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Despite what you might think or hear, the demand for programmers is constantly rising. As technology evolves, new trends and programming languages emerge. So, how do you make sure you’re learning skills that will land you an exciting job or level up your career in 2024 and beyond?

Well, a great way to start is with a guide to the top programming languages that will be most in-demand and important to master in the coming years – according to industry experts. Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand into new areas, focusing your efforts on these languages will ensure you’re building future-proof skills.

Exploring ongoing trends in technology can give you insight into why certain programming languages are gaining traction. Here are the top six to start your year off with:

  1. Blockchain and Decentralized Technologies: The rise of blockchain has produced the growth of technologies like smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi), and blockchain-based identity management. These advancements are reshaping various industries, from financial services to supply chain management​​.
  2. Low-code and No-code Development: The increasing popularity of low-code and no-code platforms is transforming application development, allowing rapid, collaborative, and less technical development processes​​.
  3. Cyber Security: With the growing pervasiveness of technology, cyber security management remains a critical concern. Trends like Zero Trust Security, secure software development, and AI in cyber security are vital areas of focus​​.
  4. Quantum computing: Quantum computing is an emerging field with the potential to revolutionize various domains. It’s important to keep an eye on quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, and quantum-resistant cryptography​​.
  5. AI and machine learning in software development: AI and machine learning are increasingly integrated into the software development lifecycle, automating and enhancing various stages from coding to testing​​.
  6. Remote work influence: The shift towards remote work has broadened the talent pool and emphasized the need for remote-friendly tools and programming languages. This shift brings both opportunities and challenges in terms of IT staff augmentation and security​​.

No matter how much the tech world evolves, there will always be fixed consistencies. One such consistency is that certain coding languages are always in use. Here are nine programming languages that both businesses and professional developers can profit from:

  1. Python
  2. Java
  3. JavaScript
  4. TypeScript
  5. Go
  6. Rust
  7. Swift
  8. Scala
  9. Dart & Flutter

Python – The top language for AI and machine learning

Python is considered the top programming language for AI and Machine Learning; and for a good reason. This versatile language is easy to master, versatile, and has a huge collection of libraries.

Python as one of the top programming languages
(Source: www.wissenaire.org)

User-friendly and scalable

Python is a simple language to pick up, with easy-to-read syntax, but it is also a powerful language used by many freelancers, hubs, and top-rated tech companies.

With Python, you can accomplish anything from web development and software engineering to scientific computing. Its versatility and ease of use make it an ideal first choice among programming languages to learn.

Numerous libraries 

Python has a vast array of libraries for machine learning, neural networks, and data analysis. Some of the major libraries are:

Cross-platform versatility

Another benefit of Python is that it runs on many operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix. This means that its code can work on various platforms. Python also has a simple syntax and short code, making it easy to maintain and share.

With Python’s power, simplicity, and array of machine learning libraries, it’s no wonder this has become the go-to of top programming languages for AI, machine learning, and data science. Mastering Python will open you up to a world of opportunities in these cutting-edge fields.

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Java – Enterprise applications and Android development

Java is one of the most popular and widely used programming languages. First released by Sun Microsystems in 1995, Java is still a powerful, object-oriented language used to develop mobile apps, enterprise software, and web applications.

A list of Java benefits
(Source: https://litslink.com/)

Platform-independent

A key benefit of Java is that it is platform-independent – meaning the same Java code can run on many different operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux. This allows developers to write once, and run anywhere (WORA). Java code is compiled into bytecode, which is then interpreted by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on each platform.

Enterprise applications

Many major companies use Java to develop software and web applications because of its robustness, scalability, and security features. Some well-known Java enterprise applications are Apache Tomcat, Apache Struts, Spring, Hibernate, etc.

Java Enterprise Edition, or Java EE, is a popular platform for developing enterprise software.

Android development

Java is also the primary language used to develop Android mobile apps. The Android SDK uses Java libraries and the Java language to create apps. So, learning Java opens you up to building apps for the world’s most popular mobile operating systems.

To stay up to date with trends in technology, Java developers should also consider learning related frameworks and tools like Spring Boot, Docker, Kubernetes, and Apache Kafka.

