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Robert Johns | 15 Feb, 2024
Fact checked by Jim Markus

The 20 Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2024

In this article, I'll share the best programming languages in 2024.

Choosing the best programming language can be tricky. Plus, when you consider that the Stack Overflow developer survey alone lists more than 40 different programming languages, there's a lot to choose from!

So, if you’re curious about the best programming language to learn, I’m here to help!

Perhaps you’re interested in data, and you’re thinking about learning Python. Or maybe you’re interested in learning JavaScript for front-end development?

Whatever your goals, join me as I deep-dive into the best programming languages to learn in 2024, including use cases, pros and cons, and more.

The Best Programming Languages To Learn In 2024

1. JavaScript

Why should you learn this language in 2024?

JavaScript

Learning JavaScript in 2024 is like adding a Swiss Army knife to your coding toolkit!

Known for its flexibility and ubiquity, JavaScript continues to reign as the cornerstone of web development. It’s no wonder there are so many great JavaScript courses available.

It’s also held the top spot as the most popular language on the annual Stack Overflow survey for more than a decade!

And at a time when the internet shapes so much of our daily lives, JavaScript's role has evolved far beyond adding interactivity to websites. 

It's now a critical player in server-side development, mobile app creation, and even the burgeoning fields of machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

One compelling reason to dive into JavaScript is its vast ecosystem and community support. With JavaScript frameworks and libraries like React, Angular, and Vue.js, developers can rapidly prototype and deploy complex applications and JavaScript projects.

Plus, the advent of Node.js has expanded JavaScript's reach to server-side programming, enabling full-stack development with a single language. This simplification reduces the need to know multiple languages when building full-stack applications.

JavaScript's continual evolution ensures it remains at the forefront of modern web standards and practices. 

I’m always impressed by its commitment to annual updates through the ECMAScript specifications, as this guarantees new features and improvements that keep pace with the changing landscape of web technology. 

What is this language used for?

  • Web Development: At its core, JavaScript is used to create dynamic and interactive web pages, enhancing user experiences with real-time updates and interactivity.
  • Front-End Frameworks and Libraries: Frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue.js can build sophisticated single-page applications (SPAs) with rich user interfaces and client-side functionality.
  • Server-Side Development: With Node.js, JavaScript extends its capabilities to the server side to allow the development of scalable and high-performance web applications.
  • Mobile App Development: Frameworks like React Native and Ionic allow developers to use JavaScript to create cross-platform mobile applications that run on iOS and Android.
  • Game Development: JavaScript is also used in game development, particularly web-based and mobile games, leveraging libraries like Phaser and Three.js.
  • Machine Learning and AI: Libraries like TensorFlow.js allow developers to implement machine learning models directly in the browser or on Node.js, bringing AI capabilities to web and server-side applications.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Ubiquitous across web development; essential for client-side scripting.
  • Rich ecosystem with frameworks and libraries for enhanced development speed.

Cons

  • Dynamic typing can lead to runtime errors and bugs.
  • Single-threaded nature, which can lead to performance issues in complex applications.

Popularity: #1 on Stack Overflow, #3 on PYPL, #6 on TIOBE

2. Python

Why should you learn this language in 2024?

Python

Okay, big disclaimer: I’m very biased regarding Python! It’s by far, my favorite language, so much so that I created my own Python course to teach beginners.

But don’t just take my word for it because Python continues to be one of the most popular programming languages for beginners and experienced developers alike.

Much of this can be tied to its clear syntax and readability, meaning that Python makes programming accessible and enjoyable, especially for beginners. 

But its ease of use doesn't detract from its power; Python is a heavyweight in various advanced fields, from data science to web development, making it an invaluable language to learn in 2024.

One of Python's best attributes is its vast ecosystem of Python libraries and frameworks, which allows you to tackle complex tasks and Python projects with relative ease. 

For instance, libraries like NumPy and pandas have revolutionized data analysis, while TensorFlow and PyTorch have become cornerstones in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

This extensive Python library support, combined with its inherent simplicity, allows for rapid prototyping and development, making it an ideal language for both academic research and production environments.

In fact, the list of Python applications is impressively wide, and Python's widespread adoption across various industries ensures that learning it in 2024 can open numerous doors in the job market. 

So whether you’re interested in high-demand sectors like web and software development to data analytics and beyond, Python is a great choice. 

I should also point out that I’m always impressed by Python's active and welcoming community, as this provides an invaluable resource for learners, offering extensive documentation, tutorials, and forums to assist in overcoming any hurdles encountered along the learning journey.

Plus, with so many great Python courses to choose from, it’s easy to go from absolute novice to capable coder in no time at all.

What is this language used for?

  • Data Science, Analysis, and Visualization: With libraries like pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib, Python excels in data manipulation, statistical analysis, and data visualization, making it a go-to choice for data scientists and analysts.
  • Machine Learning and AI: Frameworks such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-learn enable Python users to develop and train sophisticated machine learning models, driving advancements in artificial intelligence.
  • Web Development: Web frameworks, including Django and Flask, offer powerful tools for building secure, scalable, and maintainable web applications with ease.
  • Automation and Scripting: Python's simplicity makes it ideal for automating repetitive tasks and scripting, enhancing productivity and efficiency in various workflows.
  • Scientific and Numeric Computing: The language is heavily utilized in scientific research for simulations, computational modeling, and complex calculations, supported by libraries like SciPy and NumPy.
  • Software Development: Beyond web and data-focused domains, Python is also used for general-purpose software development, offering libraries and tools that cater to a wide range of applications, from GUI-based applications to command-line tools.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Highly readable syntax, making it accessible for beginners and versatile for various applications.
  • Extensive standard library and third-party modules for a broad range of tasks.

Cons

  • Slower execution time compared to compiled languages.
  • Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) can be a bottleneck in CPU-bound and multi-threaded code.

Popularity: #3 on Stack Overflow, #1 on PYPL, #1 on TIOBE

3. HTML/CSS

Why should you learn this language in 2024? HTML and CSS languages

Despite their almost ancient web origins, HTML and CSS continue to be essential languages in 2024 for anyone who wants to embark on a journey into web development. 

These two languages, though distinct, are often mentioned in tandem due to their complementary roles in web development.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) lays the structural groundwork of web pages, defining elements like headings, paragraphs, and links. 

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), on the other hand, is the stylistic counterpart to HTML and is responsible for the layout, colors, fonts, and overall visual presentation. 

Together, they form the bedrock upon which the vast expanse of the web is built! 

And in 2024, learning HTML and CSS is more relevant than ever as the demand for accessible, responsive, and visually appealing web content continues to surge. 

Plus, with the proliferation of mobile devices and their range of screen sizes, mastering HTML and CSS ensures you can create websites and HTML projects that are not only functional but adaptable across various platforms. 

The advent of HTML5 and CSS3 also brought with it a plethora of features, such as semantic elements, advanced selectors, and animations. These are ideal for crafting sophisticated and interactive user experiences without heavy reliance on JavaScript or other technologies.

Although it’s fair to say that HTML, CSS, and JavaScript form the ‘holy trinity’ of web development, and it’s usually the case that you’ll start with HTML/CSS before introducing JS for more impressive interactivity. 

Just check out any good web development course, and you’ll see that they revolve around these three web technologies.

Understanding HTML and CSS is also crucial for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and web accessibility. 

Proper use of HTML elements and attributes enhances the semantic structure of web content, making it more discoverable by search engines and accessible to users with disabilities. This is increasingly important in a digital landscape that values inclusivity and broad reach.

If you’re an aspiring web developer or even a seasoned developer looking to solidify their grasp of web fundamentals, HTML and CSS offer a straightforward yet deeply enriching learning path. 

Their simplicity belies the depth of creativity and technical precision they enable, making them indispensable tools in the modern web developer's arsenal.

What is this language used for?

