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Top 10 Programming Languages for 2016


Difficulty: 3 (Scaled 1 to 5)

What is it: Java, in the context isn’t coffee, it is a computer programming language that has been around since the 1990’s. Despite the language being open source, meaning anyone can freely use it, it is currently owned and maintained by the Oracle Corporation. Java was designed to be a language that could run on any device, as a result this language is used for software development for computers, smart phones and even smart TV’s

Why you should learn it: Java is one of the most in-demand languages. Businesses both large and small are powered by applications written in this language. This means if you have an idea for an innovative type of business software, Java is probably the best language for you. The same is true if you have a great idea for a new Android app because Java is the language of choice amongst Android developers.

Applications and examples: Many of the most popular Android applications such as Angry Birds, Temple Run and Candy Crush Saga are written in Java. The same is true for much of the proprietary business software that airlines, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies use every day.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Because it’s such a widely used language, companies hire Java programmers under many different job titles. Solutions Developer, JEE Application Developer, Software Engineer and Senior Java Developer are all job titles given to people who program using Java for a living. Companies such as eBay, JP Morgan and Google readily hire productive Java programmers.

Average salary: $102,000


Difficulty: 3

What is it: Many people in the programming community consider C to be the grandfather of all modern languages. This is for two reasons, 1) C was developed in the 1970’s, back when some computers were the size entire rooms. 2) Many of today’s languages such as Java, C++ and Python are directly influenced by C. Despite its age C is still heavily used, and will likely remain relevant for many years to come.

C implements a procedure that aims to use as little memory as possible.

Why you should learn it: Most good computer programmers know multiple languages. If you intend to learn more than one also, staring with C is a good idea. As with all things worthwhile, starting with C comes with a rather steep learning curve for some. However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent because you will find that after learning C, picking up more modern languages such as Objective C, C++, PHP, and many others is much easier.

Applications and examples: As you’ve probably realized by now, C is a rather powerful language, it was designed to be this way. Because of its power, C is the perfect language when you need absolute control over your software. This is why it is the backbone for many of today’s most popular operating systems such as Windows, OSX, and Linux. Almost all computerized devices are wholly or partly written in C. From microwaves, remote controllers and calculators to databases and space shuttle controls, the C language is likely used in some capacity.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: As mentioned previously, C is expected to be relevant for many more years. As a result, good jobs are available for superb C programmers. People who program in C may have job titles like operating system programmer, scientific programmer, or systems programmer. Corporate opportunities and research orientated positions are available.

Average salary: $102,000


Difficulty: 5

What is it: For all intents and purposes C++ is C with more features. While both of these technologies are considered general purpose languages, C is usually used for “close to the machine” software like operating systems, whereas C++ is usually used for higher level applications like accounting software or video game engines.

Why you should learn it: For big software projects such as web browsers, computer graphics drivers and financial trading algorithms, C++ is often the first choice. This language adds a feature called object orientated programming which C doesn’t easily support. For this reason C++ may be more appropriate for some task that C would be overly difficult or too time consuming to use.

Applications and examples: The engines that power many of today’s most popular video games such as Call of Duty, Halo, and Fifa are written in C++. Also big budget computer animation studios such as Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks use C++ in some capacity in their animation software. Because of its robustness and speed, C++ is also used to write proprietary high frequency trading algorithms that allow Wall Street firms to trade thousands of shares in fractions of a second.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Graphical user interface developer, game developer and animation programmer are common job titles for people seeking C++ development jobs. Activision, Bank of America and Pixar Studios are all companies who seek talented C++ programmers to help develop in-house software.

Average salary: $104,000


Difficulty: 3

What is it: C# is a programming language developed in the early 2000’s. It was intended to be a general purpose language for Microsoft products. C# can be used to develop standard Windows software and server side web applications. This language is a part of Microsoft’s .NET family which contains many other languages that are sometimes combines with C# on big projects.

Why you should learn it: If you’re interested in developing Windows specific applications or developing a website which will run on a Windows server, C# is a good choice. Although it’s not as popular as PHP or Java, C# has been slightly rising in popularity every year since its inception.

Applications and examples: Because C# was designed by Microsoft to run on their products, it’s safe to assume web applications such as Bing and MSN use it. C# is also used to make mobile phone applications for the Windows Phone operating system.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Many companies that look to hire .NET programmer are looking for full stack instead of specialized developers. Full stack developers are able to contribute on every aspect of a project from front end to back end. This means that C# positions are available however, you’re more desirable if you know multiple .NET languages.

Average salary: $94,000


Difficulty: 1

What it is: Python is a general purpose language that first appeared in the 1990’s. This language was designed to be highly readable making it very easy for beginners. Despite its relatively small learning curve, it still packs the power do very cool stuff like scientific computing, web development and 3D rendering.

Why you should learn it: You’d want to learn Python if you’re looking to jump straight into programming with relative ease. Unlike lower level languages such as C or Java, Python can be picked up at a rather fast pace. This makes Python an extremely beginner friendly language.

