Programming Languages You Must Know In 2021

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2021 is a great time to learn programming or improve your skills. With more time at home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, you probably have lots of opportunity to learn more about programming and write fun or useful software.

Whether it’s your first language or your twentieth, learning in-demand programming languages is a great way to expand your knowledge and become more useful to employers. Some are extremely easy to learn, while others focus on speed of execution or runtime safety.

Every language makes a slightly different tradeoff in some dimension, so adding more languages to your toolbox is always a good thing. Plus, most concepts transfer between languages, so the second or third will be far easier than the first.

In this article, you’ll learn a little bit about some of the most popular and useful programming languages in existence and what distinguishes each one from the rest.

Python: Simple, Elegant, Powerful

Python is a hugely popular programming language—quite possibly the most popular in the world. It’s commonly used for tasks ranging from data science to backend web applications. Python’s claim to fame is its ease of use, libraries for every task, and huge community.

Regardless of what you’re doing with Python, expect to find a warm and welcoming community of people from around the world working on a similar thing. The job market for Python is large and thriving, so learning it can be a great financial decision as well.

JavaScript: The Power of the Browser

Unlike Python, JavaScript has one primary niche: frontend web development. While JS can also run server-side via Node.js, it’s mostly used in code running in users’ browsers.

JavaScript’s community is of a similar size as Python’s. Additionally, practically every computer user has a JavaScript runtime installed (in the form of their browser), so showing off your creations couldn’t be easier. On NPM, the package registry for JavaScript, there is a package for nearly every imaginable need.

C# and Java: Fast, Safe Backend Code

C# and Java aren’t directly related, but they fill a similar niche and are similar languages, so they go together. Compared to C++, Java and C# are simple to learn and nearly as fast for most use cases. Backend web apps are the most common use cases for these languages, but nearly anything is possible with these two languages. They’re mature and well-supported on every major operating system.

Java runs on the Java Virtual Machine, while C# runs on the Common Language Runtime. In both languages, you can compile a single executable and run it on any system with the JVM or CLR installed.

What’s Next?

The four programming languages we looked at today are just a few of the hundreds or even thousands of languages in existence. However, knowing a few of these languages well will provide you with a foundation to build all sorts of software and learn any other language you could come across throughout your programming career.