  • Web Page Structure: HTML provides the basic structure of web pages, defining elements like headers, paragraphs, lists, and more, which are essential for organizing and displaying content.
  • Styling and Layout: CSS is used to style HTML elements, controlling aspects like layout, colors, fonts, and spacing, to create visually appealing web pages.
  • Responsive Design: CSS media queries and flexible grid systems enable the creation of responsive designs that adapt to different screen sizes and devices, ensuring a consistent user experience.
  • Web Accessibility: Proper use of HTML elements and CSS can enhance the accessibility of web content, making it usable for people with a wide range of disabilities.
  • Animation and Interactivity: CSS animations and transitions add dynamic effects to web pages, improving user engagement without the need for complex JavaScript.
  • Form Design: HTML forms, styled with CSS, are crucial for user interactions, allowing for data input and submission on websites for tasks like search, feedback, and registrations.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Fundamental to web development; essential for structuring and styling web content.
  • Wide browser support and standardized technologies ensure consistency across the web.

Cons

  • Limited programming capabilities; reliant on other languages (like JavaScript) for interactivity.
  • CSS can become complex and hard to maintain in large projects.

Popularity: #2 on Stack Overflow

4. SQL

Why should you learn this language in 2024? SQL language

At a time when data is almost like the new gold, SQL (Structured Query Language) continues to be the lingua franca for interacting with databases, making it an indispensable skill for anyone looking to mine insights from data.

Its enduring relevance is probably best underscored by its precision and efficiency in data querying, manipulation, and management across relational database management systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server.

But don’t be fooled, knowing how to use SQL commands is not just for database admins, as SQL has become universally applicable across various industries. 

Every sector, from tech to healthcare, finance, and beyond, relies on data to make informed decisions, and SQL enables you to communicate with databases to retrieve the data you need, update records, and perform complex analyses with ease. 

I’ve always appreciated that Its syntax is intuitive and declarative, allowing you to specify what you want to do with the data without outlining the steps to achieve it. 

This also makes SQL incredibly powerful for data analysis, reporting, and the backend management of web applications. If this appeals, definitely consider checking out a good SQL course.

It’s also fair to say that SQL's role in the modern data stack is more critical than ever, especially with the rise of big data and advanced analytics. 

SQL also interfaces seamlessly with popular data analysis tools and languages like Python and R, enhancing its utility for data scientists and analysts. 

Plus, the advent of SQL-based technologies in distributed systems, such as Apache Hive and Spark SQL, has also extended its relevance to processing massive datasets.

So, when you think about learning SQL in 2024, remember that it’s not just about understanding database operations; it's about unlocking the potential to derive actionable insights from data.

Whether you're optimizing database performance, conducting complex data analyses, or managing vast datasets, SQL provides the robust foundation you need to get the job done.

What is this language used for?

  • Data Querying: Retrieving specific data from databases based on given criteria, essential for generating reports, conducting analyses, and supporting decision-making processes.
  • Data Manipulation: Inserting, updating, and deleting records within database tables, enabling dynamic and up-to-date data management.
  • Database Management: Creating and maintaining database structures, including tables, views, and indexes, to optimize data storage and retrieval efficiency.
  • Data Analysis: Performing complex analyses, such as aggregations, joins, and subqueries, to extract insights and relationships from data.
  • Data Integration: Facilitating the integration of data from multiple sources, ensuring consistency and accessibility of data across different systems.
  • Transactional Control: Managing database transactions to ensure data integrity and consistency, especially in environments requiring concurrent data access.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Standardized language for managing and querying relational databases.
  • Powerful for complex data retrieval and manipulation through advanced queries.

Cons

  • Mainly for relational databases; may require additional tools for non-relational databases.
  • Can become complex and difficult to optimize for performance with intricate queries.

Popularity: #4 on Stack Overflow, #9 on TIOBE

5. Java

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Java language

Java is one of those programming languages that has stood the test of time, maintaining its prominence and relevance in the ever-evolving landscape of software development. 

I remember learning Java during my undergraduate degree, and even back then, the Java mantra was and continues to be, "Write Once, Run Anywhere".

From small Java projects to enterprise-level applications and mobile apps on the Android platform, its object-oriented architecture promotes clean, modular code, making it an ideal language for large-scale systems and complex architectures.

One of the best reasons to learn Java in 2024 is its robust ecosystem and the sheer breadth of its applicability. Java's long-standing presence in the industry has fostered a rich collection of libraries, frameworks, and tools that streamline the development process.

Whether you're working on web services, cloud-based applications, or IoT devices, Java frameworks like Spring and Hibernate enhance Java's productivity, offering solutions for enterprise application patterns, persistence, and more.

Furthermore, Java's commitment to backward compatibility ensures that skills acquired in Java remain relevant and valuable over time. 

This stability makes Java a safe bet for career development, with a consistent demand for Java developers in the job market. 

And thanks to its performance, reliability, and security, it continues to be a preferred choice for finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, where these attributes are non-negotiable.

I’d also mention that by learning Java in 2024, you’re positioned well for understanding and working within the vast Java Virtual Machine (JVM) ecosystem, which includes other popular languages like Scala and Kotlin. 

If you’re intrigued and appealed by the prospects of learning Java, I’d highly recommend looking for a Java course in 2024.

What is this language used for?

  • Enterprise Applications: Jakarta EE (Java EE) provides a platform for developing and running large-scale, multi-tiered, scalable, and secure network applications.
  • Android Development: Java remains a popular choice for developing Android apps, thanks to its efficiency, portability, and Android SDK (Software Development Kit) support.
  • Web Applications: Utilized in server-side development with frameworks like Spring and JavaServer Faces (JSF), enabling the creation of dynamic web pages and RESTful web services.
  • Cloud-Based Applications: Java's platform independence and robust libraries make it suitable for developing cloud-based services, including microservices architecture and serverless applications.
  • IoT Devices: Java's portability and its ability to run on a variety of hardware make it a suitable choice for programming Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
  • Big Data Technologies: Java is used in big data processing frameworks like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, owing to its performance and scalability.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Platform-independent (write once, run anywhere) enhances its versatility.
  • Strong memory management and robust standard libraries support large-scale applications.

Cons

  • Verbose syntax compared to more modern languages.
  • Slower startup time, which can be a drawback for cloud and microservices environments.

Popularity: #7 on Stack Overflow, #2 on PYPL, #4 on TIOBE

6. C#

Why should you learn this language in 2024? C# language

Developed by Microsoft as part of the .NET framework, C# (C-sharp) is a modern, object-oriented programming language that was designed to facilitate the development of robust and secure applications across a variety of platforms, including Windows, web, and mobile.

One of the best reasons to learn C# in 2024 is its pivotal role in developing Windows applications. With the evolution of the .NET ecosystem, particularly with .NET Core, C# has expanded its reach.

This means you get cross-platform capabilities to build applications that run on Linux and macOS as well as Windows. 

This cross-platform support, coupled with C#'s strong typing, automatic memory management, and rich library support, makes it formidable for building high-performance, scalable apps.

That said, it’s also important to point out that C# is the language of choice for the Unity game engine, making it a bonafide language for professional game developers. Of course, we won’t get into the Unity vs Unreal debate here, but still, this is quite the feather in its cap.

Naturally, C#'s integration with the powerful .NET ecosystem is perhaps the most compelling reason to learn the language. 

This provides access to an extensive array of libraries and frameworks, such as ASP.NET for web development, Xamarin for mobile app development, and Entity Framework for data access. 

These not only speed up the development process but also enhance the functionality and performance of C# applications, allowing you to focus on writing high-level code without getting bogged down by the complexities of underlying platforms.

It’s also nice to see continuous innovation and updates to C# and .NET, which reflects Microsoft's commitment to the language and its community.

What is this language used for?

  • Desktop Applications: Widely used for Windows desktop applications, including Windows Forms, WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), and UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications.
  • Web Applications: Powers web development through ASP.NET, enabling the creation of dynamic web pages, web services, and RESTful APIs.
  • Game Development: C# is the language of choice for Unity, one of the most popular game engines, used for developing 2D and 3D games for various platforms.
  • Mobile Applications: With Xamarin, developers use C# to build cross-platform mobile apps that can run on Android, iOS, and Windows devices.
  • Cloud-Based Services: Utilized in building scalable, reliable cloud applications and services, particularly with Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform.
  • Enterprise Applications: C#'s robustness and scalability make it suitable for large-scale enterprise applications, where performance, security, and maintainability are crucial.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Integrated with .NET, providing a vast range of libraries and tools for various types of applications.
  • Language features like LINQ and async/await simplify complex operations.

