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10 Programming Languages That Will Keep You Employed

  • by Admin
  • August / 04 / 2016


Love it, hate it, or both, C isn't going away anytime soon.


When it does come time for system programming or advanced applications of any sort, C++ is still the language that is most often called upon for the job. This language that grew out of an object-oriented pre-processor for C has been around for more than 30 years and has the distinction of being both a legacy language and a language still taught in an enormous number of computer science programs around the world. It's not as easy to learn as some of the scripting languages on the list, but there's little you can't do with it. If "serious" enterprise programming is on your career list, then C++ really should be on your list of languages to learn


Java is more than 20 years old and has been one of the most, if not the most, popular programming languages in both universities and businesses for the last few years. The promise of "write once, run anywhere" is powerful, and most commercial applications won't be hindered by Java's relative weakness at reaching down to the bare metal for control. If you're looking to upgrade you economic status and don't already have Java in your skill set, it should certainly be on your 2016 "languages to learn" list.


Python is one of the languages that many developers love, and many others just love to hate. It's a very script-like language that has the great advantage of being quite compact and, in general, rapid to write in. With that comes the disadvantage of being an interpreted language, with all the security and potential performance issues that carries. Many businesses see the speed (and ubiquity) as reasons to get past the security concerns, and there are very strong frameworks that take care of many issues.

Since Python is not as complex as some of the "higher" programming languages, you can generally become competent with a smaller investment of time. It's an investment that can pay huge dividends when it comes to searching for that next development gig


Before Microsoft became a corporate promoter of open standards and open source software, it went its own way for many things. One of those things was C#, a language based on C but optimized for the Microsoft .NET world. The Microsoft framework is still used by hundreds of thousands of applications and businesses around the world. C# remains an effective and efficient way to write applications on that framework. There are enough similarities between C++ and C# to make moving from one to the other a moderate effort (rather than a complete re-learning), and C#'s adherence to the Common Language Infrastructure makes it flexible. If your application world includes a Microsoft infrastructure, then C# is well worth adding to your skill set.


If you're confident that you'll never, ever be called upon to write a Web-based application, then you can safely ignore Javascript. If there's a chance that a Web-fronted application (or, to be honest, a mobile app) is in your future, then making time to learn Javascript could be a very wise investment. Javascript isn't the sort of language that you'll be using for system programming or for writing fluid-dynamics analysis applications on a supercomputer, but it's incredibly popular and useful for what it does to add heft and interactivity to HTML. It's a language that doesn't show any sign of fading in the next half-decade.


There's no question about it, PHP is a scripting language. It is, in fact, a scripting language that is very tightly tied to browser-based applications. The thing is, there are a lot of those browser-based applications, and history indicates that there will be a lot more in the future. PHP isn't a beautiful, elegant language. It's a sprawling thing that grew rather organically through the years. Just because it's messy, though, there's no reason that you can't write effective code, and being able to write that kind of code in PHP can make you very, very hirable./


Swift is Apple's programming language for iOS and OS X -- a language that it has recently (in version 2.2) made open source. Now there are versions of Swift available for Linux and Microsoft platforms, and IBM has made Swift available on its Swift Sandbox. Swift grew out of Objective-C, which means that if you've spent any time in any of the C-language variants, you should be able to pick up Swift pretty quickly. Even if you're not a fan of Apple, IBM's support should see Swift used in more and more enterprise environments. Having Swift in your portfolio should be one of those things that pays off for years to come.


Go is one of the newest languages on this list, only a decade old at this point. The thing that makes Go a contender for a language you should learn is that it came out of Google, and that's a powerful ally for any language. In some ways Go is a "classic" language. It is compiled and with static typing, and it harkens back to languages like Fortran and C. Go is available on a wide variety of platforms and shows signs of growing. This one is a bit of a reach compared to most of the other languages on the list, because investing in learning Go is taking a leap of faith that it's going to be adopted by more businesses. Given the growth path that Google has been on, though, that's not the world's most risky leap. If you have a toolbox already filled with the basic languages, Go could be a very interesting addition.


While most of the other languages on this list are general-purpose languages, R is designed for data analysis. The thing is, business analytics and big data are growing exponentially, so if you want to set yourself up to take advantage of the growth, then R is a language you should learn. R isn't new, having been around for more than 20 years. For most of that time, though, it was known only within the statistics and numerical analysis worlds. The growth of the business intelligence market kick-started R's growth and it now shows up frequently on lists of rapidly rising languages. If you have your eyes on job titles like "data scientist" then you could do far worse than adding R to your set of programming skills.

So, that's my list. Ten languages that are big, are growing, or both. How many of these do you know? More important, how many would you like to know (or would like for the developers you hire to know)? I've long believed that well-rounded programmers should have more than one language under their belt. Just how many should be tucked away is a subject I'd love for you to weigh in on. I'd also like to know which critical language(s) I missed. Meet me in the comments and we'll get the conversation started.


SQL has been around, in one form or another, since the 1970s and it's not going anywhere any time soon. Even though big data, with all its unstructured data lakes and data types, is becoming more important, most of the business world's data is still stored in very structured relational databases. And the language of the structured database is SQL. You're not going to use SQL outside the realm of the database, but that still leaves lots and lots of development that companies will pay for. Even if you never become a big-time DBA, knowing SQL will pay off when you need to reach into a database for information for a larger application written in another language.