12 Most Popular Programming Languages

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Rafael Timbó
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Rafael Timbó
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Chief Technology Officer
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Learn more about the 12 most popular programming languages that were chosen by software development and engineering experts.
Published on
January 27, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

Whether you are in an executive, or manager role, looking to learn about the different types of options your team team has to work with, or a software developer or engineer looking to see what your programming language options are, it’s a good idea to see what is out there.  This can help you become more well-rounded in understanding what choice to make for your particular project. 

If you are looking at educating yourself in order to hire a software developer or engineer, than schedule a meeting with one of our Revelo representatives to make your hiring and onboarding more efficient and easier with our platform of highly-vetted developers and engineers. 


What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a set of instructions that are written for a computer to execute. Computers only understand binary language that uses 1s and 0s. Programming languages bridge the gap between our language and the binary language of computers.

There are two different types of programming languages: high-level and low-level. Low-level languages are closer in nature to binary computer code. They're fast, efficient, and give you granular control. However, they can be hard for people to learn, understand, and read.

High-level programming languages more closely resemble human language. They're often easy to read and understand, even without extensive training. However, they take longer for the computer to translate and run than low-level languages.

With the advent of more powerful computers, the computational time difference between high-level languages and low-level languages has shrunk. In most cases, because high-level languages are easier to learn and the time differences are minimal, it's best to start by learning a high-level language.

12 Popular Languages for Programming 2022

There are a seemingly endless variety of popular programming languages to choose from in 2022. From building augmented reality experiences to banking applications and video game design, there's a language that's perfectly suited to what you want to do. Some are better for beginners, while others offer the fine-tuned control that experienced programmers are looking for. There's no one-size-fits-all option for choosing the best product.

JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most often-used coding languages in the world due to its versatility, simplicity, and ease of use. Javascript is a scripting language that's used to control the behavior of web pages. Along with CSS and HTML, it makes up the triad of front-end programming languages. JavaScript is widely used in web applications, mobile applications, and game development.

You can use JavaScript to create dynamic web elements such as clickable buttons, interactive maps, and animated graphics. JavaScript works with HTML and CSS to give users a better web experience. It's easy for beginners to learn JavaScript because it requires no previous coding knowledge. You can test it out immediately in most browsers. There's a wealth of information available for learning JavaScript. You can join numerous online communities and access tutorials for help in learning JavaScript.

Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language that can be used with different programming styles, such as functional, object-oriented, and reflective. Beginners are drawn to Python because it's easy to learn and has an extensive library of resources for plug-and-play use. Many well-known apps were built with Python, including:

  • Uber
  • Spotify
  • Pinterest
  • Dropbox
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Python is extremely marketable in the IT industry. It's used for data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, app development (including back-end applications), and more. Developers love the interactive nature of Python because they can test code as they go, meaning they don't need to invest copious amounts of time into creating long chunks of code that may later need to be revised.

HTML

Hypertext markup language — commonly referred to as HTML — is a markup language rather than a programming language. A markup language uses tags to define elements within a document as opposed to a programming language, which is used to produce output. HTML is one of the easiest languages to learn and is often a developer's first step in learning computer languages. It's used in creating web pages. It tells a browser where and how text should be displayed on a web page.

It doesn't have the same type of functionality as other programming languages, but it's invaluable in structuring web pages. HTML is used in over 90% of web pages, so it's a must-know if you're interested in front-end web development.

CSS

CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheets, is a design language that governs the look of a website. It allows developers to apply a style to a parent group and have it carry through all child groups throughout the site. This saves a tremendous amount of time since you can write CSS once and reuse it multiple times. Similarly, it's easy to maintain CSS by making changes to the style and applying it to all elements.

CSS has a much wider variety of styles than HTML, and the style sheets can be used to optimize content on many different devices. Your code is more efficient in CSS than in HTML. You don't have to include an HTML attribute at every instance, so there's less code to run, which makes for faster execution.

Java

Java is a general-use, class-based, object-oriented programming language. Object-oriented languages allow you to create objects that hold data and functions that can then be used in programs. Java works exceptionally well for handling data and providing security. It's often used in the financial industry and for e-commerce applications.