Cons

  • Primarily Windows-centric, despite .NET Core's cross-platform capabilities.
  • Can be complex for beginners due to its vast range of features and functionalities.

Popularity: #8 on Stack Overflow, #5 on PYPL, #5 on TIOBE

7. C++/C

Why should you learn this language in 2024? C++ and C languages

Delving into C and C++ in 2024 is like mastering the foundational elements and the high-performance nuances of modern computing. 

Both languages, though distinct, share a common heritage and are celebrated for their efficiency, control, and versatility. 

Side note: it made sense to group C++ and C together for this list, as they’re very often interlinked in people’s minds when it comes to learning either language.

Starting with C, the elder of the two, this language is lauded for its simplicity, speed, and direct access to system-level resources, making it ideal for developing firmware and system software.

C++, on the other hand, builds upon C with object-oriented and generic programming features, extending its use to software requiring complex data structures and algorithms, such as game engines, desktop apps, and high-performance servers.

In fact, C++ is the language of choice of the Unreal Game Engine, making it one of the very best languages for game development in 2024.

Jumping back to learning C! In my opinion, this is an excellent place to start if you want to connect with essential programming concepts like memory management, pointers, and low-level system operations.

If you’re serious about software development and engineering, this will open doors to a deeper comprehension of how software interacts with hardware. This knowledge is invaluable, not only for system-level programming but also for optimizing applications in higher-level languages. 

The principles and disciplines acquired through mastering C form a solid foundation for any programmer, enhancing skills in problem-solving, debugging, and efficient coding practices.

I still remember tussling with these concepts during my undergraduate studies, but they’ve always stuck with me and allowed me to see things in a more granular way.

C++, on the other hand, with its rich feature set including classes, inheritance, templates, and more, offers a blend of high-level abstraction and low-level system control. 

This unique combination makes it a language of choice for C++ projects and applications where performance and complexity need to go hand in hand, such as game development, real-time systems, and simulation software. 

Plus, the introduction of modern C++ standards has also revitalized the language, incorporating features like auto-type declarations, smart pointers, and lambda expressions, which facilitate cleaner, more maintainable code while retaining the power and efficiency C++ is known for.

Overall, the widespread use of C and C++ in critical software infrastructure, from operating systems to embedded devices and high-performance computing, ensures that proficiency in these languages remains highly valued in the tech industry. 

This means that learning C and C++ in 2024 is not merely an academic exercise but a strategic investment in a skill set that has enduring demand and applicability across a broad spectrum of computing domains.

What is this language used for?

  • System Programming: Both languages are extensively used in developing operating systems, device drivers, and embedded systems, where close hardware interaction and efficiency are paramount.
  • Game Development: C++ is a dominant language in the game development industry, used for building game engines and high-performance game titles due to its speed and control over system resources.
  • Performance-Critical Applications: Applications requiring high levels of performance, such as simulations, graphic processing, and real-time systems, often rely on the efficiency of C and C++.
  • Software Development Tools: Many compilers, debuggers, and other development tools are written in C or C++ to maximize efficiency and control.
  • Embedded and Real-Time Systems: C's efficiency and predictability make it ideal for programming microcontrollers and developing real-time systems where timing is critical.
  • High-Performance Computing: C and C++ are used in scientific computing, research, and engineering domains for developing simulation software, high-performance computing (HPC) applications, and for processing large datasets.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Close to hardware, offering high performance and control over system resources.
  • Widely used in system/software development, game programming, and real-time systems.

Cons

  • Complex memory management prone to errors like memory leaks and buffer overflows.
  • Steeper learning curve due to complex syntax and features.

Popularity: #9/10 on Stack Overflow, #4 on PYPL, #3/2 on TIOBE

8. TypeScript

Why should you learn this language in 2024? TypeScript language

Developed by Microsoft, TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript that introduces static typing, a feature that allows developers to explicitly define variable types. 

Now, depending on your point of view, this is either amazing or very irritating! But, hear me out, yes it can be nice to work with dynamically typed languages, but this addition brings a new level of reliability and maintainability to large-scale applications.

And that’s what makes TypeScript an invaluable asset in the modern development toolkit.

With this, TypeScript has the ability to catch errors at compile time rather than at runtime, which is a common pitfall with plain JavaScript. 

This early detection not only saves debugging time but also enhances code quality and predictability. For developers in large teams or complex projects, TypeScript provides a scaffolding that ensures greater consistency and understanding across the codebase.

Plus, TypeScript's seamless integration with JavaScript means that adopting it doesn't require a complete overhaul of existing projects. It's designed to be gradually adopted, allowing developers to start benefiting from its features with minimal disruption. 

Overall, TypeScript's compatibility with JavaScript libraries and frameworks, along with its support from major development environments, ensures a smooth transition and a productive development experience.

I’d also say that in 2024, learning TypeScript is a strategic career move due to its growing popularity among front-end and full-stack developers, driven in part by its use in projects and frameworks like Angular, React (with TypeScript), and Vue.js.

All in all, this driven demand for TypeScript proficiency in the job market, so embracing TypeScript is not just about enhancing your coding toolkit; it's about aligning with the evolution of web development towards more scalable, maintainable, and error-resistant applications.

What is this language used for?

  • Large-scale Applications: Static typing and compile-time error checking make it ideal for developing and maintaining large-scale applications, ensuring code reliability and scalability.
  • Front-End Frameworks: It is widely used with popular frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue.js, enhancing developer productivity and code quality in complex front-end applications.
  • Full-Stack Development: Can be used on both the client and server sides, particularly with Node.js, enabling a consistent development experience across the full stack.
  • Enterprise-Level Projects: Robust type system and compatibility with existing JavaScript code make TypeScript a favored choice for enterprise-level applications that require high maintainability and performance.
  • Cross-Platform Mobile and Web Apps: With frameworks like Ionic and React Native, TypeScript is also employed in building cross-platform mobile applications, offering a type-safe development environment.
  • Game Development: For web-based and HTML5 games, TypeScript provides a structured coding environment that’s beneficial for managing complex game logic.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Adds static typing to JavaScript, enhancing code quality and maintainability.
  • Backed by Microsoft, with strong tooling support in various IDEs.

Cons

  • Additional compilation step required, which can add complexity to the development process.
  • Learning curve for developers unfamiliar with static typing concepts.

Popularity: #5 on Stack Overflow, #8 on PYPL

9. BASH (Shell Scripting)

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Bash scripting

As a daily Linux user, this is a fun one for me! 

But what is BASH? Well, Bash is an acronym for the Bourne Again SHell, and what I’m referring to here is BASH scripting or command-line scripting.

As the most widespread shell on Linux and macOS systems, Bash serves as the default interface for interacting with the operating system, automating tasks, and managing files and processes. 

I’d even go so far as to say that its power and flexibility make it an essential skill for developers, system administrators, and anyone looking to harness the efficiency of script-based automation and command-line tools.

Ever heard about super users? Well, they use Bash (among many other skills!) and trust me, once you get the hang of it, it’s one of those skills you’ll be using all the time!

Perhaps the main allure of mastering Bash in 2024 lies in its ability to streamline complex tasks into simple, executable scripts, which enhances productivity and ensures consistency. 

Whether you need to automate backups, deploy software, or process text files, Bash scripts can turn repetitive, manual tasks into efficient, one-line commands. 

The language's syntax, while concise, is incredibly powerful, offering features like loops, conditionals, and functions that enable the creation of complex scripts capable of sophisticated operations and decision-making.

Plus, the ubiquity of Unix-like systems in server environments, cloud platforms, and development workflows underscores the relevance of Bash scripting skills in 2024.

As the backbone of system maintenance and automation tasks, developing proficiency in Bash ensures you can navigate and manage servers, automate deployment pipelines, and manipulate data streams with ease.

This is particularly invaluable in DevOps practices, where the integration and automation of development and operations processes are paramount.

Learning Bash also equips you with a timeless skill set that transcends specific programming languages or technologies. 

After all, the principles of command-line scripting and Unix philosophy embedded in Bash scripting—such as the emphasis on small, modular utilities and text stream processing—provide a foundational understanding of how Unix-like systems operate. 

