Top Programming Languages and Their Uses

5 min read

Career Trends: September 9, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

There are numerous programming languages, more than 700, you can choose from.

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The world has been evolving at an astonishing rate, and a solid part of the credit for that advancement goes to the application developers. Application development offers some of the highest-paying career paths, such as web development, data science, artificial intelligence, and more.

Before you start on a career path and create your first application, you need to first pick a programming language. There are numerous programming languages, more than 700, to choose from.

When deciding to pick up a programming language, it is suggested to start with something that is more modern, widely used, and has loads of packages or libraries.

Here are some of the most widely used programming languages and what they are used for:

1. Python — Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Level: Beginner

Platform: Web, Desktop

  • Developed by Guido van Rossum in the 1990s, the multi-purpose high-level Python has grown extremely fast over the years to become one of the most popular programming languages today.
  • The number one reason for Python’s popularity is its beginner-friendliness, it allows anyone, even individuals with no programming background, to start creating simple programs.

What this language is used for — 

  • Although Python can be used to build pretty much anything, it really shines when it comes to working on technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics.
  • Python also proves to be useful for web development, creating enterprise applications, and GUIs for applications.

2. JavaScript — Rich Interactive Web Development

Level: Beginner

Platform: Web, Desktop, Frontend scripting

  • JavaScript was one of the key programming languages alongside HTML and CSS that helped build the internet.
  • JavaScript was created in 1995 by Netscape.

What this language is used for — 

  • JavaScript is the perfect option if you want your app to run across a range of devices, such as smartphones, cloud, containers, micro-controllers, and on hundreds of browsers.
  • For the server-side workloads, there’s Node.js, a proven JavaScript runtime that is being used by thousands of companies today.

3. Java — Enterprise Application Development

Level: Intermediate

Platform: Web, Mobile, Desktop

  • Java has remained the de-facto programming language for building enterprise-grade applications for more than 20 years now.
  • Created by Sun Microsystems’ James Gosling in 1995, the object-oriented programming language Java has been serving as a secure, reliable, and scalable tool for developers ever since.

What this language is used for — 

  • Apart from being used to develop robust business applications, Java has also been used extensively in Android, making it a prerequisite for Android developers.
  • Java also allows developers to create apps for a range of industries, such as banking, electronic trading, e-commerce, as well as apps for distributed computing.

4. R — Data Analysis

Level: Intermediate

Platform: Mainly desktop

  • If you do any sort of data analysis or work on Machine Learning projects, the chances are that you may have heard about R.
  • The R programming language was first released as an implementation of the S programming language with a special focus on statistical computing and graphical modeling.

What this language is used for — 

  • Apart from some of the uses mentioned above, R can be used for behavior analysis, data science, and machine learning projects that involve classification, clustering, and more.

5. C/C++ — Operating Systems and System Tools

Level: C — Intermediate to Advanced, C++ — Beginner to Intermediate

Platform: Mobile, Desktop, Embedded

  • C and C++ are both very low-level programming languages, offering blazing fast performance, which is why they were and are still being used to develop operating systems, file systems, and other system-level applications.

What this language is used for — 

  • As C & C++ both offer full access to the underlying hardware, they have been used to create a wide variety of applications and platforms, such as system applications, real-time systems, IoT, embedded systems, games, cloud, containers, and more.

6. Golang — Server-Side Programming

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Platform: Cross-platform, mainly desktop

  • Go, or Golang, is a compiled programming language developed by the search giant Google.
  • Golang is fast and has a simple syntax, allowing anyone to pick up the programming language. It also comes with cross-platform support, making it easy and efficient to use.

What this language is used for — 

  • Go is primarily used in back-end technologies, cloud services, distributed networks, IoT, but it has also been used to create console utilities, GUI applications, and web applications.

7. PHP — Web Development

Level: Beginner

Platform: Cross-platform (desktop, mobile, web) Back-end web scripting.

  • Today, PHP has become a general-purpose scripting language that’s being used around the globe, primarily for server-side web development.
  • It is fast, simple, and is platform-independent, along with a large open-source software community.

What this language is used for — 

  • A large number of companies are using PHP today to create tools like CMS (Content Management Systems), eCommerce platforms, and web applications.
  • PHP also makes it extremely easy to create web pages in an instant.

8. SQL — Data Management

Level: Beginner

Platform: Back-end database management

  • SQL, short for Structured Query Language, is probably one of the most crucial programming languages on this list.
  • The special-purpose programming language has played a key role in enabling developers to create and manage tables and databases for storing relational data over hundreds of thousands of data fields.

What this language is used for — 

  • Pretty much every other project or industry that needs to deal with large amounts of data stored in tables or databases uses SQL through an RDBMS.

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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