In today’s job market having skills is extremely valuable.. Learning your first programming language in this technology world becomes very challenging. These guidelines will help you navigate through 10 programming languages that are currently, in high demand, and worth acquiring in 2024.
How Did We Choose the Top 10 Programming Languages?
We selected the 10 programming languages on this list based on the following criteria:
- Demand – Languages with the highest volume of job postings and developer ecosystem activity. The more in demand, the more career opportunities.
- Ease of Use – Programming has enough complexity and nuance on its own without struggling with overly convoluted syntax. We emphasized simpler languages for beginners.
- Versatility – Languages that have broad applications across many platforms, industries, and types of software development.
- Future Trends – Up and coming languages experiencing rapid growth were given special consideration to help future proof your skills.
A Note on Scripting vs Programming Languages
Before diving in, we must clarify the difference between a programming language and a scripting language.
Programming languages are compiled, meaning the code is converted directly into machine code that the computer processor executes. Programming languages tend to be more complex, lower level, and performance focused. Examples include Java, Swift, Rust, C++, and Go.
This list contains both true programming languages and useful scripting tools worth learning. With so many crossover skills, mastering one makes picking up another significantly easier over time.
For beginner coders, Python is the best programming language to start with in 2024. The syntax uses easy to read English words rather than cryptic characters making it intuitive to new programmers. Python code reads similarly to plain English writing.
As a general purpose language, it has wide applications for web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, software testing, automation, and scientific research among dozens of other uses. The versatile, jack-of-all-trades nature makes Python a great first language.
All types of technology companies big and small use Python including YouTube Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, Google, Amazon, Facebook, NASA, IBM, and countless new startups. Python programming skills are always in demand.
Key Python Applications
- Web Development (Flask, Django)
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Automation and Scripting
- Data Analysis
- Scientific Computing
- General Purpose Software
The language gets its name from sharing syntax similarities with Java, although they are quite different. The C-inspired grammar gives some familiarity to Java developers.
- Front End Web Development
- Mobile Apps (React Native)
- Browser Games
- Backend Web Apps (Node.js)
Released in the 1990s, Java is a classic, portable object-oriented language still relevant 25+ years later thanks to its versatility.
Java’s “write once, run anywhere” principle provides unique portability. Minimal tweaking enables Java code to run across any platform with the Java Virtual Machine installed, saving ample development effort.
Nearly all Fortune 500s rely on Java for mission-critical systems, leveraging its ability to scale reasonably vs C/C++. It also powers 70%+ of mobile devices by underlying Android.
Developers use Java for backend infrastructure, network administration tools, and embeddable desktop apps/games. Its diversity across IT ecosystems cements Java as a valuable skillset through 2024.
With performance, security and ease of use for beginners and pros alike, along with abundant learning materials, Java strikes the ideal balance for the future.
Key Java Applications
- Android App Development
- Backend Enterprise Systems
- Complex Cross Platform Apps
- Java Games / Applets
- Database Software
- Ecommerce Platforms
C++ remains widely used since its 1985 release by striking a balance between high performance and flexibility. It shines when execution speed matters most, like in graphics-intensive gaming and embedded systems programming.
Game developers favor C++ for creating immersive cross-platform games. By allowing low-level memory access, it enables tremendous optimization control. Engineers also use it for operating systems and to control critical hardware like vehicles and appliances when reliability and speed are crucial.
The trade-off is a steep learning curve. Unlike Python, C++ burdens programmers with manual memory allocation while enabling direct data type control for maximum runtime performance. This makes large projects exponentially complex.
Key C++ Applications
- Gaming Engines
- Embedded Electronics
- VR Systems
- High Frequency
Introduced by Apple in 2014 as a successor to Objective-C, Swift quickly gained popularity for streamlining iOS and Mac app development. This powerful open source language provides additional security, speed and simplicity over Objective-C.
For app builders, Apple made Swift mastery practically mandatory for iOS careers. Swift skills directly heighten iOS developer employability within an ecosystem projected to keep booming 18% annually this decade.
Swift goes beyond other languages, incorporating modern compilation features like type checking to eliminate bugs and errors. It also tightly integrates with the newest iOS APIs for cutting edge iPhone and iPad apps.
Key Swift Applications
- iOS Mobile Apps
- MacOS Desktop Programs
- Apple Device Accessories
- Server Side Web Backend
Rust stormed onto the programming scene in 2010, offering a balance between performance and usability by combining modern ergonomics atop low-level control. This attempted filling a gap unmet optimally by C++ over decades.