Java uses simple syntax that's easy to learn, so it's beginner friendly. One of the top benefits of Java is that it's a write-once, run-anywhere language. It doesn't matter what operating system you use to write a Java program — it can run on any other operating system. This feature makes it ideal for writing apps for remote sensors and processors, apps, and other consumer devices with varied operating systems.

There are numerous resources and a robust support community for Java, so if you're trying to learn Java, you'll have lots of support. Java is in high demand as a programming language. There are currently over 100,000 jobs listed for Java developers.

SQL

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language that is used to access and perform operations on the data stored in relational databases. It's used by database administrators, developers who are writing data integration scripts, and data scientists who are running analytical queries. SQL can locate, retrieve, and manipulate data to create sales reports and business management information.

Relational databases that work primarily with SQL are table-based. However, SQL is best used with smaller databases since it doesn't handle larger ones as well. In the era of big data, SQL is a valuable language to learn. Data analysis is a primary function of almost every organization.

NoSQL

NoSQL (Non-relational Structured Query Language) is used with non-relational databases. Non-relational databases store data in document, key-value, wide-column, or graph formats. NoSQL works with unstructured data and is suitable for delivering highly responsive experiences to many distributed users. Since 80% to 90% of data is unstructured, NoSQL is an extremely useful language for extracting information from otherwise impenetrable walls of unstructured data.

More companies are using NoSQL as digital economy trends increase both the availability of big data and the need to manipulate it. Some of these challenges include:

  • Customers increasingly going online
  • More connectivity
  • More data availability
  • More cloud-based applications
  • Increased use of mobile devices

C#

C# (C Sharp) was developed by Microsoft to run on the .NET framework in 2002. It's a general-purpose, object-oriented language that was created as an improvement on C++. If you're experienced with any of the other C languages, you'll have an easy time learning C#. It's a versatile language that can be used in a variety of applications. C# is a popular choice for video game development for PCs and video game consoles. Types of games that have been created with C# include:

  • Platforms
  • Side-scrollers
  • Role-playing games
  • Augmented reality games
  • Virtual reality games

C# is obviously a favorite of Microsoft developers since it was designed to work with the .NET platform. However, it can also be used with an open-source platform as well. It's a statically typed language that's easy to read and understand. As it's been around for a while, there's a large community of developers and resources to support you as you learn it.

Go

Go was developed by Google in 2007 as a way to write simple and efficient code. It's a minimalist language that's easy to learn. While there are add-ons for Go, the built-in frameworks for profiling and testing are fully functional and intuitive. It's a good choice for web development, cloud applications, DevOps and site reliability, and command-line interfaces.

With a dedicated networking API, Go has networking programming built into its standard library. Go can execute several processes concurrently, making it extremely efficient. It's also one of the fastest back-end programming languages available. Although Go is growing in popularity, it's not on the level of some of the more established languages yet.

Kotlin

Kotlin is another statically typed language that's easy to read and write. It's become popular with Android developers. It has many tools and frameworks that are compatible with Java, making it a viable option for many developers. Kotlin is much simpler than Java and other robust programming languages, allowing you to accomplish the same tasks with simpler and shorter code. Kotlin's simplicity makes it easy to read and understand. It also maintains Java's robustness due to its interchangeability. While Java is an established, beloved language, it's not without its flaws. Kotlin addresses many of these flaws while being more usable.

R

R is a simple, effective language designed for statistical computing and graphics. If you're running a data science project, R is likely to be the best option. It includes a wide variety of statistical and graphical techniques such as:

  • Linear and nonlinear modeling
  • Statistics tests
  • Time-series analysis
  • Clustering
  • Classification

R can easily produce well-designed plots that are ready for publication. It's a language that was designed for statisticians. Its functionality may be limited in that manner, but it does what it does very well.

Rust

Rust ranks well below some of the other languages in current usage, but it scores high on interest. Its advantages aren't as well known as some of the more popular languages such as Java and Python. Rust is multi-paradigm, which means you can work in a variety of programming styles with Rust. It's often used to create operating systems, virtual reality, and web browsers. It can run multiple concurrencies, making it a good choice when you need speed and efficiency. Rust also enforces memory safety so all references point to valid memory. If you're interested in learning an underused language with lots of possibilities, Rust is a great option.