With strong object-oriented design skills and knowledge of Java, you’ll be in high demand for software engineering roles at major tech companies. Overall, Java remains an excellent, in-demand programming language to master.

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JavaScript – Master of the web

JavaScript is a scripting language that is loosely typed and less strict than Java in terms of rules and syntax.

JS is the programming language of the web. If you want to build interactive websites, web apps, or anything else on the internet, learning JavaScript is essential.

Used for front-end and back-end development

JavaScript is used for both front-end and back-end development. On the front end, it powers interactive web pages and lets you create effects like animation, sliders, and pop-up windows. On the back end with Node.js, JavaScript can be used to build fast and scalable web servers and web applications.

So, by learning JavaScript, you’ll gain a highly useful and flexible skill that lets you build for both the user and server side of the web.

Massive ecosystem of libraries and frameworks

JavaScript has a huge ecosystem of libraries and frameworks that make web development much easier. Some of the popular ones are:

These are just some of the many options available to JavaScript users! The JS ecosystem is vast and filled with possibilities.

With JavaScript and its ecosystem of tools, you’ll be able to build just about anything on the web. So, choose one of the best coding languages, start learning JS today, and open yourself up to a world of opportunities!

A view of JavaScript, one of the best coding languages
(Source: https://code.visualstudio.com/)

TypeScript – JavaScript with syntax for types

TypeScript is a popular programming language developed by Microsoft that builds on JavaScript. It adds optional static typing and class-based object-oriented programming to the language.

Why learn TypeScript?

There are several key benefits to learning TypeScript:

To get started with TypeScript, you’ll first want to install it on your machine. Then, you can:

TypeScript has a learning curve but its similarity to JavaScript and strong typing can make it easier to pick up than other languages. If you want to build robust web applications and become a more attractive developer, TypeScript is one of the top programming languages worth mastering.

Go – The fast new systems language

Golang (Go) is Google’s open-source programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. Released in 2009, Go is a statically typed, compiled programming language in the tradition of C.

However, Go aims to combine the performance and safety of statically typed language with the convenience and flexibility of a dynamic language.

Golang code in action
(Source: https://sick.codes/)

Some of the benefits of Go include:

With major companies like Google, Netflix, Uber, and Dropbox using Go in production, the demand for Go developers is high and expected to continue growing over the next several years.

If you are looking to future-proof your skills and learn a language suited for building fast, efficient, and scalable software systems, Golang is a great choice.

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Rust – Safe and efficient systems programming

Rust is a programming language that is quickly gaining popularity for systems programming. Created by Mozilla Research, Rust aims to be a “safe, concurrent, and practical language”, meaning it prevents entire classes of bugs and ensures thread safety without compromising performance.

Safety and speed

Rust accomplishes both safety and speed through its ownership and borrowing model. Variables are “owned” by a particular scope, and can only be mutated or accessed within that scope. You can also “borrow” variables for read-only access, allowing multiple reads at once. The compiler verifies at compile-time that no two mutable borrows exist at the same time. This prevents data races and ensures thread safety.

Despite these checks, Rust compiles native code with performance comparable to C and C++. The ownership model means there is little runtime overhead. Rust is ideal for systems programming where high performance and reliability are required.

Perfect for systems programming

Rust is a great fit for embedded systems, web servers, and other systems programming. It is used by companies like Dropbox, Cloudflare, and Coursera. Some major projects in Rust include:

Rust has a steep learning curve, as the ownership model is quite different from traditional object-oriented languages. However, Rust’s safety, speed, and suitability for systems programming make it worth learning.

With strong industry support and an active development community, Rust is one of the top programming languages to watch in the coming years. 

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Swift – Apple’s language for iOS and macOS

The next on our list of best coding languages for 2024 is Swift, Apple’s programming language used to build iOS and macOS apps. Released in 2014, Swift has quickly become one of the fastest-growing languages. If you want to build apps for iPhones, iPads, and Macs, Swift is the way to go.

As an easy-to-learn, interactive programming language, Swift is a great choice for beginners. The syntax is simple yet powerful, and the code is easy to read and maintain. 