This knowledge is not only practical for immediate scripting needs but also enriches your overall technical acumen, offering insights into the efficient, Unix-way of solving problems.

What is this language used for?

  • System Administration: Automating routine tasks such as backups, system updates, and user management to ensure smooth and efficient system operations.
  • Software Deployment: Writing scripts to automate the deployment process, ensuring consistent and error-free application rollouts across development, testing, and production environments.
  • Data Processing: Utilizing Bash's text manipulation capabilities for parsing, analyzing, and transforming data files, logs, and output from other commands or scripts.
  • DevOps and CI/CD Pipelines: Integrating Bash scripts into Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to automate testing, building, and deployment tasks.
  • Server and Database Maintenance: Writing scripts to manage database backups, perform health checks, and execute routine maintenance tasks on servers.
  • Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Using Bash scripts to monitor network connectivity, analyze traffic, and diagnose system and network issues.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Default command language in most UNIX/Linux systems, essential for system administration and scripting.
  • Powerful for automating repetitive tasks and pipeline processing.

Cons

  • Error handling can be cumbersome and less intuitive.
  • Primarily command-line based, which may not be suitable for all types of programming tasks.

Popularity: #6 on Stack Overflow

10. Swift

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Swift language

Learning Swift in 2024 is essential if you want to develop cutting-edge mobile and desktop applications in the Apple ecosystem. 

Developed by Apple, Swift is designed to be both powerful and user-friendly, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced developers alike. 

And if you want to develop iOS apps in 2024, you need to learn Swift via an iOS development course.

With a clean and expressive syntax, Swift places a strong emphasis on safety and performance. As the preferred language for developing iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS applications, Swift opens the door to the vast and lucrative world of Apple products and services.

One of the best reasons to learn Swift in 2024 is its robust performance and safety features.

Swift was engineered to avoid common programming errors by design, with features like optional types and value semantics, which help prevent null pointer exceptions and memory leaks. 

These features not only make Swift applications safer and more reliable but also improve their performance, a critical factor in the resource-constrained environment of mobile devices.

Swift's integration with the Apple ecosystem is seamless, offering developers access to a wide range of powerful APIs and frameworks like SwiftUI, which provides a declarative syntax for building user interfaces across all Apple platforms. 

With Swift, you can also leverage the full potential of Apple's latest technologies, such as ARKit for augmented reality, CoreML for machine learning, and more, enabling the creation of cutting-edge applications.

Swift's development is also notably community-driven, with its source code available in the open-source domain. This fosters a vibrant community of developers who contribute to the language's evolution, ensuring it continues to grow and adapt to new challenges.

What is this language used for?

  • iOS Applications: Swift is the leading language for developing apps for iPhones and iPads, offering a rich set of features and an extensive library ecosystem.
  • macOS Desktop Applications: Developers use Swift to create applications for Mac computers, taking advantage of its performance and safety features to build reliable and efficient software.
  • watchOS Applications: Swift enables the development of applications for Apple Watch, allowing developers to extend their iOS app functionality to wearable devices.
  • tvOS Applications: Swift is used to develop applications for Apple TV, providing users with interactive and engaging experiences on their TV screens.
  • SwiftUI for Cross-Platform Development: With SwiftUI, developers can use Swift to write declarative UI code that works across all Apple platforms, enabling code reuse and faster development.
  • Server-Side Development: Beyond Apple's platforms, Swift is also making strides in server-side development with frameworks like Vapor, allowing developers to build robust backend services using Swift.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Optimized for performance and safety, with modern language features.
  • Strong support for iOS and macOS development, with active community and corporate backing.

Cons

  • Primarily used within the Apple ecosystem, limiting its use on other platforms.
  • Younger language with evolving standards and best practices.

Popularity: #20 on Stack Overflow, #9 on PYPL, #16 on TIOBE

11. PHP

Why should you learn this language in 2024? PHP Language

Despite being nearly 30 years old, PHP is one of the web's foundational scripting languages that’s still highly prevalent today, with more than 75% of websites using it. 

Perhaps best known for its role in server-side development, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) has powered a significant portion of the internet for decades, including mammoth platforms like WordPress, Facebook (in its initial stages), and Wikipedia. 

PHP's ease of use, flexibility, and vast ecosystem of frameworks and tools make it an appealing choice for web developers looking to build dynamic and interactive websites.

To my mind, one of the best reasons to learn PHP in 2024 is its ubiquity in web hosting environments and content management systems (CMS). 

With support across hosting services, deploying PHP-based applications and PHP projects is often straightforward, lowering the barrier to entry for web development. 

Plus, PHP's integral role in popular CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla enables developers to create powerful websites with extensive functionalities, leveraging the platform's themes and plugins.

I also appreciate that thanks to the community, PHP continues to evolve, with the latest release of PHP 8 adding significant performance improvements and new features like JIT (Just In Time) compilation, attributes, and union types. 

These not only boost the execution speed of PHP applications but also refine the language's capability to handle complex web development tasks. 

It’s also nice to see that the PHP community is still vast and very active, offering extensive resources, libraries, and frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony, and CodeIgniter. 

These PHP frameworks can simplify the development process by providing structured, reusable code for common tasks, accelerating development cycles, and enhancing application security and scalability.

Sure, JavaScript gets a lot of attention for web development, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a shortage of demand for PHP developers, so it definitely worthwhile looking for a good PHP course.

What is this language used for?

  • Dynamic Website Development: PHP scripts on the server side render dynamic content, enabling the creation of interactive and personalized web experiences.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): PHP powers many of the web's most popular CMS platforms, such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, allowing users to manage and publish web content easily.
  • E-commerce Platforms: It is the backbone of numerous e-commerce solutions, including Magento and WooCommerce, providing the infrastructure for online stores and shopping carts.
  • Web Application Development: Beyond websites, PHP is used to build robust web applications, leveraging frameworks that offer MVC architectures and advanced functionalities.
  • API Development: PHP is utilized to create RESTful APIs, facilitating communication between different software applications and services over the web.
  • Server-Side Scripting: At its core, PHP excels in server-side scripting, processing data on the web server and generating dynamic web pages.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Wide adoption for web development, with extensive documentation and community support.
  • Built-in web development capabilities, making it easy to integrate with HTML and databases.

Cons

  • Inconsistent function naming and parameter order can be confusing.
  • Performance can be a concern for highly intensive applications, despite improvements.

Popularity: #11 on Stack Overflow, #7 on PYPL, #7 on TIOBE

12. Go

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Go language

Whether you like to call it Go or Golang (I prefer Go!), this is one of the best languages to learn if you’re intrigued by cloud computing and microservices. 

Developed by Google to address the challenges of large-scale software development, Go combines simplicity, efficiency, and concurrency support in a statically typed language. 

At its core, its design principles prioritize ease of use, high performance, and robustness, making Go an attractive choice if you want to work on distributed systems, cloud services, and scalable web applications.

For me, one of the best features of Go is its native support for concurrency thanks to goroutines and channels. This allows you to write concurrent code that is both efficient and straightforward, addressing the common need to perform multiple tasks in parallel. 

This concurrency model is also well-suited for building high-performance network servers and processing large volumes of data in real time.

Go's standard library is another highlight, as it offers a comprehensive suite of utilities for tasks ranging from HTTP server implementation to text manipulation and database interaction. 

When coupled with Go's emphasis on simplicity, these libraries enable you to achieve a lot with minimal code, reducing the cognitive load and accelerating the development process.

I should also point out Go’s toolchain, including its powerful package management system and built-in testing tools. These further enhance developer productivity and facilitate the maintenance of Go codebases. 

Plus, Go's growing ecosystem, driven by an active community and corporate support, provides a wealth of libraries and frameworks for web development, microservices, and cloud-native development.

Overall, learning Go in 2024 means that you can position yourself at the forefront of software development trends in cloud computing, microservices architecture, and DevOps.

What is this language used for?

