Perhaps it goes hand-in-hand with the booming technology and software industries, but learning a programming language is almost as useful as learning a spoken language, these days. It’s too bad that the resources you’ll use to do so require an entirely different approach. While many fresh faces looking for a new job in tech realize that they need to know some programming languages in order to remain competitive, knowing which are important is an entirely different bag of cats. We’ve taken a look at some of the most frequently used programming languages that people are learning for their jobs, in hope of simplifying an otherwise complicated landscape.
Whether you’re looking for a job in the software industry or are simply curious about programming languages, read on for more details!
Of course, if we could accompany this article with an entire kilo of salt, we probably would. Arguments arise constantly about which programming language is the most widely useful, and experts in the software development and management industry are always coming at the issue from different angles. One of the things that frequently contributes to the confusion is the fact that there is no definitive answer to the question. Not only is it impossible to decide which programming language is the most useful, it’s just as difficult to know which is the easiest.
After all, could you say which spoken language is the easiest to learn? Linguists might be able to try, but even that community might argue–quite well–about which one qualifies as “easiest.” This doesn’t even take into account the subjectivity of the learning process.
But we have to find somewhere to start, don’t we? Rather than seeking a single answer, we’re going to look at feedback and expertise from many programming experts, combining them with the hope of narrowing down a few different choices.
The Diversity of Programming Languages
For the uninitiated, there are actually many different programming languages that are used for a huge amount of tasks every single day. Java, C, C++, HTML, Python, VisualBasic, Pascal, and easily a dozen more. Sifting and sorting through them all while detailing their various strengths would take far more time than we have for this task. Primarily, this is the reason that we’re seeking expert opinions. Learned voices who are asking the very same question that we want to. Combined, they’ll give us informed answers and provide a better foundation than a simple list could ever manage to be.
The Easiest Programming Languages to Learn
Before we begin delving into some of these various programming languages, it’s important to separate them into two, distinct camps–dynamic languages and static languages. How are they different? It’s right in the definition.
Dynamic languages tend to be fluid, flexible, changing things. Many consider them great for beginners because they allow you to see quick results with less overall time spent compiling and building code.
Typically, they’re used to build simple applications and programs. Complex projects–games, productivity applications, and more complex mobile apps use static languages (or statically typed languages.) While dynamic languages are typically thought of as being more programmer-friendly, static languages tend to be more hardware friendly. They’re strict, merciless, feature more overall coding than dynamic languages, but allow for the creation of more complex final products.
Between these two, which is easiest to learn? That in itself is a difficult question to answer, but dynamic languages tend to be the outright easiest to learn. However, if you’re looking at those languages most useful to software companies, static languages are sometimes more useful.
You know what? Let’s just look at the languages.
Though this is hardly a list of all the dynamic languages that a person, even a beginner, could learn, they’re the few that most would recommend a person start, if they’re new to programming. They’re also arguably useful in software development and coding jobs, which is the more important factor.
Ruby is a programming language that’s been designed from the ground up to be simple, straightforward, and incredibly intuitive for programmers from various backgrounds to use. The newest release of the language is as recent as December 2016, which speaks to how relevant it remains for modern programmers.
As is the case with many dynamic languages, Ruby was designed to function in response to a programmer’s needs, rather than the machine they may be working on. It’s frequently used to develop and manage the backend of web applications.
If we were to tell you that this programming language was named after Monty Python, would it give you a better idea of why it’s so good? Python remains one of the best multi-purpose dynamic programming languages that people commit to learning. Though its usefulness is sometimes questioned due to how “commonly” it can be used, it’s undoubtedly popular.
Like Ruby, it’s frequently used for web-based applications. Systems that might not have a dedicated, knowledgeable programmers constantly available to manage them are often written in Python, due to how easily it can be learned and maintained. It’s not terribly different from the English language, as far as interpretation goes.
Below are three static languages that beginners may choose to invest some time and effort into learning. While these may be more difficult to learn than the dynamic languages listed above, they’ll allow you greater access to a larger amount of potential work, which is important for a beginning programmer on the hunt for a job.
It’s meant to be easier to learn and use than C++, for which it mostly succeeds. Because it’s a statically-typed language, it’s great for applications that are intended to be grown and built upon. As of now, Java is still one of the most frequently-used programming languages to date.
Many experienced programmers have disparate opinions about Swift. Some find it to be one of the easiest statically-compiled languages to learn, as well as one of the most rewarding. Quite a few of those programmers are working on iOS apps, because as it happens, Swift is all but designed to function in an iOS environment, assisted by Apple Core Libraries.
If you want to develop for Mac OS X or iOS, Swift is going to be absolutely essential to your learning. There’s no way around that. However, it has a lot in common with C/C++ and even Ruby, which also means that you should be learning other languages alongside Swift. It’s hard to escape the trap that is C/C++ anyway, but these alone won’t suffice if you want to work on applications that are made to run on Apple hardware.
While it might have been tempting to say something about C++ or Objective-C instead, most programmers would argue that C is inherently the more useful programming language to learn if you’re looking for a job as a programmer. Once you’ve learned it, moving onto C++ and Objective-C isn’t too cumbersome of a task. Aside from that, C is still an exceptionally useful language with quite a lot of programming history.
It’s a procedural language, which sets it apart from many others that you’ll eventually learn. It’s not object-oriented, but it will give you foundational knowledge for all future languages that you decide to study. Does that make it the most useful language you can learn? No, because as we’ve discussed, different lines of programming work are going to demand different skill sets and separate programming languages. However, C is right at the root of many of them, which makes it extremely useful to know!
This is far from the only list of possible “best languages” that you can learn if you’re a beginning programmer looking for a job. Heck, even some experts might recommend entirely different languages than those we’ve listed above, but by and large, these are the most-frequently-utilized programming languages that you should be committing time to if you want to be accepted in a programming position. Which of them is going to be “easiest” to learn is going to depend wholly on you. It’s worth mentioning, in closing, that relative ease usually has very little to do with selecting what you learn, as opposed to what you need to learn in order to do a job well!