Swift works with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, so you can leverage your existing knowledge of Objective-C. However, Swift improves upon Objective-C by getting rid of unsafe code and adding features like type interference, closures, tuples, generics, and fast enumeration.

The Swift programming language repository summary - representing one of the top programming languages
The Swift programming language repository summary (Source: https://www.reddit.com/)

Powerful and intuitive

Some of the main benefits of Swift are:

To build an app with Swift, you’ll use Xcode – Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE). Xcode provides tools for designing, coding, testing, and debugging your apps. You’ll also use the iOS SDK and UIKit framework to create your app’s interface and user experience.

With a huge ecosystem of libraries and a growing community, Swift is the future of iOS and macOS development. By mastering Swift, you’ll be able to build powerful apps for Apple platforms and tap into career opportunities as an iOS and macOS developer.

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Scala – Legible and compact code

Scala is a general-purpose programming language providing support for both object-oriented programming and functional programming. Since Scala source code is compiled into Java byte code, Scala programs can run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This language is inspired by Haskell, Java, ML, and Scheme.

What are the main benefits of learning Scala?

While the learning curve can be a bit steep, mastering Scala will make you a better programmer and open you up to many new career prospects.

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Dart and Flutter

Dart is an open-source programming language developed by Google that is used to build mobile, desktop, server, and web apps. It is an object-oriented language with C-style syntax that can compile to JavaScript. If you want to build apps for the web, mobile, and beyond, Dart is a great language to know.

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google to build native mobile apps with the Dart programming language. It uses the Skia graphics library to render everything. If you want to build beautiful native apps for iOS and Android, Flutter is essential to learn.

Why Learn Dart and Flutter?

There are a few key reasons Dart and Flutter are some of the top programming languages to pick up:

If you want to build beautiful, native mobile apps, Dart and Flutter are innovative, cutting-edge languages worth becoming proficient in. The languages continue to gain more popularity, and the job market for Flutter developers is growing quickly. Now is a great time to pick up these skills.

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FAQ on Learning Programming Languages in 2024

Why are these languages considered the most popular in 2024?

These languages have maintained or grown in popularity due to their versatility, efficiency, and alignment with modern technologies like AI, cloud computing, and blockchain development. Their relevance is also bolstered by community support and continuous updates that address evolving technological demands.

How to choose the right programming language to learn?

When selecting a programming language to learn in 2024, consider the following factors:

Career goals: Align your choice with your career aspirations. For instance, if you’re interested in web development, JavaScript might be a good start.
Industry demand: Look at the market demand for each language. Languages like Python and Java have wide applications and are consistently in demand.
Project types: Consider the types of projects you want to work on. For game development, C# could be a great choice due to its use with Unity.
Learning curve: Evaluate the complexity of the language and your readiness to tackle it. Python, for instance, is known for being beginner-friendly.

How long will it take to learn these languages?

The time it takes to learn a programming language varies depending on the language and your current skills. Expect the basics to take:

4 to 6 weeks for an easy language like Python or JavaScript
2 to 3 months for Java or C++
6 months to a year to become highly proficient

Do I need a formal degree?

While a computer science or software engineering degree can be helpful, it is not required to learn programming. Countless senior developers today are self-taught. The key is to invest enough of your time into learning as much as you can, and building a strong portfolio of work to showcase your skills. 

What can I do to speed up the process?

Focus on continuous learning, start your coding projects, participate in hackathons or coding boot camps, and stay up-to-date with new languages and technologies.

Conclusion

So there you have it – the top programming languages that are most worth your time to master over the next few years. While the tech field is always changing, these languages have shown they have real staying power and usefulness.

A person using a laptop, sitting next to books on the best programming languages
Consistent practice and building your projects are key to learning programming languages. Start with an intro course, then move on to more advanced tutorials and start coding!

Learning to code may seem intimidating, but with practice and persistence, you’ll be building awesome projects in no time. And in a few years, you’ll have an in-demand skill that could lead to a new career or an exciting side project.

The future is yours to create – so get out there and start building!

You should also read: 10 Highest Paying Tech Jobs in 2023