  • Cloud Services and Infrastructure: Go's efficiency and scalability make it ideal for developing cloud-native applications and services, as well as the infrastructure underlying major cloud platforms.
  • Microservices Architecture: Its support for concurrency and lightweight nature make Go a popular choice for building microservices, facilitating scalable and maintainable service-oriented architectures.
  • Command-Line Tools: The simplicity and efficiency of Go make it well-suited for creating fast, reliable command-line utilities and tools.
  • Web Servers and APIs: Go's standard library includes robust support for HTTP, making it straightforward to build high-performance web servers and RESTful APIs.
  • Network Programming: Go's concurrency model and network libraries enable the development of efficient network applications, including servers and clients for various protocols.
  • Data Processing: Go's performance and concurrency features are advantageous for building applications that require intensive data processing and manipulation.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Designed for simplicity and efficiency, with excellent support for concurrency.
  • Compiles to a single binary, simplifying deployment and distribution.

Cons

  • Lack of generics (though planned in future versions) limits code reusability.
  • Simplicity can lead to verbosity in complex applications.

Popularity: #13 on Stack Overflow, #12 on PYPL, #11 on TIOBE

13. Rust

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Rust language

Maybe you’ve heard of Rust, or maybe you haven’t, but did you know that it’s the most loved and admired language by developers for the last 8 years on the Stack Overflow survey? 

But what is it? Well, Rust is a systems programming language that’s been meticulously designed for performance, safety, and concurrency, without requiring a garbage collector. 

Championed for its ability to produce memory-safe code, Rust garnered a passionate following and widespread acclaim within the programming community, particularly for applications where efficiency and reliability are paramount.

One of Rust's best features is its ownership model, which enforces memory safety at compile time through a set of rules that govern how memory is allocated and managed. 

This eliminates common bugs found in other systems languages, such as dangling pointers and data races, making Rust attractive for developing high-reliability software that runs close to the metal, like operating systems, embedded systems, and performance-critical applications.

Rust also places emphasis on zero-cost abstractions, iterator chains, pattern matching, and type inference which not only promotes safer code but also cleaner and more expressive syntax. 

This focus on expressiveness and safety, combined with Rust's powerful toolchain that includes Cargo (Rust's package manager and build system), makes the language both enjoyable and productive to work with. Remember my point earlier about how loved and admired it is?

Rust can also boast performance that’s on par with C and C++, making it suitable for scenarios where raw speed and low-level control are necessary. 

But unlike these older languages, Rust provides a higher level of abstraction and guarantees safety, significantly reducing the risk of security vulnerabilities and runtime errors.

Overall, learning Rust in 2024 can position you at the forefront of a movement toward safer, more reliable systems programming. 

Plus, its growing ecosystem and community support, along with increasing adoption in industry projects and open-source software, signal Rust's rising importance in the modern programming landscape.

What is this language used for?

  • Systems Programming: Ideal for building operating systems, device drivers, and other systems-level components that require direct hardware access and high performance.
  • Web Assembly: Rust is increasingly used for WebAssembly (Wasm) projects to bring high-performance applications to the web, enhancing the capabilities of web browsers beyond JavaScript.
  • Embedded Systems: Its no-std feature allows for programming in environments without standard libraries, making Rust a strong candidate for embedded systems development.
  • Networking and Concurrency: Rust's ownership and concurrency models enable the creation of fast and safe networked applications and services, including web servers and databases.
  • Game Development: Although still emerging in this field, Rust offers promising tools and libraries for game development, providing both safety and performance.
  • Cross-platform Development: Rust's toolchain and compatibility features facilitate the development of cross-platform applications, ensuring consistent performance and behavior across different operating systems.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Focuses on safety and concurrency without a garbage collector, reducing runtime errors.
  • Growing ecosystem with increasing adoption for system-level and web assembly projects.

Cons

  • Steep learning curve, particularly around ownership and borrowing concepts.
  • Compilation times can be lengthy for large projects.

Popularity: #14 on Stack Overflow, #11 on PYPL, #19 on TIOBE

14. Kotlin

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Kotlin language

Designed by JetBrains and officially supported by Google for Android development, Kotlin addresses many of the pitfalls of Java, such as verbosity and null pointer exceptions.

But wait, what is Kotlin? Well, the best way to view Kotlin is a concise, expressive, and type-safe alternative to the ever-popular Java that blends functional and object-oriented paradigms

Plus, Kotlin's interoperability with Java, along with its modern features, makes it a popular choice for Android app development, backend server applications, and increasingly, multiplatform projects.

One of the best features of Kotlin has to be its null safety feature, designed to eliminate the dreaded null pointer exceptions by incorporating nullability into the type system. 

This, along with Kotlin's concise syntax, extension functions, and coroutines for asynchronous programming, significantly enhances developer productivity and application robustness.

Then there’s the fact that Kotlin is compatible with the Java ecosystem,  allowing you to use existing Java libraries and frameworks while gradually adopting Kotlin, facilitating a smooth transition for projects and teams already invested in Java. 

This is analogous to using TypeScript instead of JavaScript.

Overall, this Java interoperability extends Kotlin's reach, making it a versatile tool for a wide range of development tasks, from Android applications to enterprise-level backend services.

I also appreciate Kotlin's support for multiplatform development, as this allows code sharing across JVM, JavaScript, and native binaries, reducing the time and effort required to develop cross-platform applications. 

When combined with Kotlin's expressive syntax and safety features, it’s fair to say that Kotlin is a forward-looking language that’s trying to align well with the future of software development.

What is this language used for?

  • Android Development: Kotlin is the preferred language for Android app development, offering enhanced safety, conciseness, and interoperability with Java and Android APIs.
  • Backend Development: With frameworks like Ktor and Spring Boot's support for Kotlin, it is increasingly used for building scalable and efficient server-side applications.
  • Multiplatform Projects: Kotlin Multiplatform allows sharing business logic code across JVM, JS, and native platforms, facilitating the development of cross-platform applications with shared logic.
  • Data Science and Machine Learning: Although a newer area for Kotlin, its readability and simplicity make it an emerging choice for data science and machine learning projects, especially with libraries like Kotlin for Apache Spark and Krangl.
  • Web Development: Kotlin/JS, part of the Kotlin Multiplatform ecosystem, enables developers to write frontend web applications using Kotlin, which compiles to JavaScript.
  • Desktop Applications: With libraries like JetBrains' Compose for Desktop, Kotlin is also making inroads into desktop application development, enabling developers to create cross-platform GUI applications.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Fully interoperable with Java, allowing for gradual adoption in existing projects.
  • Modern language features improve conciseness and safety over Java.

Cons

  • Smaller community and ecosystem compared to Java.
  • Kotlin/Native and multiplatform projects are still evolving.

Popularity: #15 on Stack Overflow, #13 on PYPL, #17 on TIOBE

15. Ruby

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Ruby language

This is another throwback for me, as I remember learning Ruby on Rails in the final year of my undergraduate degree!

That said, Ruby is still a very useful and popular language in 2024, and it’s still widely celebrated for its elegance, simplicity, and the principle of developer happiness. 

Designed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto in the mid-1990s, Ruby combines elements from Perl, Smalltalk, Eiffel, Ada, and Lisp, striving to create a balanced, object-oriented language that fosters productivity and enjoyable programming. 

Ruby's philosophy, often encapsulated in the phrase "Matz is nice and so we are nice," reflects a community culture that values kindness and collaboration, making it welcoming to newcomers.

One of Ruby's hallmarks is its expressive syntax that allows developers to do more with less code, enhancing readability and maintainability. 

This expressiveness, coupled with dynamic typing and duck typing, facilitates rapid prototyping and flexible code development, making it an ideal language for startups and fast-paced development environments.

The Ruby ecosystem is also renowned for its robust web development framework, Ruby on Rails (Rails), which popularized the convention over configuration (CoC) paradigm and the don't repeat yourself (DRY) principle. 

Rails also accelerates web application development by providing default structures for databases, web services, and web pages, along with a wealth of libraries (gems) that extend its functionality. 

Overall, this ecosystem simplifies the creation of complex, database-backed web applications, contributing to Ruby's popularity among web developers.

I should also point out Ruby's emphasis on testing and code quality, with frameworks like RSpec encouraging the development of reliable and bug-free applications. 

You should also know that Ruby’s versatility extends beyond web development, finding applications in data processing, prototyping, and automation scripts, among other tasks.

What is this language used for?