Related Reading: Front End Frameworks

What Programming Languages Give You a Basic Understanding?

If you're just getting started and want to learn the basics, you can start with the front-end triad and then learn a popular back-end language.

HTML/CSS

HTML is always a great place to start learning. If you begin with this markup language, you'll learn a lot about how computer languages work and how to build functional websites. Although it won't have all of the bells and whistles, you can create a website with just HTML. Along the way, you'll learn a lot of useful syntax and knowledge.

After HTML, the next step in front-end development is usually CSS. With CSS, you'll be able to create fancier websites and learn even more about languages and functionality.

JavaScript

JavaScript rounds out the front-end development languages you need to know. JavaScript allows you to add applets and other functional elements to your website. If you have a good grasp of these three languages, you'll be a competent front-end developer.

Python

Finally, after you have a well-developed understanding of front-end development, Python is a perfect back-end language to learn. Because it's a high-level language, its syntax will be familiar. Plus, not only is Python one of the easiest languages for beginners to learn, but it's also one of the most in-demand programming languages. You'll gain an easily marketable skill when you learn it.

The extensive resources and community that surround Python will ensure you'll be able to find the support and resources you need to learn it, while its versatility makes it adaptable to almost every project. It may not always be the best option for every project, but there's a good chance it can do whatever you need it to.

Related Reading: Front End Frameworks: What They Are, and Best Options

What is the Average Software Engineer Salary?

While annual salaries for software engineers can vary widely based on tech stack and experience, the average for U.S.-based developers is $94,062 annually. Engineers with less than one year of experience make less, averaging $87,893 annually, while those with more than 10 years of experience can expect to average $118,331 annually.

Common Places To Work With a Community of Developers

Software development is a challenging field, and you should expect to always be learning. Technology advances quickly, and programming is a complicated endeavor. Developers rely on their community for help and answers to complex (and sometimes easy) problems. Here are some communities where you can connect with other developers at all levels of experience.

Github

Github is a supportive community where you can learn and grow as a developer. Github allows you to keep a repository of your code, so it also acts like a portfolio of sorts. You can examine others' code as well, so you can get an idea of how other developers handle problems for inspiration.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a site that allows you find answers to millions of coding questions. You can share your experience privately or contribute to the open community. Stack Overflow also has a job board where you can find your next job. Being active in Stack Overflow is a great way to raise your professional profile.

HackerNews

HackerNews is focused on sharing social news regarding computer science and entrepreneurship. Y Combinator, the well-known investment fund and startup incubator, runs HackerNews and describes it as "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity." Here, you can connect with other developers and find out all the latest industry news.

HackerNoon

HackerNoon is a place where you can read, write, and learn about technology. It started as a simple tech blog and has grown into a place where over 25,000 tech professionals share their stories and experience. You'll find articles by technologists, blockchain experts, developers, and bitcoin enthusiasts.

How to Hire a Programmer

The global labor shortage is hitting the tech industry harder than most others. The pandemic rapidly accelerated the pace of digital development, worsening the already-existing tech talent shortage. To make matters worse, the Great Resignation resulted in a mass exodus of tech workers. If you're having a hard time filling your open tech positions, or if you aren't sure whether a professional developer you'd like to hire truly has the programming and coding skills you need, you're certainly not alone.

Working with a tech talent partner like Revelo can simplify the hiring process. We help you find, hire, and pay top-notch experienced developers from Latin America. We take on the responsibility of vetting qualified developers in every imaginable tech stack. You simply hire the tech talent that's the best fit for your organization. Most of our customers start interviewing candidates within three days and hire new team members within three weeks.

While nearshoring has numerous benefits, including expanding your pool of qualified developers, it can seem like an overwhelming process. Dealing with the complexities of hiring developers in a different country isn't always easy. Revelo assumes the risk and makes the process effortless for you. We handle back office operations, benefits, and compliance issues related to expanding in a different country. Without having to deal with administrative issues, you can focus on building your company. Reach out today to find out how Revelo can help you bridge the tech talent gap.

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