Applications and examples: Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit are all examples of what Python is capable of. Because these applications have become so big, many more technologies are now involved, however Python played a major role in starting these sites.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Because Python is useful in many different situations; there are jobs available in just about every market. Titles such as Data Analyst, Network Security Developer, Web Application Developer and IT Auditor are common. Companies such as Google and YouTube are always on the hunt for top notch Python programmers.

Average salary: $107,000


Difficulty: 2

What is it: People who are new to computer programming often don’t know there is a difference between Java and JavaScript. This language was originally called ECMAScript, however due to Java’s popularity at the time, the creators changed the name to attract more people. Apart from the name, these languages have very little in common.

Why you should learn it: If you’re interested in frontend web design you should learn JavaScript. It is used to add interactivity to web pages. Pages without JavaScript are rather bland, whereas JavaScript laced sites allow for animations and better control over the web interface. Even though it is primarily used for front end development, frameworks like Node.js allow programmers to write backend software too.

Applications and Examples: JavaScript is used by 88% of all websites. When you considered how many websites are available online, you’ll realize 88% is a lot. Odds are when you use pages that have hover effects, drop down menus, and other page animations it uses JavaScript in some capacity.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: JavaScript programmers are called front end developers, web/user interface designers, and internet application engineers. Both small companies like Stuller Inc and larger companies like Samsung seek JavaScript experts.

Average salary: $100,000


Difficulty: 2

What is it: PHP is another C decedent; in fact PHP is written using the C language. As a result, it inherits some of C’s power. Languages like C are normally used for lower level development, whereas PHP is designed to make web applications like Facebook.

Why you should learn it: If you have an idea for a new website, languages such as PHP are much more practical than C or C++. For this reason, PHP is the perfect language for people who want to go from no experience to developing web application in a short amount of time.

Applications and examples: PHP is used on over two hundred million websites which shows you how popular this language truly is. It is even used on some of the world’s most visited sites such as Yahoo and Wordpress.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Since there are so many sites written in PHP, people who are available to maintain and upgrade them are always in demand. While standard jobs do exist for PHP developers, freelancing this skill maybe a better option. Once you’ve become proficient with PHP, you will easily be able to exchange your skills for money.

Average salary: $89,000


Difficulty: 2

What is it: Ruby (like Python) is a powerful yet easy to learn programming language. Even though Ruby has been around roughly as long as Python, it didn’t become popular until its Rails framework was developed. In computer programming a framework is an addition to a language which makes doing certain task faster or easier. Rails is a framework which makes web development in Ruby extremely intuitive.

Why you should learn it: As previously mentioned Ruby is very similar to Python. However Ruby is known for having a style which some programs find unappealing, as a result Python is often given the edge over Ruby. This shouldn’t be considered a flaw because as the developer of Ruby pointed out, everyone’s style is different so some programmers may prefer Ruby over Python or vice versa. For this reason you are encouraged to try Ruby and determine if it fits your style.

Applications and examples: Metasploit and Twitter are two totally different applications programmed in Ruby. Metasploit is the most popular information security tool used by many individuals and companies for security purposes. Twitter is the world famous social media website which was originally developed with Ruby using its Rails framework.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: While some jobs do exist for pure Ruby programmers, a majority of positions are for Rails programmers. These programmers usually work at start ups and mid-sized companies because Rails is often used as a website prototyping language.

Average salary: $109,000


Difficulty: 3

What is it: SQL is considered a special purpose programming language. Special purpose languages, as the name implies are used for specific purposes as opposed to general-purpose languages like the others mentioned so far. SQL was designed to allow programmers to easily manage data held in database systems.

Why you should learn it: If you’re interested in managing a database you should be interested in learning SQL. This language comes in many different dialects; however once you are proficient in one, picking up others becomes trivial.

Application and examples: Systems such as MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL are used all over to keep hospitals, businesses, governments, and banks organized. Unless you are the database admin you won’t come in contact with the database directly. The user will use software or web applications which will fetch the information from the database that they require.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: Unlike other programming jobs which have many different titles, usually people who use SQL on a daily bases are called database administrators. From organizing patient records to keeping a car parts inventory, every business can benefit from a database system; this means many jobs are available for database administrators

Average salary: 102,000

Objective - C

Difficulty: 3

What is it: Objective-C can be considered the C# of the OSx and iOS world. The Apple computer company released Objective-C in the 1980’s when it was still a relatively young company. Since then Objective-C has become the de facto language for software developed for Apple products including the iPhone and iPod.

Why you should learn it: If you’re interested in writing applications for MacBooks, iPhones or iPads you will have to use Objective-C. Unlike open source languages like C, which can be freely used without question, Objective-C is proprietary, meaning you must follow rules and guidelines dictated by Apple.

Applications and examples: When you’re using an Apple product the applications that are running on it are developed using Objective-C. IPhone apps such as Uber, Instagram and SnapChat all rely on Objective-C to run smoothly.

Job titles/companies that need such programmers: IPhone application development companies old and new look for Objective-C programmers. Apple is currently rolling out a newer language called Swift which is intended to replace Objective-C. Despite this, Objective-C is still a marketable skill because it is so popular; it’s still likely to remain relevant for many more years.

Average salary: $107,000


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