  • Web Development: Ruby on Rails remains a powerful and popular framework for building web applications, from simple websites to complex, feature-rich platforms.
  • Automation and Scripting: Ruby's readability and expressive syntax make it suitable for writing scripts that automate repetitive tasks and enhance productivity.
  • Prototyping: Its dynamic nature and flexibility allow for rapid prototyping of software applications, enabling quick iteration and feedback.
  • Data Processing: Ruby's array of libraries and gems includes tools for parsing, analyzing, and manipulating data, making it useful for backend data processing tasks.
  • DevOps: Ruby scripts are often used in DevOps for configuration management, deployment automation, and building internal tools.
  • Test and Behavior-Driven Development: Ruby's testing frameworks, like RSpec and Cucumber, support test-driven development (TDD) and behavior-driven development (BDD), promoting high-quality, reliable codebases.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Elegant syntax promoting readability and developer happiness.
  • Ruby on Rails framework accelerates web application development with conventions over configurations.

Cons

  • Performance can be a concern for high-load applications.
  • More niche since the shift in the web development community towards JavaScript frameworks.

Popularity: #16 on Stack Overflow, #15 on PYPL, #18 on TIOBE

16. Lua

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Lua language

As one of the newer languages on my list, Lua is a lightweight, high-level programming language known for its simplicity, efficiency, and embeddability. 

Designed primarily for embedded use in applications, Lua offers a fast, yet powerful, scripting solution with a minimal footprint, making it an ideal choice for game development, embedded systems, and any scenario requiring a configurable scripting environment.

In fact, let’s take a quick sidebar. If you’ve ever heard of the hugely popular game Roblox, well that was built with Lua!

Now, one of Lua's standout features is its seamless integration with C and C++, allowing developers to extend applications with customizable scripting capabilities. 

This interoperability has made Lua especially popular in the game development industry, where it's used to script game logic and behavior without delving into the more complex C or C++ codebase of the game engine. 

Plus, Lua's syntax is straightforward and accessible, meaning it’s easily learned and even usable by non-programmers, whether they be game designers, content creators, or game enthusiasts.

This is quite unique, as it further democratizes the game development process.

Lua's lightweight nature also extends beyond its small runtime footprint. The language's design emphasizes simplicity and flexibility, with a set of powerful, yet minimal, core features complemented by extensible libraries. 

This design philosophy enables Lua to run efficiently on a wide range of devices, from high-end servers to small embedded devices, making it a versatile tool in the programmer's toolkit.

The Lua community has also developed a wealth of third-party libraries and bindings, expanding Lua's applicability to web development, desktop applications, and more. 

And then there’s the fact that it’s used in high-profile game engines like Unity, Corona SDK, and Love 2D. This further showcases its capability to power complex, interactive applications within an easy-to-use scripting environment.

What is this language used for?

  • Game Development: Lua is extensively used for scripting game logic and behaviors in engines such as Unity, Corona SDK, and Love 2D, among others.
  • Embedded Systems: Its lightweight nature makes Lua ideal for embedded applications in devices where resources are limited.
  • Web Development: Lua can be used on the web server side with tools like OpenResty, enhancing the performance of web applications and servers.
  • Desktop Applications: Lua, combined with GUI toolkits like IUP, allows for the development of cross-platform desktop applications.
  • Automation and Scripting: Its simplicity and efficiency make Lua suitable for writing scripts that automate tasks and processes in various applications.
  • Data Processing: Lua is used in data analysis and manipulation, particularly when embedded in applications requiring on-the-fly processing.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and embeddable, ideal for scripting within larger applications.
  • Simple, flexible syntax suitable for a wide range of programming tasks.

Cons

  • Limited standard library, requiring external libraries for advanced functionalities.
  • Less prevalent in standalone applications, often overshadowed by more comprehensive languages.

Popularity: #17 on Stack Overflow, #20 on PYPL

17. Dart

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Dart language

Dart is another modern programming language on my list that’s found its niche in the development of high-quality, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop. 

Initially introduced by Google, Dart has gained significant traction, especially with the popularity of the Flutter framework, as this leverages Dart for building beautiful, natively compiled applications from a single codebase.

It’s also very helpful that Dart has the ability to compile to both ARM and x86 native code, offering high performance on mobile devices, as well as transpiling to JavaScript for web applications.

This flexibility means you can target multiple platforms while maintaining a unified codebase, significantly reducing development time and effort. 

It’s also nice that Dart's syntax is clear and familiar, bearing resemblances to Java and C#, so it’s quite easy to pick up, especially if you have experience with object-oriented languages.

Dart’s integration with Flutter for cross-platform development is perhaps how it’s best known. 

By combining Flutter’s widget-based architecture to create highly responsive and visually appealing user interfaces, Dart's powerful features, like hot reload, streamline the development process, allowing for immediate viewing of code changes without restarting the application.

Dart also places a focus on the developer experience via a robust standard library and a wide array of packages available through its package manager, Pub. 

Plus, it also emphasizes modern programming features such as sound null safety, which helps prevent null reference errors, a common source of app crashes.

What is this language used for?

  • Cross-Platform Mobile App Development: Dart is the programming language behind Flutter, enabling developers to create high-performance, visually appealing mobile apps for both iOS and Android from a single codebase.
  • Web Application Development: Dart compiles to JavaScript, allowing for the development of modern, interactive web applications that can run in any browser.
  • Desktop Application Development: With Flutter, Dart also extends to desktop app development, creating applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Server-Side Development: Dart can be used for server-side development, enabling the creation of backend services and APIs.
  • IoT and Embedded Applications: Dart’s efficiency and ability to compile to native code make it suitable for IoT projects and embedded applications, although this is a less common use case.
  • High-Fidelity UI Creation: Dart’s integration with Flutter provides a powerful toolkit for crafting custom, high-fidelity user interfaces with smooth animations and transitions.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Optimized for UI development with Flutter, enabling cross-platform mobile, web, and desktop apps.
  • Offers just-in-time compilation for fast development cycles and ahead-of-time compilation for optimized production.

Cons

  • Dart's ecosystem and community are smaller compared to more established languages.
  • Primarily known for Flutter; its standalone use cases are less prominent.

Popularity: #18 on Stack Overflow, #17 on PYPL

18. R

Why should you learn this language in 2024? R language

When it comes to statistical computing, data analysis, and data visualizations in 2024, you’ll probably find yourself deciding between Python or R. 

Originating from academia and research, R has firmly cemented its place as one of the most popular languages for statisticians, data scientists, and researchers around the globe, offering a comprehensive environment for data manipulation, calculation, and graphical display.

Now, I may be biased and have a lot of love for Python, but I can also appreciate just how powerful R is in these areas.

One of the biggest appeals for R lies in its vast ecosystem of packages, housed in the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). 

This provides tools for virtually every statistical technique and data visualization method imaginable, and this extensive library support enables you to perform complex data analyses and create high-quality graphs with minimal code.

Another key strength of R is its community-driven nature, with contributions from statisticians and data scientists worldwide. This collaborative ethos ensures R stays at the cutting edge of statistical methodology and data science practices. 

Plus, R's integration with various data sources and its ability to interface with other languages and technologies (such as SQL databases, Hadoop, and even Python through libraries like reticulate) make it a versatile tool in any data scientist's toolkit. 

That said, it’s also usable in a wide range of domains, from bioinformatics and epidemiology to finance and marketing analytics, underlining its flexibility and power in handling and making sense of data.

What is this language used for?

  • Statistical Analysis and Modeling: R is renowned for its wide range of statistical tests and models, from linear and nonlinear modeling to time-series analysis, clustering, and classification techniques.
  • Data Visualization: With packages like ggplot2, R excels in creating advanced and customizable plots, charts, and graphs, enabling clear and insightful data representation.
  • Data Manipulation and Cleaning: Packages like dplyr and tidyr make data manipulation and preprocessing tasks efficient and readable, facilitating the handling of complex data transformations.
  • Machine Learning: R supports various machine learning algorithms, from classical regression models to more advanced techniques like random forests and support vector machines, through packages like caret and mlr.
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology: R is widely used in bioinformatics for sequence analysis, gene expression studies, and evolutionary biology research, supported by specialized packages like Bioconductor.
  • Reproducible Research: R Markdown and Shiny apps enable researchers to create dynamic reports and interactive web applications that integrate code, output, and narrative text, fostering reproducibility and collaboration in scientific research.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Comprehensive statistical analysis and graphical capabilities out-of-the-box.
  • Large community and vast array of packages for diverse analytical needs.

