Ah, yes programming. You probably see posts about programming all the time, discussing why you should be a developer and the tremendous rise in demand for talented programmers. You hear people in passing, government officials, and business leaders talk about the importance of teaching and learning programming.
So should you jump into the world of programming? And, where should you start? Do you need to learn all the programming languages? At least for the latter, you definitely do not. In fact, there are some relatively easy programming languages that you can learn right now. As we are sure you have many more questions, let’s jump right in.
What is coding?
This is not a stupid question and is a great starting point for understanding what programming entails. If you think of it like the Matrix, almost every aspect of our lives is driven by code. The phone applications that you use, the games that you play, and the computer that you are using at this moment are driven by code. This code is written instructions that tell exactly what that application should do or how it should behave under certain parameters.
Coding is an end to a means, and some programming languages are better for certain projects than others. It is a powerful tool that will allow you to create games, build AI, create art, build applications, or even make music. As insinuated, there are many different career paths for those interested in the world of coding like being a web developer, a software engineer, a machine learning engineer, a game developer, a business intelligence analyst, and a software application developer just to name a few.
Like anything, if you are interested in a programming career, it is good to take the time to find things that you love doing or are passionate about and start there. For example, if you love games, see what programming languages you might need to become a game developer and start learning. The beauty of programming is that you do not necessarily need a computer science degree to become a programmer. There are plenty of free resources out there to get you started and to help you jumpstart your career.
Now is programming easy? This is a hard question to answer as each language and job has its own intricacies. Anyone can indeed learn to program, yet just like anything programming takes dedication and consistency. You are learning a new language and to be successful, you want to be fluent in that language. So here it is, the 7 programming languages that you should learn in 2020.
Python. Python. Python. If you recently saw someone talk about programming they were probably talking about Python. If you choose to take up Python as your coding superpower of choice there is a good chance that you will be in demand for years to come and have a nice cushy salary to go with it. But, why? Python is one of the most commonly used languages today and is a great starting point for beginners because of its readability.
The free, open-source language has a massive online support community, is easy to learn compared to the more complex languages, and plays a role in everything from applications to websites. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
For those of you interested in the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Python is going to be your go-to language. It is even used in computational applications like FreeCAD and Abacus. Python has played a major role in some websites you might be familiar with like Instagram, and YouTube. If you are looking for a starting place, python might be your best bet.
Another great language that is relatively simple to learn is Ruby. Even more so, learning this language reinforces a good programming style, something that can be applied to later languages. Ruby itself was developed to have a more human-friendly syntax compared to its more complex cousins, and is far more flexible.
Usually, when people discuss Ruby, they also mention Ruby on Rails or the web application framework that implements Ruby. Similar to python, it is used for data analysis, prototyping, and proof of concepts. It is used a lot for User Interface projects and API testing.
3. C and C++
Each of the languages plays a vital role in the world of computer science and programming. Even more so, the languages are high performance, having shaped some applications that you use right now, applications where performance is extremely important. Some video games, Firefox, and Adobe were all created using these languages. But again, if you are going to start with one of the Cs we recommend C++ to start.
Now, if you want to get into IOS mobile development, we have a language for you. Swift is a relatively new programming language, being created in 2014. Apple created language allows programmers to create native IOS and Mac-OS applications, making it much easier to build things like responsive 2D games. Even more so the language is considered a big development in terms of usability and performance compared to Objective-C. Those who work as Swift developers tend to have high-paid careers.
Another language that is highly in demand, Java is one of the most common languages used today. The Oracle Corporation owned language is a general-purpose language with the cool feature of having an object-oriented structure. Compared to something like Python this language is a little more tricky to learn, however, you will be greatly rewarded if you do. The language itself has become a standard around the world recognized for its portability across platforms from mainframe data centers to smartphones.
There are billions of devices right now powered by Java and is even found in the backend of many websites like Google, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube. Though this is considered an intermediate language there are millions of Java developers around the world and a large community to help you out when you are stuck.
One of the newer languages on the list, Go is a great language to pick up once you have mastered one of the languages above. Dubbed, golang, the language was developed by Googlers Robert Griesemer, Ken Thompson, and Rob Pike in 2007. Go was created with the aims of creating a language that is based on the C programming language, but would be easy to use and that would eliminate the “extraneous garbage" of languages such as C++.
The language is highly efficient, easy to use, and has advanced performance for networking. Still, the language is young and is a great language to jump into after you have picked up one or two other languages.
You might have learned about the COBOL programming language in your computer science class, dubbing it as the "ancient" programming language that played a vital role in computing history. With a handful of crucial software systems still reliant on the language, COBOL is making a comeback due to the unprecedented challenges people in the United States are facing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Leading this COBOL revival is IBM.
As mentioned, in the IBM press release and in Ars Technica, "We’ve seen customers need to scale their systems to handle the increase in demand and IBM has been actively working with clients to manage those applications."
"There are also some states that are in need of additional programming skills to make changes to COBOL – a language that has been widely reported to have an estimated 220 billion lines of code being actively used today. These changes to the code are required to take into account the new parameters for unemployment payment eligibility, in a very short timeframe."
IBM is looking to mobilize and create a new generation of COBOL programmers to tackle immediate issues in the United States. Currently, IBM is also working on an online course for those who are interested in learning the programming language. COBOL is a language that is directly correlated with some of the events of 2020 and could help make a difference in the world.
Do you have a favorite programming language?