With the continued growth of interest in software engineering and developer jobs, it seems like everyone wants to know which programming languages are the most useful to learn. The popularity of these languages ebbs and flows with the market, so it's important that current and would-be developer stay on top of the trends.
Whether it's a stalwart legacy language, or a new one that is taking the industry by storm, keeping your skills well-rounded can make you a more attractive job candidate, or potentially earn you extra responsibility at your company. But, you need to choose which languages to invest in wisely.
To help better understand language popularity, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently released its list of the top programming languages for 2017 on its web publication, IEEE Spectrum. The list is interactive, and can be sorted a variety of ways, but here is how language popularity ranks for the typical IEEE Spectrum reader.
Python is the No. 1 language of 2017, up two places from its position last year, the list said. It was also the most popularity trending language within job descriptions and among open source hubs.
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C can trace its origin all the way back to the early 1970s, around the same time as Unix. Despite its age, C is still popular in open source software, and for a variety of other uses.
SEE: C Programming for Beginners (TechRepublic Academy)
An object-oriented language, Java routinely tops charts as one of the most popular languages in use. The language was birthed in 1995 by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle. Lawsuits have been bought by Oracle against Google for the use of Java in the Android OS.
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C++ debuted in 1983, and has gone on to influence a host of other languages. Typically, large-scale systems designed for commercial purposes make use of C++, including many popular desktop operating systems.
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Inspired by the sharp musical notation, C# hit the scene as part of Microsoft's .NET framework. In 2017, C# reentered the top five, the IEEE list noted, reclaiming the spot it lost to R last year.
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Available under the GNU General Public License, R is commonly associated with statistical applications and data analysis. With the strong growth of data science jobs in the enterprise, it's likely that R will stay popular for a while.
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PHP, which stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is geared more toward web development, but can be used for other purposes as well. Version 7.2 is due out by the end of November 2017.
SEE: Learn Advanced PHP Programming (TechRepublic Academy)
A relatively young language, Go was launched in 2007 after being built internally at Google. A free and open source project, Go is used in many enterprise tools such as Docker, Dropbox, MongoDB, and more.
SEE: Google Go Programming for Beginners (TechRepublic Academy)
The most recent language on the list, Swift was created by Apple and unveiled in June 2014. Swift is used to program for macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS, but it is open source, so it has seen other implementations as well.
SEE: Swift 3 Fundamentals & Essential Training (TechRepublic Academy)
- The 10 easiest programming languages to learn (TechRepublic)
- Programming languages: Your best options (ZDNet)
- Mastering Python (TechRepublic Academy)
- Google's Go beats Java, C, Python to programming language of the year crown (ZDNet)
- Here are the 3 most in-demand coding languages, and where you can find a developer job (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.