Cons

  • Less efficient for general-purpose programming or large-scale data processing.
  • Syntax and data handling paradigms can be unintuitive for those coming from other programming backgrounds.

Popularity: #21 on Stack Overflow, #6 on PYPL

19. MATLAB

Why should you learn this language in 2024? MATLAB

Developed by MathWorks, MATLAB (short for "Matrix Laboratory") is hugely popular in engineering, science, and economics for its powerful capabilities in matrix manipulations and  implementation of algorithms.

This is another flashback for me, as I distinctly recall grappling with it for a signal processing course I took during my undergraduate degree!

One of MATLAB's core strengths is its extensive built-in library of mathematical functions for linear algebra, statistics, Fourier analysis, filtering, optimization, numerical integration, and solving ordinary differential equations. 

This comprehensive suite of functions, coupled with an intuitive syntax specifically designed for matrix operations and data analysis, makes MATLAB invaluable for researchers and engineers working on complex computational tasks.

MATLAB's IDE also offers a rich set of tools for algorithm development, data visualization, and analysis. I really appreciate the ability to produce high-quality plots and graphs with ease, so it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice for presenting and interpreting data. 

Plus, MATLAB's Simulink package provides a graphical editor for model-based design and multidomain simulation, allowing you to simulate, test, and iterate control systems and signal processing algorithms.

As you can tell, its use cases tend to be very engineering and math-heavy, but if this resonates with your career goals, you really can’t go wrong with taking a MATLAB course

I should also point out that MATLAB’s applicability extends beyond academia into industries like automotive, aerospace, telecommunications, and finance, where it’s used for tasks ranging from designing control systems and signal processing to quantitative finance and risk management.

What is this language used for?

  • Numerical Analysis and Computation: MATLAB is renowned for its efficient handling of matrices and large arrays, making it suitable for high-level numerical calculations and simulations.
  • Data Visualization: It offers a wide range of tools for visualizing data, from basic plots and charts to advanced 3D visualization and image processing.
  • Algorithm Development: MATLAB's environment is optimized for iterative exploration, design, and problem-solving, making it ideal for developing and refining algorithms.
  • Model-Based Design: With Simulink, MATLAB provides a platform for designing and simulating complex systems in control engineering, signal processing, and communications.
  • Signal Processing and Communications: MATLAB is widely used in signal processing for analyzing, filtering, and transforming signals in various applications, including telecommunications and audio processing.
  • Quantitative Finance and Risk Management: In the finance industry, MATLAB is used for quantitative analysis, algorithmic trading, and risk assessment, leveraging its statistical and optimization toolboxes.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • High-level language focusing on numerical computing with extensive built-in functions for math operations.
  • IDE with tools for algorithm development, data visualization, and numerical analysis.

Cons

  • Proprietary software with licensing costs, which might be prohibitive for some users.
  • Less suited for general-purpose programming and web development tasks.

Popularity: #23 on Stack Overflow, #14 on PYPL, #14 on TIOBE

20. Solidity

Why should you learn this language in 2024? Solidity

Rounding out my list, I’ve decided to include a blockchain and crypto programming language in the form of Solidity.

If you’ve spent any time learning about crypto, decentralized technology, and blockchain, you’ll know that Ethereum is currently the second-largest blockchain network behind Bitcoin.

And Solidity is the primary language for creating Ethereum smart contracts, making it essential for developers to write applications that execute precisely as programmed without downtime, fraud, or third-party interference, embodying the decentralized ethos of blockchain.

Interestingly, Solidity's syntax is influenced by JavaScript, C++, and Python, making it relatively accessible to developers familiar with these languages. 

Perhaps the most compelling reason to learn Solidity in 2024 is the burgeoning field of decentralized applications (dApps). 

These leverage the Ethereum blockchain for a variety of use cases, from decentralized finance (DeFi) and gaming to supply chain management and identity verification. 

Solidity is at the heart of this innovation, providing the tools to create contracts for tokens, voting systems, decentralized exchanges, and more.

Solidity's relevance also extends beyond Ethereum, as it’s also compatible with other blockchain platforms that support Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible smart contracts, such as Binance Smart Chain, Matic, and a range of newer alternative Layer 1 blockchain networks that are regularly being launched. 

This compatibility widens the scope for Solidity developers, offering numerous platforms for deployment and testing of smart contracts.

In general, if you’re intrigued by the blockchain space, learning Solidity is an excellent way to test the waters by finding a good blockchain course.

What is this language used for?

  • Smart Contracts Development: Writing the business logic for decentralized applications (dApps) that run on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Applications: Creating financial instruments without central financial intermediaries, such as banks or brokerages, using smart contracts for activities like lending, borrowing, and trading.
  • Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): Developing smart contracts to mint, trade, and manage NFTs, unique digital assets stored on the blockchain.
  • Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs): Establishing the foundational rules for DAOs and executing decisions based on member voting, entirely encoded in smart contracts.
  • Supply Chain Management: Enhancing transparency and traceability in supply chains through smart contracts that track the production, shipment, and receipt of products in a decentralized manner.
  • Gaming and Collectibles: Building blockchain-based games and platforms for digital collectibles, where players truly own in-game items as NFTs and can trade or sell them outside the game environment.

Key Details For New Developers

Pros

  • Primary language for Ethereum smart contract development, facilitating decentralized applications.
  • Syntactically similar to JavaScript, making it accessible for web developers transitioning to blockchain development.

Cons

  • Relatively new with evolving best practices, which can lead to security vulnerabilities if not used carefully.
  • Focused primarily on Ethereum; portability of skills to other blockchain platforms may be limited.

Popularity: #34 on Stack Overflow

What Is The Best Programming Language?

So, you've read through my list, but perhaps you're still unsure which programming language is right for you in 2024. I get it; that's a lot of choice!

I mean, where do you start?

Well, trust me when I say this is a very common dilemma, especially for beginner programmers. And I think the best way to figure this out is to think about what you want to do as a programmer.

Based on what I've seen work well for aspiring developers, Python and JavaScript should be high on your list for beginners. If you're interested in system-level programming, check out Rust. Its emphasis on speed and safety gives it a leg up for performance-critical applications. For mobile, Kotlin is gaining steam as the go-to language for Android apps. And don't forget classics like C# for versatility across the web, desktop and gaming.

- Vance Tran: Software Engineer & Co-Founder of Pointer Clicker

 

That's why I’ve compiled a range of categories for common programming use cases and scenarios.

Some of these have multiple language options, and others only have one, but in either case, this should help you narrow down your choice and find the perfect language to dive into in 2024.

Best Languages for Beginners

HTML/CSS: While not programming languages in the strict sense, they are essential for web development and often among the first technologies beginners learn.

Python: Due to its readable syntax and widespread use in education, Python is highly recommended for beginners.

JavaScript: Given its essential role in web development and immediate results in the browser, it's engaging for newcomers.

Ruby: Known for its elegance and simplicity, Ruby, particularly with Rails, can be very rewarding for beginners due to the rapid development cycle.

PHP: Often used as an introductory language for web development due to its straightforward syntax and immediate results in web applications.

Best Languages for Frontend Development

HTML/CSS: Fundamental to creating and styling web content, making them indispensable for frontend development.

JavaScript: The cornerstone of web frontend development, essential for any dynamic website or web application.

TypeScript: Adds type safety to JavaScript, enhancing code quality and maintainability for larger projects.

Best Languages for Back-end Development

Python: Popular for its frameworks like Django and Flask, offering rapid development and a wide range of applications.

PHP: Widely used with a vast ecosystem, particularly strong in content management systems like WordPress.

JavaScript (Node.js): Enables full-stack development in JavaScript, making it a versatile choice for back-end services.

Ruby: Ruby on Rails is famed for its "convention over configuration" approach, speeding up web app development.

