Developers who have just entered the market, or students wishing to pursue software development as a career, always ask this question; what is the best programming language to learn right now? The obvious answer is, it depends on the type of developer you want to be.

However, it isn’t that simple. We first have to define what “best programming language” is. In this article, we will discuss what makes a programming language “good”, and what could possibly be the best programming language for a young developer.

How to choose a programming language

There are a number of factors that can influence such a decision. The definition of “best” varies among individuals and within industries. However, here are a few points you should consider:

  • Back-end vs. front-end: Programming languages are often categorized into either backend or frontend languages. Backend developers deal with the core of an application, typically involving data handling and storing, algorithms, utilizing core libraries and error handling. Frontend developers work with the visual aspects of an application, such as usability, design aesthetics, user experience and so on. Frontend development tends to be easier, but not everyone prefers it.
  • Learning curve: If you want to learn a new language but don’t have a lot of experience developing software, consider a language that’s easier to learn. It will take lesser time to get you up and running.
  • Salary: ‘All developers are equal, but some are more equal than others’. Not all software developers are paid alike. Some technologies pay more than others depending on market demand.
  • Demand: Just because a language is popular doesn’t mean it’s the best to learn for entry into the market. The concept of supply and demand applies: the more popular a technology, the more saturated the market will be and the easier it will be for companies to find developers, thus driving average salaries down.

It boils down to what life decisions you make. For example, you may want to learn JavaScript to quickly get yourself in the game. If you want to get a competitive edge and are willing to exert yourself, you could learn Java. If you want to work for a tech giant, say Microsoft, then you might want to learn C# and C++. Similarly, Google hires a lot of Python developers, so you could go for Python if that’s something you want to pursue in your career.

Best programming languages right now

1. JavaScript

  • Type: Front-end (with backend frameworks such as Node.js)
  • Learning curve: Easy to moderate
  • Average salary: Around $92,000 per year globally
  • Market: Very high demand, expected to remain steady in the next few years. Supply of JavaScript developers is also high

2. Java

  • Type: Mostly back-end
  • Learning curve: Moderate to difficult
  • Average salary: $102,000 per year
  • Market: High demand, with a relatively low supply of good Java developers

3. Python

  • Type: Back-end
  • Learning curve: Easy to moderate
  • Average salary: $105,000
  • Market: High demand vs. high supply. Demand expected to increase steadily over the next few years

4. R

  • Type: Back-end statistical analysis
  • Learning curve: Difficult
  • Average salary: $100,000+
  • Market: Increasing demand, vs very low supply of qualified developers. Ideal for devs looking to specialize

5. C#

  • Type: Back-end
  • Learning curve: Easy
  • Average salary: $90,000
  • Market: Moderate to high demand vs. high supply of developers

Which programming language perk up your interest? Let us know in the comments section below!

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