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If you’re just starting out on your software developer journey then this post on languages to learn for beginners is where you should start. But if you already have some coding experience and want to sink your teeth into something more challenging, read on. 

When choosing a software engineering path, you likely see yourself doing something satisfying and interesting that pays well. But what exactly is it that excites you when thinking of a career in development? Is it teaching AI to talk like a human or creating a game to rival the most popular ones? Or perhaps it’s inventing a new cryptocurrency? This is all possible with the right foundation and languages, here’s what you need to know to get started. 

Mobile Development

There’s currently a massive demand for mobile apps, both Android and iOS. If you want to develop Android apps you should learn Java or Kotlin. To have more options for Android mobile app development, also consider JavaScript. Note though that it’s not aimed at native app development and should be combined with HTML, CSS, AJAX, etc. to build a cross-platform application. But coded once, JavaScript apps can be released on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, too.

As for iOS, start with Swift, a programming language released exclusively for iOS and Linux. It is deeply influenced by Python and Ruby and is very beginner-friendly. As the primary code for iOS and OS X, Swift is replacing Objective-C, the older code, in new apps. Our tip is to start with Swift, then complement it with basic knowledge of Objective-C

Game Development

Envision yourself as a game programmer? C++ is the most commonly used language to program game engines. It allows you to control hardware and graphic processes in games and powers games like Counter-Strike, WoW, Warcraft III. If you have to choose only one language to focus on for creating games, choose C++. After you master C++, turn to Java - which is related to C, making it easy to add on new skills and increase your career possibilities. 

If you’re fond of gaming, then you’ll love the idea that you can now combine playing games and learning to code. From basic programming principles to coding challenges, there’s quite a few exciting and useful projects around. 

AI and Machine Learning

The commercial influence of AI on industries - from finance to medicine and more - is already evident, and the market of intelligent solutions only continues to grow. In this area, Java is the language to focus on once again. It works well with search engine algorithms, supports large-scale projects and has many open-source libraries. Algorithms written in Java are used by platforms like Netflix, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay and more. 

The second choice for this field is programming language Python, but it’s not as suitable for mobile development and games. Still, giants like Facebook, Instagram and Spotify all rely on algorithms developed in Python. 

Data Science  

If you’re interested in data science, Python is the best choice. Various libraries provide ready solutions for data visualization and large data sets. In fact, data analysts have named Python the number one programming language in their field, leaving behind the R language. Nevertheless, R is still more suitable for data modeling and data science. Due to its complex syntax though, it’s not the best choice for beginners.

Java can be used for big data, as well. Some core big data technologies are written in it including: Apache Hadoop, Apache Hive, Apache HBase. It is an old, proven, and well-tested language, with multiple use-cases and the ability to run on almost any system.

Cloud Computing 

Cloud is used in many ways, from SaaS applications, to infrastructure as a service and more. Java is also the forerunner here for  the top language for cloud programming. It’s ability to run on different systems is the main perk of Java for the cloud, not to mention the ease of use and security features. It’s no wonder that Java is the top choice for Internet solutions. 

Another option to develop cloud-based web applications is ASP.NET, a programming language, or rather an open-source web framework, designed by Microsoft. It is reliable and quite easy to use; however, you need some experience with .NET to start building web apps and services with it. 

Cybersecurity

If you enjoy analyzing various IT systems for potential vulnerabilities and malicious code, want to write your own code to ensure program security or want to become an ethical hacker, then start with SQL. It’s used to manage databases, and hackers tend to exploit it (specifically, SQL injection) to extract sensitive data, from passwords to bank account information. 

PHP is another important language for cybersecurity professionals. Since the majority of the web is powered by it, cybersecurity programmers experienced in PHP are in high demand. Just ponder the number of DDoS attacks on websites every day, and you’ll understand the magnitude of this problem. 

Blockchain

Experts say blockchain has a great future in various fields, especially those that need improved security. To build custom blockchain programs, engineers use C++ and JavaScript. Due to its memory control capabilities, C++ helps manage an impressive number of requests and handles parallel tasks and threading well. 

EOS is an example of using C++ for blockchain. Blockchain developers praise JavaScript as well because of the way it handles asynchronous code, - critical for blockchain - where thousands of transactions can be initiated at the same time. 

In addition to these two useful programming languages, there is also Solidity and Simplicity, two smart contract and blockchain development languages. Solidity is extensively used by Ethereum, while Simplicity is yet to gain more recognition: It was released in November 2017, and its creators are still extending the capabilities. 

So there you have it, the top languages we recommend learning when once you’ve chosen your programming niche. As always, do more research to determine the niche you think is best for you. Our list should help give you an idea of where to start though and the advantages of various languages for different areas.

Understand more than the basics and ready to learn some of the new programming languages? Check out our post on new programming languages and which will be popular in 2020.


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