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Picking the Languages to Learn

DZone's Guide to

Picking the Languages to Learn

Whether you're just getting into development or a pro, if you're wondering what language to learn next, you can't go wrong with Java, C, C++, C#, Python, or Ruby.

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It seems like every day, technology gets more integrated into our lives. So if you’re someone who wants to build a better foundation of programming knowledge for yourself, or you’re actually looking to go into computer programming as a career, you need to develop a base of understanding regarding the most impactful programming skills out there. With that in mind, here are six programming languages you should learn right now.

Java

The classic that was introduced in the 90s, Java is an open-source language that is owned by Oracle. Capable of being run on all devices, Java is used in everything from smartphones and software development to smart TVs.

Why it’s worth learning: Java is a highly demanded language. Businesses of all sizes use Java to power their apps, meaning that if you’re the innovative type looking to enhance or upgrade business software, Java is a great choice for you to learn. Same goes if you’ve got a cutting-edge idea for an Android app since Java is the go-to language for Android developers.

Apps/examples: Java is used in such highly popular apps as Temple Run, Angry Birds, and Candy Crush. This also goes for a lot of the business software that government agencies, airlines, and even Fortune 500 companies.

Job titles/opportunities: Java is so widely used that a lot of companies bring in Java programmers under a variety of job titles. JEE App Developer, Solutions Developer, Senior Java Developer and Software Engineer are just some of the titles given to those who specialize in Java programming. JP Morgan, eBay, and Google are all examples of well-known companies that consistently bring in good Java programmers.

C

Brought to life in the 70s, C is often considered the granddaddy of modern programming languages. A number of today’s top languages, such as C++, Python, and Java are heavily influenced by C and despite its inception going back roughly 40 years, C still plays a prominent role in the current programming world.

Why it’s worth learning: The majority of good or professional programmers are proficient in multiple languages. So C is a great choice as a starter if you’re planning on learning more. One thing to note though is that C is not a simple language to learn. In fact, it comes with a pretty tough learning curve. But this can be seen as a plus, rather than a negative, because once you’re proficient at C, it should be relatively easy to pick up the newer languages like C++, Objective C, PHP, and numerous others.

Applications/examples: C is a pretty powerful language. It's often used as a backbone to support some of the world’s most highly used OS systems such as OSX, Windows, and Linux. In fact, virtually all modern devices are either fully or partially written in C. Microwaves, calculators, remote controls, databases, they all most likely implement C in some form.

Job titles/opportunities: Due to its continued relevancy, there are a number of well-paying jobs being offered to high-level C programmers. Some of the job titles offered are a scientific programmer, OS system programmer, and systems programmer. In addition, there are numerous research-focused positions and corporate opportunities available.

C++

C++ is essentially a pumped up, hybridized version of C. The same way flash essay is superior to other professional writing sites, C++ offers more features than its predecessor. C++ is generally implemented in more sophisticated applications such as video game engines and accounting software.

Why it’s worth learning: C++ is excellent for large scale software projects that could include computer graphics drivers, web browsers, and finance trading algorithms. Additionally, C++ includes the feature of object orientated programming, something that C struggles to support. This reason alone may make C++ a better choice to learn than C.

Applications/examples: Big name games such as Halo, Call of Duty and FIFA all use engines written in C++. On top of that, elite level computer animation companies (Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, etc.) incorporate C++ in one form or another. Due to its speed and power, Wall Street uses C++ to write the high-frequency trading algorithms that move shares by the thousands in less than a second.

Job titles/opportunities: Game developer, graphical interface developer, and animation programmer are all positions that companies seek out C++ programmers for. C++ programmers are frequently hired by powerhouse companies such as Bank of America, Activision, and Pixar.

C#

Developed in 2000, C# is a general use language designed to be used in Microsoft products. Useful for the development of Windows software, C# is a part of the .NET family (owned by Microsoft) that utilizes a number of other languages, which can be combined with C# on large products.

Why it’s worth learning: Go with C# if you want to develop specific applications for windows or design a website that runs on the Windows server. Not as widely used as Java or PHP, C#’s popularity has been on the rise since it was introduced to the public.

Applications and examples: Since C# is meant for Microsoft products, it can also be used for such applications as MSN and Bing. In addition, the Windows Phone OS system’s mobile apps are built using C#.

Job titles/opportunities: Companies that are seeking to bring in .NET programmers are often looking for full-stack developers instead of specialized ones. Full-stack is the name for developers who can contribute to the entire scope of the project from back-end to front-end. So there are a lot of C# positions available, however, keep in mind that knowing more .NET languages than just C# will improve your marketability.

Python

A relatively easy-to-learn programming language, Python is a great overall use language that first came about in the 90s. Highly readable yet quite powerful, Python packs a big punch that allows it to be used for web development, scientific computing, and 3D rendering.

Why it’s worth learning: If your aim is to jump headfirst into programming without a heavy learning curve, Python is for you. It can be picked up at a comparatively fast pace, making it a very friendly beginner language.

Apps/examples: Some of Pythons greatest hits include YouTube, Instagram, and Reddit. It is true that due to these applications growing to a massive scope and size that other, more modern languages are now involved, Python was a cornerstone in the development of those sites.

Job titles/opportunities: Thanks to Python’s versatility, there are plenty of positions available to those who are highly skilled in the language. Network security developer, data analyst, IT auditor, and web app developer is just some of the titles offered to Python programmers. On top of that, YouTube and Google are frequently on the lookout for top-level Python programmers.

Ruby

Similar to Python, Ruby is an easy-to-learn, powerful programming language that’s only more recently found popularity due to the development of its Rails framework (a framework makes performing particular tasks easier and faster). Rails allow web development within Ruby to be highly intuitive.

Why it’s worth learning: As mentioned above, in terms of abilities, Ruby is a lot like Python. One thing to note is that Ruby’s style has something of a reputation as being unappealing. This doesn’t have to be seen as a negative, though, since some people prefer certain styles over others, and you could very well like Ruby’s better.

Apps/example: Twitter and Metasploit are the two big names using software developed with Ruby. Metasploit being an extremely popular security tool implemented by companies and individual and Twitter, the wildly famous social platform.

Job titles/opportunities: Although jobs are available for pure Ruby programmers, the lion’s share of positions are seeking programmers proficient in Rails. These are usually positions being offered by mid-sized businesses and start-ups that use Rails as their site’s prototyping language.

Conclusion

While it can be a bit confusing knowing where to start when learning program language, if you simply select one of the languages listed above and focus on becoming proficient at it, you’ll give yourself a great foundation to advance from there. Just remember, the better at programming you get, the more confident you’ll become — and that confidence will lead to a successful career.

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Topics:
programming languages ,java ,python ,c++ ,c# ,ruby

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