By compiling direct machine code while eliminating classes of vulnerabilities like buffer overflows possible in other system languages, Rust accomplishes CPU speed nearly matching C/C++. This lets engineers write reliable, secure code quickly without tedious memory chasing.
Rust sees growing adoption embedding device firmware from automotive to robotics. It also attracts uses crafting browsers like Firefox, crypto algorithms, OSes, and simulation engines. Blockchains increasingly rely on Rust to ensure asset security.
Numerous emerging coding tools like WebAssembly and ML libraries TensorFlow build with Rust, shaping developer tooling for years ahead.
With strategic Rust investments from tech titans like AWS, Meta, Microsoft and Google, momentum keeps increasing into 2024 guaranteeing more programming jobs across industries.
Key Rust Applications
- Embedded Devices
- Simulation Software
- ML Libraries
- Cloud Infrastructure
- Critical Security Systems
7. Go (Golang)
Developed internally by Google, Go evolved into a popular general purpose language since its 2009 public launch.
Go simplifies spinning up programs executing multiple tasks concurrently thanks to built-in support for concurrency. This makes it perfectly suited for cloud solutions, web services, high-uptime distributed apps, and data pipelines.
Major tech firms now use Go to handle critical backend infrastructure like Cloudflare and Twitter. Startups also favor Go to eliminate boilerplate code, speeding up development.
Go provides compiled code performance while enabling efficient syntax via garbage collection like a scripting language, giving faster iteration velocity.
Key Go Applications
- Cloud Services
- DevOps Automation
- Web Assembly
- Serverless Backends
- Cross Platform Apps
Kotlin provides an open-source alternative for more intuitive Android app development while integrating seamlessly with legacy Java systems.
Created by Jetbrains, Kotlin fills frustrations with Java. It compiles to Java bytecode but adds major usability improvements, eliminating tedious verbosity innately slowing Java development.
By supporting default parameters lacking in outdated Java, Kotlin significantly speeds up building apps. Since Google announced first-class Kotlin support in Android Studio in 2017, shops often mandate Kotlin skills for development roles, exponentially boosting demand.
Kotlin also fortifies legacy systems exceptionally well alongside Java. Integration helps modernize antiquated Java codebases across enterprises. Those proficient in both Java and Kotlin become extremely employable programming polyglots.
Key Kotlin Applications
- Android Mobile Apps
- Spring Boot Web Apps
- Desktop Application UI
- Backends and Microservices
PHP maintains dominance as the crucial backend programming language powering content management systems online by dynamically serving data from servers to browsers.
First released in 1995 by Rasmus Lerdorf to track web visitors, PHP grew exponentially becoming the invisible force running over 75% of all websites globally behind the scenes.
PHP played a huge role enabling millions of small businesses to establish an online presence easier during the 2000 dotcom boom by reducing website build complexity.
Decades later, PHP remains relied on by website builders at companies like Automattic and freelance web shops for crafting blogs, ecommerce stores, memberships sites and more with CMS platforms like WordPress and Magento.
Key PHP Applications
- Content Management Systems
- Web Applications
- WordPress Customizations
- Dynamic Content Websites
- Web Scraping Scripts
SQL persists as a prominent data query language powering software applications by facilitating database interactions.
Though not a full programming language, SQL handles computational logic beyond just database markup syntax. Companies rely on SQL queries to manipulate data across tables, including customer systems and ecommerce workflows.
Even applications shifting to NoSQL optimize workflows via SQL-esque declarative languages, conveying what data to retrieve.
With skills transplantable across data systems, SQL is a must-learn for aspiring to work with data, cementing its prominence through 2024.
Key SQL Applications
- Relational Databases
- Business Intelligence
- Data Analytics Pipelines
- Data Science Modeling
Which Programming Language Should You Learn First?
This guide hopefully empowers you to evaluate programming language options aligned to your career ambitions beyond 2024. With so many high-demand skills, choosing where to focus feels overwhelming as a beginner.
We recommend total beginners start by learning Python. It strikes the best balance of criteria for novices, with frustration-minimizing syntax enabling confidence writing scripts quicker.
Python also unlocks income potential as one of the most in-demand skills. Its versatility lets careers pivot adaptably after getting your feet wet. And it paves the way to pick up other coding languages leveraging transferable concepts.
Whichever language, consistency and practice are key. All coding shares logical, problem-solving skills. Master one and picking up another accelerates.
Choose a passion-sparking language then chip away daily via online courses, books and community help. Patience pays off with a future-proof, high-demand skillset.
Good luck coding in 2024! Hopefully, these top language ideas help guide your efforts.