How to Choose Which Programming Languages to Learn?

How to Choose Which Programming Languages to Learn?

You just started tracing your goals for a career in programming? You have a very important question: “What programming language should I learn?”. This would be the best answer: learn as many of them as possible. You want to have versed knowledge, so you can work on various projects. You’ll choose the adequate language that works for that particular project.

But that’s not the answer you expected, is it? You want precise guidelines, since you have to start somewhere. A list of “hottest languages” won’t help. There’s no best or worst programming language to learn. They are all useful. Your focus on a language will depend on the type of career you choose.

You need to answer few questions first. With that, you’ll come down to the language that gives you the best opportunity for career growth. 

Why Do You Want to Learn a Programming Language?

You’ll give yourself clear directions as long as you figure out what you want.

  • If you focus on mobile games with stunning graphics, you’ll probably need C++. This programming language puts you in control over the way you use computer resources. You can use it to code for any platform. In comparison, C# is mostly focused on Windows OS.
  • But what if you want to develop PC or console games? C++ is still the best language for that purpose. If you want a language that’s easier to learn, you can start with C#, though. It’s the recommended language to use for developing indie games.
  • You want to be a web developer? In that case, you’ll need a language that supports impeccable user experience. HTML5 and JavaScript should be at the top of your priority list. With those skills, you can work as a freelance developer, but you can also become part of the team at com, so they will find the jobs for you.
  • Then we have mobile app development. What platform will you choose? For iOS, you’ll need Swift. For Android, you need Java, and Windows goes with C#.
  • Finally, we have data scientists. What’s the best programming language for them? If you like statistics, you should check out R. It’s a language specialized for statistical computing. Python is another good option for big data analytics.

How Much Money Do You Want to Make?

You’re at the beginning of your studies and you want to choose a direction that leads to more money? That’s okay. We’ll turn to PayScale to see what programming language has better potential for cashing it out.

  • Currently, an average C++ software engineer makes $82,655 per year in the USA.
  • The salary for PHP as a skill is $68K.
  • Java developers make $73,336 per year.
  • The average salary for JavaScript as a skill is $80K.
  • It’s $63K for HTML5 as a skill.
  • For Python skills, the average salary is $89K.
  • For R as a skill, the salary is $78K.

There’s nothing wrong with money as motivation. Currently, Python holds the best potential in that aspect. You can dig deeper through PayScale to analyze the potential for earnings.

Geography

Now you’ll need to explore Indeed or another job search engine relevant to your country. Many potential programmers don’t know that geography makes a difference. But it does. If you want to work in an actual company, you need to explore the market.

If you plan to live in California, set that filter. Then, start searching through the jobs for different languages. At the moment, Indeed lists 1,688 jobs for HTML5, over 9K for C++, and over 15K for Python. Clearly, Python opens a larger market for the developers in California. See? It makes a difference.

Python is popular in California because Google uses it, and its headquarters are in that state. In New York, however, Java may be a better choice.

Popularity

Python wins the battle of popularity. Facebook and Google use it. Is there a programming student who wouldn’t want a place in those companies?

Python is great because of its versatility. It’s an open-source scripting language, which you can use independently or to complement another framework. It works for web development, software development, desktop graphic user interfaces, and video game development. It’s easy to learn, but it gives you incredible flexibility.

Its only downside is mobile development. Java wins at that.

What Programming Language Will You Learn?

The choice depends on your focus. You want to be very careful with the decision, since you don’t want to waste time on a language you won’t use. The tips above give you clear directions. All you need to do is set your goals and choose a language that goes well with them.

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