Go: Valued for its simplicity, efficiency, and built-in support for concurrency, making it suitable for high-performance back-end services.

Best Languages for Database Management

SQL: The standard language for relational database management, essential for querying and managing SQL databases.

Best Languages for iOS Development

Swift: The primary language for iOS app development, known for its performance, safety, and modern features.

Best Languages for Android Development

Java: Traditionally the main language for Android app development, with extensive support and documentation.

Kotlin: Now preferred by Google for Android development, offering modern features and improved syntax over Java.

Best Languages for Game Development

C++: Offers control over system resources and performance, widely used in high-performance game engines.

C#: Mainly due to Unity, one of the most popular game development platforms.

Lua: Due to its lightweight and embeddable nature, Lua is widely used in game development for scripting game logic and behaviors.

Best Languages for Artificial Intelligence

Python: Dominates the field due to libraries like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-learn, making AI development accessible.

R: Particularly strong in statistical analysis and data visualization, R is widely used in AI for developing statistical models and exploring data sets.

JavaScript: With libraries like TensorFlow.js, JavaScript enables AI and machine learning models to run in the browser, opening up possibilities for interactive web-based AI applications.

Best Languages for Systems Programming

C/C++: Offers close-to-hardware programming capabilities, ideal for system software, operating systems, and embedded systems.

Rust: Gaining popularity for systems programming due to its performance and safety guarantees, especially memory safety without a garbage collector.

Best Languages for Data Science

Python: The leading language in data science for its simplicity and the powerful data-oriented libraries like Pandas, NumPy, and Matplotlib.

R: Specifically designed for statistical analysis and visualization, with a comprehensive ecosystem of packages for data science.

MATLAB: Known for its numerical computing capabilities, MATLAB is used in engineering and scientific communities for data analysis, visualization, and algorithm development.

Best Languages for Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

Java: Known for its emphasis on object-oriented design principles, making it ideal for large-scale software development.

C#: Offers advanced OOP features with strong support for encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, within the .NET framework.

Python: Supports OOP principles and is frequently used in applications that benefit from an object-oriented approach.

Best Languages for Scripting and Automation

Bash (Shell): As the default shell on many UNIX and Linux systems, Bash is essential for writing scripts that automate system tasks, file manipulation, and program execution.

Python: Highly versatile for a broad spectrum of automation tasks, from simple scripts to complex automation frameworks, due to its readability and the comprehensive set of libraries and tools available.

Best Languages for Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Solidity: The leading language for writing smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain, essential for developing decentralized applications (dApps), including decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more.

Low-Level vs High-Level Programming Languages

If you're brand new to programming, you may have heard terms like low-level and high-level programming languages, but perhaps you're not sure what this means?

No problem, let's tackle this now.

Low-Level Languages

Low-level programming languages allow programmers to work directly with the computer’s hardware, such as memory, CPU, and I/O (input/output) interfaces. 

This makes them better suited to creating systems-level programs, like operating systems and device drivers. One trade-off with this type of language is that they tend to offer less abstraction, meaning they can be more challenging.

In general, low-level languages tend to be assembly languages or machine code (binary sequences of 0s and 1s), although it’s not uncommon to see languages like C or C++ referred to as lower-level or mid-level due to their ability to interact with hardware.

High-Level Languages

When you hear programmers talk about programming languages, this is mostly what they’re referring to. These languages tend to have human-friendly syntax, making them easier to read, write, and maintain than low-level languages. 

These provide a high level of abstraction and tend to offer less direct hardware control. One upside, however, is that these often include features like automatic memory management, dynamic typing, and type-checking.

High-level programming languages can be used to develop various application types, like web apps, mobile apps, artificial intelligence, desktop applications, and more. Common examples of high-level languages include Python, JavaScript, Java, and Ruby.

What Are Programming Paradigms?

Another common question for newcomers to programming relates to the idea of programming paradigms. But what are these?

Programming paradigms are different ways of writing and organizing code. They provide problem-solving guidelines and influence how a programmer thinks about software development.

Let’s look at five common programming paradigms you might encounter during your career.

Imperative Programming

This paradigm involves defining a sequence of instructions that your machine will follow to solve a problem. Overall, this is the most common programming paradigm and is used by languages like C, Java, and Python.

Object-oriented Programming (OOP)

OOP uses classes and objects to solve problems. Classes provide a blueprint to capture the data and behavior of an object. As a result, objects are instances of classes. OOP is ideal for modeling real-world objects and concepts. Java, C++, and Python are some of the most widely-used object-oriented programming languages.

Procedural Programming

This approach breaks problems into smaller, more manageable parts that can be easily understood and modified. Code is often divided into blocks called procedures or subroutines, which are made up of smaller, well-defined tasks. Languages that support the procedural approach include C, Pascal, and FORTRAN.

Functional Programming

This paradigm uses pure functions to build a program, meaning that functions can be passed as arguments, returned as results, or assigned to variables. Common examples of functional languages include Haskell, Lisp, and F#. But this paradigm can also be adopted by languages like Python and JavaScript.

Logic Programming

This paradigm implements logical rules to derive conclusions. This means a program is defined by a set of facts and rules that a machine uses to solve a problem. Some examples of logic programming languages include Prolog and Mercury.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, you should now have a much better idea about the best programming language in 2024. 

No matter your career goals or areas of interest, my list of the best coding languages fits nearly every niche you can think of in modern programming. 

What’s more, there’s a range of options for all skill levels.

What do you think is the best programming language? Are there any options you think I should add to this list?

Let me know in the comments below!

Want to learn Python by building cool projects? Check out:

Udemy's Top-Rated Course: Dr. Angela Yu's 100 Days of Code

References

1. Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023: Most Popular Technologies [Internet]. Stack Overflow; [date unknown; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://survey.stackoverflow.co/2023/#technology-most-popular-technologies

2. PYPL. PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index [Internet]. PYPL; [date unknown; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://pypl.github.io/PYPL.html

3. TIOBE. TIOBE Index [Internet]. TIOBE; [date unknown; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://www.tiobe.com/tiobe-index/

4. W3Techs. PHP - Server-side Programming Language Usage Statistics [Internet]. W3Techs; [date unknown; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/pl-php

5. Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2023: Technology - Admired and Desired [Internet]. Stack Overflow; [date unknown; cited 2024 Jan 15]. Available from: https://survey.stackoverflow.co/2023/#technology-admired-and-desired

 

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By Robert Johns

Technical Editor for Hackr.io | 15+ Years in Python, Java, SQL, C++, C#, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, .NET, MATLAB, HTML & CSS, and more... 10+ Years in Networking, Cloud, APIs, Linux | 5+ Years in Data Science | 2x PhDs in Structural & Blast Engineering

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Hackr Team

You can start with Python. It's very beginner friendly.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

VB.Net has its strong developer ecosystem. Though most of the new programmers are getting started with Python, JS, etc but VB.Net remains steady.

4 years ago

Hackr Team

Ohh yeah, fixed. Thanks.

4 years ago

Vijay Singh Khatri

Python is Best and Booming technology, which can be used IN AI, Blockchain, ML and others too. So you can go with Python.

4 years ago

Adhi

Is there any free app ,or web linls, to learn c ,c++ ,java, python freely if available Kindly please reply me

4 years ago

Vijay Singh

Just follow or join <a href="https://hackr.io/?modal=signup">hackr community</a> and to start your journey <a href="https://hackr.io/programming/roadmaps">click here</a>.

4 years ago

Vijay Singh Khatri

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4 years ago

Vijay Singh Khatri

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4 years ago

Jacelyn Sia

2023 is about to end, so I have compiled list of top programing languages for 2024. As per my experience, I can briefly highlight the following 5 programming languages will be popular and in need in 2024 1. Python: Python happens to be the best option in data science and AI. This is because of its versatility and good libraries. 2. JavaScript: JavaScript is the best programming language that is not only suitable for web development. but also for mobile and custom development. 3. Golang: When you think of scalability and efficient for cloud computing, Golanf is the future. 4. Swift: Swift is the ideal choice for iOS and macOS development as it uses a modern approach to creating Apple-based software. 5. Kotlin: Kotlin is future for Android app development. Kotlin was created for Android apps to make them faster, more efficient.

4 months ago