By Stephen Greet For Hack Reactor
It’s no secret that software developers are in very high demand. Couple that with the fact that the average developer makes $103,000 a year ($115,000 for bootcamp grads) and it’s no wonder that people are flocking to careers in the field. Once you’ve decided that you’re interested in coding, how do you decide which programming language to learn first?
There are hundreds of different programming languages and frameworks out in the world, so it can be a daunting task to decide where to get started. The decision of where to start should center around the kind of software projects you’re interested in working on and your career goals.
In this guide we’ll walk through the 5 most popular and in-demand programming languages you can learn.
We’ll also give examples of applications or sites built with those languages so you can get an idea of what you can accomplish with each language.
Python is used extensively by sites like Youtube, Instagram, and Quora. The speed of development in Python makes it very well suited for growing companies.
If you’re interested in video game development, Python might be the perfect programming language for you to get started with. It is the primary code base for popular video games like Battlefield, Sims, and Civilization.
Libraries like TensorFlow, NumPy, scikit-learn, and PyTorch make Python the language of choice for those interested in machine learning and data science. Python allows for the end-to-end development of models from data exploration all the way to putting models into production code.
With the open-source Django framework, Python can be used in back-end web development.
Python is heavily used in the field of data science, which is currently rated as the top job in America.
Because Python is an open-source language and it is used readily by large companies, there is constant development and the language is always being pushed forward. Since it is ubiquitous across the web there is extensive support for any questions you might have on sites like Stack Overflow and Quora. The ease of use and limitless use cases of Python makes it a great programming language to learn, especially through data science bootcamps.
If you’re interested in developing applications for the Apple ecosystem, then the open-source programming language Swift should be what you learn first. While Swift is still young relative to other programming languages (it was released in 2014), it is backed by Apple, so you can be sure of its staying power.
Swift is used to develop applications for iOS (for iPhones and iPads), macOS (Macs), watchOS (Apple Watch), and tvOS (Apple TV), so it has a very far reach. Apps like Lyft, LinkedIn, and WordPress all have custom iOS apps built in Swift. With the introduction of tools like Scade, Swift can also be used to develop applications for Android. If you’re interested in mobile app development, Swift is a great place to start your programming journey.
According to Oracle, more than 3 billion devices run Java so most major companies use it in some form. More than that, more than 30% of companies hiring web developers require that applicants know Java.
Here are some specific real-world use cases of Java:
Java is the official language of all Android apps. If you want to develop an app for Android, you’ll need to know Java. From Uber to Instagram to Twitter, all of these native Android applications utilize Java.
If you’re interested in financial services, Java is a great first language to learn. Companies like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Barclays all use Java extensively to power their server-side applications.
Java can be used for web development on the back-end with Spring. Companies like Zillow, Accenture, and Intuit all use Spring to power their web applications.
Java is used to help build tools for other developers. Popular IDEs (where developers actually write their code) like Eclipse and IntelliJ are built with Java.
Getting started with your first programming language
The key to getting started with programming is to first learn one language really well. Only then should you think about learning a second language. As a programmer, it’s much better to be a master of one language than a jack of all trades. The good news is that once you learn one language, it’s much easier to learn another.