Decoding coding languages: comparing 11 popular programming languages

We interact with technology that uses programming on a daily basis (in fact, you’re doing it right now!). So it should come as no surprise that programmers are in demand. With the right coding skills, you can secure a steady job with a big-name company and an equally impressive salary. On the lowest end, entry-level programming salaries start around $60,000 and can easily climb into the $100,000+ range with the right programming languages under your belt. 

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With over 300 standardized coding languages, where do you start? The programming languages you learn will depend on your career goals. Here are a handful of the most popular programming languages and how they’re used most often.

C

C is a general-purpose coding language, originally created for Unix systems. It’s commonly used in cross-platform systems, Unix coding and game coding. It’s often selected because it’s more compact than C++ and runs faster.  It’s the second most common programming language following Java. C is the grandfather of many other coding languages including C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP and Python.

C++

C++ is an intermediate-level coding language that is object-oriented. It derives from C, however, it has add-ons and enhancements to make it a more multifaceted coding language. It’s well suited to large projects, as it can be broken up into parts enabling easy collaboration. It’s used by some of the world’s best-known tech companies including Adobe, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft.

Objective-C

Like most of the coding languages on this list, it derives from C. It’s a general purpose, high-level code that has an added message-passing function. It’s known for being the coding language of choice for Apple’s OS X and iOS apps until it was replaced by Swift.

Java

Java is currently the most popular and widely used language in the world. Though it was originally created for interactive TV, it’s become known as the language of choice for Android devices. It’s also the coding language of choice enterprise-level software. It’s a good multi-purpose coding language because it can be used cross-platform (meaning it’s just as easily used on smartphone apps as on desktop apps). It resembles C++ in syntax and structure making it easy to pick up if you know C languages already.

JavaScript

JavaScript was created as an add-on code to extend the functionality of web pages. It adds dynamic features such as submission forms, interactivity, animations, user-tracking, etc. It’s mostly used for front-end development, or for coding solutions that customers and clients interact with. It’s compatible with all browsers, making it a good general-purpose web development code, though it’s also known to be difficult to debug.

Swift

Long hailed as the replacement for Objective-C when it comes to Apple programs, it’s been gaining popularity in recent years, because it’s easy-to-read, easy to maintain and faster than Objective-C. If you’re looking to be an Apple coder or write programs for iOS, this is the language you want to learn. Though Objective-C is still used, Swift is quickly becoming the programming language of choice for coders creating programs for Apple devices.

C#

A general purpose, object-oriented code, C# (pronounced C Sharp) was created by Microsoft in 2001. Though it’s named after the C family of coding languages, it has more in common with Java than other C languages. C# is mostly used for internal/enterprise solutions and is less frequent in commercial software.

PHP

PHP is an open source code, primarily used for web development (a.k.a. creating web pages.) PHP was created to streamline web page creation. It’s a fairly simple programming language that can be picked up quickly. It’s used by many web-based companies including Facebook, Wikipedia, and WordPress.

Ruby

Ruby is an object-oriented, general purpose programming language developed in the mid-90s in Japan. It’s one of the simpler programming languages to learn and is often used as a stepping stone to Ruby on Rails. It was developed to be both fun to code, and to increase productivity. It’s known for being easy to read, and as a result many programmers recommend learning Ruby as your first coding language. It’s used by sites like Hulu, Shopify, Airbnb and many others.

Python

Another general purpose, high-level code, Python is a favourite of up and coming coders. It was designed to be fun to use (after all, it’s named for Monty Python, how could it not be?) It’s another highly recommended language for coding beginners to learn – and has become the top introductory coding language in American university programs. It’s used mostly for web apps and information security, though it’s also popular in the academic community for data analysis. It’s used by tech giants like Google, Dropbox, Pinterest and Spotify.

 

Whether you’re a newbie coder, or an experienced programmer adding a new coding language to your repertoire, learning the right programming skills is essential to carving out the career you want.

Already know how to code? If you’re ready to start your career, Randstad Technologies can help you find employment with top Canadian companies. Search for developer jobs in popular fields including:

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