Which Programming Languages Should You Learn in 2020
IEEE computer; towardsdatascience; stackify 1418 Times 1056 People

The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

Be it home appliances, automobiles, hospitals or banks – technology is the backbone. As a result programming skills are a must in every industry. 

But with over 700 programming languages as stated by Wikipedia and other sources, and the popularity fluctuating every year how does a software developer determine which one would be the best to learn for better job prospects today and in future. 

One way is to be aware of the most popular or in-demand languages but this list could be long. So narrow it down based on your current area of expertise or future career advancement plan and opportunities, etc. 
Here are the top languages that will be in-demand in 2020 and beyond.

1. Python

Python is a developer friendly programming language that has risen in popularity in the past 16 years. 

It enjoys immense community support and offers several open-source libraries, modules and frameworks, that make application development very easy. 

For instance, Python offers popular libraries such as Django and Flask for web development and Keras, SciPy and TensorFlow for data science applications. 

Job Market:

According to Indeed, Python is the most in-demand language in the US job market with the highest 74k job postings in January 2020. Also, Python ranked third with a $120k yearly salary

Main Use Cases:
  • Data Science
  • Data Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning
  • Enterprise Application
  • Web Development

2. Kotlin

Kotlin is a general-purpose programming language that has seen the fastest growth in past 2 years.

There are several reasons for its popularity. It is completely interoperable with Java and runs on Java virtual machine.

It also compiles down into JavaScript, making it extremely versatile for both front and back-end development. It effortlessly combines object-oriented and functional programming features within it.

The effortless interoperation between Java and Kotlin makes Android development faster and enjoyable. Since Kotlin addresses the major issues surfaced in Java, several Java apps are rewritten in Kotlin. 

As most businesses move to Kotlin, Google is bound to promote this language more than Java. Hence, Kotlin has a strong future in the Android app development ecosystem.

Kotlin is an easy-to-learn, open-source, and swift language for Android app development that removes any adoption-related barriers. 

You can use it for Android development, web development, desktop development, and server-side development. 

Therefore, it’s a must-learn language for programmers and Android app developers in 2020. 

3. Java

Java is one of the most disruptive programming languages to date. Back in the ’90s, business applications were mainly developed using C++, which was quite complicated and platform dependent. 

Java is a much simpler, object-oriented, interpreted programming language that also supports Multi-threading programming.

It has achieved Platform independence by developing Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which abstracted the low-level Operating System from developers and gave the first “Write Once, Run anywhere” programming language. Also, JVM offered generation garbage collection, which manages the Object life cycle.

This object-oriented programming language does not require a specific hardware infrastructure, is easily manageable, and has a good level of security. Moreover, it is easier to learn Java in comparison to languages such as C and C++. 

Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 firms rely on Java for their desktop applications and backend development projects. 

In recent years, Java has lost some of its markets to highly developer-friendly modern languages and the rise of other languages, especially Python, JavaScript. Also, JVM is not quite Cloud friendly because of its bulky size. 

Job Market: According to Indeed, Java is the second most in-demand programming language in the US with 69k Job postings in January 2020. Also, Java developers earn the 6th highest annual salary ($104 K)

4. JavaScript/ NodeJS

Today, JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages in the world and runs on: Browsers, Servers, Mobile Devices, Cloud, Containers, and Micro-controllers. JavaScript is the undisputed king in Browser programming. 

Also known as NodeJS it is a popular language among developers who need to work on server-side and client-side programming. It is compatible with several other programming languages, allowing you to create animations, set up buttons, and manage multimedia. 

Owing to its high speed and regular annual updates, JavaScript is an ultimate hit in the IT domain. Reputed firms like Netflix, Uber, PayPal, and several startups use JavaScript to create dynamic web pages that are secure and fast. 

JavaScript is omnipresent in today’s digital environment. Hence, learning this language makes complete sense. 

Job Market:

Indeed has ranked JavaScript as the third most in-demand programming language in the US with 57k Job postings in January 2020. With $114 K average yearly salary, JavaScript ranks 4th in terms of salary.

Main Use Cases:
  • Web Development
  • Backend Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • Serverless Computing
  • Browser Game Development

5. TypeScript

TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript is an object-oriented language that was introduced to extend the capabilities of JS. The language makes it easy for developers to write and maintain codes. 

TypeScript offers a complete description of each component of the code and can be used for developing large applications with a strict syntax and fewer errors. 

Further, it is well-structured and easy to learn. Its extended toolbox makes application development quick. Owing to the benefits it offers, TypeScript is expected to supercede JS in 2020, making it one of the most sought-after programming languages in the future. 

6. Go

Go is fairly a new system-level programming language that has a focused vocabulary and simple scoping rules. It blends the best aspects of functional programming and object-oriented styles. Go is the fastest-growing language on Github, meant to replace languages like Java and C++. 

A Stack Overflow survey reveals that Go is the fifth most preferred language among developers today. This is because, Go solves issues like slow compilation and execution in large distributed software systems. 

This speed advantage has made Go a critical component of cloud infrastructure. So, if you are planning to work in a serverless ecosystem, Go is the language for you. 

Although Go does not have very good features, it has become a mainstream programming language in a short period.

The biggest USP of Go is its language design and simplicity. It has successfully combined the simplicity and productivity of Python and the power of C.

Job Market:

Indeed has ranked Go as the 10th most in-demand language with 4k openings in January 2020. In terms of salary, Go is ranked in 9th position.

Main Use Cases:
  • System Programming
  • Serverless Computing
  • Business Applications
  • Cloud-Native Development
  • IoT

7.  Swift

Swift is a multi-paradigm general-purpose compiled programming language developed by Apple that offers developers a simple and cohesive syntax and high developer productivity. It is deeply influenced by Python and Ruby that’s fast, secure, and easy-to-learn. 

Swift has excellent interoperability with Objective-C codebase and has already established itself as the primary programming language in iOS App development. As a compiled and powerful language, Swift is gaining increasing popularity in other domains as well.

Coders with little or zero experience can use Swift Playgrounds to learn the language, experiment with complex codes, and work on native iOS and macOS apps. 

Swift is the premiere coding language that helps developers creates iOS apps within a short time. The programming language opens several opportunities for new programmers, allowing them to make it big in the world of app development. 

There is a giant market out there for iOS and you definitely want to be a part of it. If you are eyeing this burgeoning market, Swift is the language you should learn in 2020. 

Job Market:

Indeed has ranked Swift as the 9th most in-demand language in the USA with 6k openings. In terms of Salary, Indeed has ranked Swift in 2nd place with $125k yearly salary

Main Use Cases:

iOS App Development
System Programming
Client-side development (via WebAssembly)


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