Computer programming languages allow us to give instructions to a computer in a language the computer understands. Just as many human-based languages exist, there are an array of computer programming languages that programmers can use to communicate with a computer. The portion of the language that a computer can understand is called a “binary.” Translating programming language into binary is known as “compiling.” Each language, from C Language to Python, has its own distinct features, though many times there are commonalities between programming languages.

These languages allow computers to quickly and efficiently process large and complex swaths of information. For example, if a person is given a list of randomized numbers ranging from one to ten thousand and is asked to place them in ascending order, chances are that it will take a sizable amount of time and include some errors.

There are dozens of programming languages used in the industry today. We’ve compiled overviews of the 12 most important, relevant and in-demand of these languages below.

Python

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Python is an advanced programming language that is interpreted, object-oriented and built on flexible and robust semantics.

Who uses it?

  • Professions and Industries: 
    • Python developers, software engineers, back end developers, Python programmers
    • Used by employers in information technology, engineering, professional services and design
  • Major Organizations: Google, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, DropBox, NASA, ESRI
  • Specializations and Industries: Web and Internet development (frameworks, micro-frameworks and advanced content management systems); scientific and numeric computing; desktop graphical user interfaces (GUIs)

What makes learning it important?

Python lets you work quickly to integrate systems as a scripting or glue language. It’s also suited for Rapid Application Develop (RAD).

  • The game Civilization 4 has all its inner logic, including AI, implemented in Python.
  • NASA uses Python in its Integrated Planning System as a standard scripting language.
  • Features:
    • Simple to learn and easily read
    • Associated web frameworks for developing web-based applications
    • Free interpreter and standard library available in source or binary on major platforms

Where did it start?

Python was developed in the late 1980s at CWI in the Netherlands and first released to the public in 1991.

Forums

  • Stack Overflow
  • Python community
  • Devshed Network (Python Programming Forum)

Try it out!

Java

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Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented, high-level programming language with several features that make it ideal for web-based development.

Who uses it?

  • Professions and Industries:
    • Software engineers, Java developers
    • Used by employers in communications, education, finance, health sciences, hospitality, retail and utilities
  • Major Organizations: V2COM, Eclipse Information Technologies, eBay, Eurotech
  • Specializations and Industries: Internet of Things (IoT), Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing

What makes learning it important?

Java is used to develop enterprise-level applications for video games and mobile apps, as well as to create web-based applications with JSP (Java Server Pages). When used online, Java allows applets to be downloaded and used through a browser, which can then perform a function not normally available.

  • Programs that use or are written in Java include Adobe Creative Suite, Eclipse, Lotus Notes, Minecraft and OpenOffice.
  • Java is the core foundation for developing Android apps.
  • Features:
    • Application portability
    • Robust and interpreted language
    • Extensive network library
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