best pay, or just the easiest to learn.
Learning to code will provide you with one of the most flexible jobs you can get, as it will allow you to work remotely and choose the technologies you prefer. Although no programming language is the best of all, a push in the right direction can help you choose the right one.
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Have we left any other programming language? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. Check out the Kinsta careers page for job opportunities related to coding and technology.
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