10 of the most in-demand coding languages and their uses

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

Understanding coding languages is a valuable skill that's consistently in high demand in the job market. Having basic coding skills can be beneficial for anyone and can help you advance your career and drive growth for the companies you work for. As there are many types of code that serve different purposes, it can be helpful to learn a language that's best suited to your role or objectives. In this article, we highlight some of the most in-demand coding languages, describe their benefits and provide information about what these languages achieve.

What are coding languages?

Coding languages used for programming are a distinct set of text and characters which give specific instructions to direct the behaviour of computer programs. All software and programmable machines use a coding language to give directions to their system. These languages allow computers to quickly and efficiently process large pieces of information and create complex algorithms for programs.

Thousands of different programming languages exist which allow programmers to communicate with a computer. It can be helpful for programmers to learn multiple languages to help themselves advance their careers. Different roles, companies and software also often require users to understand and use different programming languages.
Related: Common programmer interview questions (with sample answers)

Most in-demand code languages

Some code languages have more widespread use throughout the programming field. This makes them more in demand and prominent in the job market. The more popular and common a coding language is, the more likely it is that employers may require developers to learn and use these languages at work. These languages may become popular for various reasons, including:

  • ease of use for developers

  • integration with other languages

  • productivity of the language

  • simple, concise language

  • open-source availability

Here are 10 of the most in-demand code languages:

1. Python

Python is one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. Many large tech businesses and start-ups use Python to build their platforms. Despite being a high-level programming language, many users consider it to be one of the easiest languages to learn for beginners. Its features include:

  • simple programming syntax and code readability

  • integration with other popular programming languages

  • object-oriented language

The benefits of Python include:

  • functions in many industries and organisations

  • focuses on designer experience and usability

  • integration with C and C++ for more challenging tasks

  • highly productive, requiring less time, effort and code to perform operations

  • interactive qualities, allowing programmers to test code as they go

  • rich set of libraries and frameworks

  • ideal for both beginners and experienced coders

Common uses of Python:

  • data science

  • data analysis

  • artificial intelligence

  • deep learning

  • enterprise and business applications

  • web frameworks and applications

  • task automation

2. JavaScript

JavaScript consistently ranks as one of the most commonly used code languages in the world. Many programmers use this language to create web pages and add interactive elements to pages. JavaScript is a highly diverse language that allows programmers to code fully functional websites, video games, animated graphics and more. Its features include:

  • multi-platform, able to run on most operating systems and web browsers

  • integration with a wide variety of add-ons to extend its functionality

  • client-side validation

The benefits of JavaScript include:

  • cross-platform usability

  • built-in interactive JavaScript interpreter in all modern browsers

  • event-driven programming

  • large support community and access to JQuery, a comprehensive JavaScript library

  • intuitive foundational language for beginners

Common uses of JavaScript:

  • web development

  • mobile app development

  • game development

  • building web servers

  • serverless computing

Read more: FAQ: what is JavaScript?

3. Java

Java is a general-purpose programming language described as a ‘write once, run anywhere' language, referring to its ability to work on all common operating systems. Many global companies use Java to build their platforms and support their back-end systems. Java is also the basis for most Android operating systems. Its features include:

  • multi-faceted, productive programming language

  • application portability

  • uses Java Virtual Machine (JVM) software

The benefits of Java include:

  • cross-platform functionality, running on almost all operating systems

  • robust and secure with strong memory management

  • extensive network library and tools for developing applications

  • simple syntax and easy to learn

Common uses of Java:

  • mobile app development

  • Android mobile operating system

  • desktop GUI applications

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • enterprise application development

  • web development

  • big data technologies

4. C

C is one of the oldest programming languages that is still used today. It formed the foundations for many other advanced languages, including Python, C# and Ruby. C can run on any type of device and allows users to program hardware, such as embedded devices in automobiles and medical devices in healthcare. Its features include:

  • machine-independent and portable

  • compiler-based language

  • procedural programming language

The benefits of C include:

  • extensively used language found in most computer operating systems

  • powerful and rapid programming speed due to language efficiency

  • easy to debug, test and maintain

  • libraries with many functions

  • makes learning other languages easier

Common uses of C:

  • embedded systems in hardware

  • system programming

  • game development

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • industrial automation

  • artificial intelligence

  • machine learning

5. C++

C++ is an enhanced version and extension of the C language. It runs on multiple hardware and helps power major software. Programmers use C++ to create large-scale applications, including games and operating systems. Its features include:

  • dynamic memory allocation

  • machine-independent

  • multi-paradigm language

The benefits of C++ include:

  • portability and cross-platform functionality

  • powerful and rapid speed due to language efficiency

  • large community support with a wide collection of libraries and compilers

Common uses of C++:

  • system programming

  • game development

  • IoT

  • real-time systems

  • machine learning

  • embedded systems

Related: How to get a video game job

6. C#

C# is an offshoot of the C language created by Microsoft for their operating system. C# is an improvement on C++ and a faster and more secure variant of C. C# remains popular for developing and improving web and desktop applications, particularly for Microsoft. Its features include:

  • fully integrated with Microsoft's .NET software framework

  • automatic garbage collection

  • multi-paradigm language

The benefits of C# include:

  • works across Windows-enabled platforms

  • rich libraries and frameworks available

  • extensive shared codebases, code library and data types

  • widely used general-purpose language with large community support

Common uses of C#:

  • Microsoft and Windows application development

  • server-side programming

  • software for popular platforms

  • desktop, web and mobile app development

  • game development

  • virtual reality

7. PHP

PHP, also known as Hypertext Processor, is an open-source scripting language. Programmers commonly use PHP to build dynamic and content-oriented websites and apps. It also helps programmers handle tasks involving information requests from servers. Its features include:

  • server-side language

  • integration with many major platforms

  • interpreted language

The benefits of PHP include:

  • used on all major operating systems and web servers

  • flexibility of editing

  • high level of developer control

  • rich libraries, frameworks and tools available

  • easy to debug

  • easy to learn and use

Common uses of PHP:

  • server-side web applications

  • CMS development

  • web application development

  • e-commerce applications

Related: 10 essential web developer skills

8. SQL

SQL, also known as Structured Query Language, is a database query language. SQL is the standard database language often used in other programming languages. Many businesses and organisations use SQL to access and manipulate information stored in their databases. Its features include:

  • standard language for relational database system

  • domain-specific language

  • consists of several sublanguages

The benefits of SQL include:

  • simple syntax

  • highly secure environment

  • scalability and flexibility

  • robust transactional support

  • analytical description of data

  • more productive language

  • highly functional, ideal for working with large pieces of data

Common uses of SQL:

  • database management

  • data analysis

  • client-server execution

  • sales reports

  • business management

9. R

R is the most used programming language for developing statistical tools. Many large companies use R to analyse and visualise large data sets. Programmers also use R for statistical computing in data-heavy industries, such as statistical analysis, machine learning and data mining. Its features include:

  • strong graphical capabilities

  • interpreted language

  • object-oriented language

The benefits of R include:

  • cross-platform compatibility

  • supports extensions and runs on many operating systems

  • large collection of libraries with a variety of applications

  • versatility and ability to solve problems in many domains

  • active and engaged community

Common uses of R:

  • data analysis

  • statistical computing and analysis

  • graphics

  • machine-learning research

10. Ruby

Ruby is a general-purpose language most commonly used for building web applications. Similar to Python, Ruby has many other applications, including data analysis and prototyping. Ruby runs on Ruby on Rails, one of the web's most popular development frameworks. Its features include:

  • implemented in C

  • integration with web development framework Ruby on Rails

  • multi-paradigm language

The benefits of Ruby include:

  • simple syntax and easy to comprehend

  • embedded garbage collection

  • focuses on high productivity

  • tooling and framework support

  • extensive coding community

  • ideal for beginner programmers

Common uses of Ruby:

  • web applications

  • data analysis

  • system administration

  • robotics

  • proof of concepts

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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