Steve Jobs says that everyone should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think. Coding language is basically a language in which you control, speak or communicate with your computer. A “code” is another word for “computer language.” You’re in 2020 so this tool is quite handy when it comes to your career.
Say if you want to become a software engineer or an app developer or you’re simply interested to learn coding. What’s our starting point? It’s right here.
Basically almost everything runs on codes. Your computer or phone or the apps in it don’t know how to read your mind (at least yet). They run on codes designed by programmers. And they are not written in English. There are various coding languages like Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, C and the list goes on.
So all those video games you keep playing all day, your favorite apps that you keep scrolling or working on your computer doing something as basic as clicking on your mouse works on codes. Quite cool, right! The basic purpose of coding language is to transmit what you’re trying to communicate to your computer in machine language.
There’s a lot of coding languages out there. So if you’re here to learn, first you need to choose which one you want to go ahead with. Coding language ranges from complex, numerical to largely technical or even some that almost resemble English. Ask yourself this: what kind of job you’re looking for. We can guide you to which coding language you should choose to learn once you know the answer to this question.
Before dealing with the different coding languages, first let’s sort something out.
Why learn coding languages?
We mentioned that it’s like an ace up your sleeve when it comes to career options. Why is that?
Firstly, Tech and information-related industries are one of the fastest-growing industries in the US. So with additional qualities like learning coding languages, you are more likely to get a job. There are more job openings in this sector and employers need people with coding skills. But it doesn’t end there.
A lot of programming openings are outside of the technology industry. These include healthcare, finance, manufacturing etc. If you have an interest in the field you can use your newly acquired skill to go for software or app development. But if it’s just an additional skill to you, you can become a software development manager which is also one of the most high-paying jobs in the world.
Also if you’re not happy with the subject you’re doing your major in; don’t worry because studies show that nearly half of developers don’t have a computer science degree. Other sources say that around 60% of people end up getting a job in something that has nothing to do with their major at all.
You must also know that technology is crucial to keep the world up and running. All these Social media platforms, websites, and a lot of other things that make your life easier were built by codes. Also, you have the added benefit of saying goodbye to your 9-5 job or sometimes even work remotely if you’re in this field.
Well, that is the list of why you should learn coding languages. If you’re motivated enough, let’s get going.
Which Coding Languages Should You Learn And Why?
There are hundreds of coding languages out there. But you need not concern yourself with those. There are only a handful of them that are used for commercial purposes. You need to target those because it may benefit you in the future.
That said, let’s get cracking into the list of 15 coding languages we think are the most useful.
HTML And CSS
The first thing to keep in mind when you’re dealing with HTML & CSS is that they are not programming languages. They are computer languages. And there’s a clear distinction between the two. We tend to use them interchangeably but programming languages is a subset of computer language. As the name suggests, programming languages program a computer to do a certain task.
But even though these two are computer languages, it’s quite beneficial. Knowing HTML and CSS are imperative for web developers and designers. If you’re interested in the field, learning HTML or CSS is a great place to start.
Both these go hand-in-hand. HTML is the single ingredient you need to create a website. It instructs your browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc) what to do at each step. Basically, if your browser can tell the difference between a headline and a paragraph, it’s because of the HTML tag.
HTML is not numerical or anything complex. You write an HTML tag like a normal text in English. Now, HTML classifies and identifies each part of your webpage.
And CSS makes it pretty. In other words, it is responsible for how the page looks. Let’s show you how it works. For example, HTML<p> tells your browser to make paragraphs. Now if you want your paragraphs to be bold and pink, you can add a CSS like this.
You write a CSS code in a text editor using a .css suffix instead of .html. While HTML gives you the basic framework, determines the work of each element on the page, with CSS, you can style your page any way you want to with borders, colors, spacing, fonts, layouts and so on.
Social media marketers to web designers are jobs that require this specific skill.
All the above languages are “frontend” languages which means they are visible. You can see their function. You create a webpage by defining the purpose of each element on the page using HTML. When you stylize your webpage using CSS or slide down the drop-down menu, you can see what function these computer languages perform. You can interact with your browser using these languages and you can see them performing accordingly.
Frontend languages mean exactly that. The interaction you have with your computer is right in front of you. But that’s not the end. There’s a lot more to programming. Consider an iceberg. Now your website is just the tip. You have a load of material under the sea which is not visible. These behind-the-scenes actions are called “Backend programming.”
The following languages are used for backend programming.
If you’re all about data, Python is your go-to coding language. Python is the world’s fastest-growing programming language and also the most popular one. It has proven to be beneficial for not only software engineers but mathematicians, data analysts, scientists, Network engineers or accountants. It draws youngsters as well because it’s a very beginner-friendly coding language.
People from different disciplines use python for a variety of different tasks like data analysis and visualization, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation and so on.
An interesting fact is that YouTube was written in Python.
You can automate a lot of daily tasks using Python or even let a Python script handle all your heavy data. So you need not be a developer to know Python.
Developed in 1969 by Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, Cobol remains a popular coding language in today’s world. Deon Newman, IBM Vice President mentioned that around 23 of the top 25 retailers, 92 of the top 100 banks and around 10 of the largest insurers still rely on Cobol.
Most new developers do not go for Cobol to develop their software. But it’s almost as if there’s so much Cobol code out there, people learning coding from scratch can go for this programming language as it’ll give them an edge to get into the top offices which have used Cobol for a long time.
This language also originated in 1969. It was born at Bell Labs. This was originally based on another language called B. However, C gained more popularity in the world of coding. Some even consider it the most popular programming language ever to be created. You might be familiar with this because it’s still taught as a subject in schools.
Codes written in C can function across different operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac etc.
It’s also a low-level language as it bears a lot of similarities with machine language. You can make computer hardware communicate using C language. An example of this can surely blow your mind. Think of the time you insert a CD into your disk drive and the computer reads the function.
Java is a high-level language that is easy to read and understand. You can write once and use/run the code anywhere. That’s basically the Java motto. It allows you to move codes to different operating systems or platforms without any customization. So if you’ve created an app for a PC and you want to move it to a mobile, you can easily do it with the help of Java.
Why ++? It means, take C and add one. In other words, C++ is one better than C. That’s what Bjarne Stroustrup meant when he said C++ is a better and more coherent language than the earlier versions of C++.
If you’re planning to start with C++, it’s important to know that you need not have any programming experience to get started with C++. This language is in fact, very fast, commonly used and easy to learn for beginners.
This object-oriented programming language is more efficient in organizing information than its previous version, C. Because of this efficiency you can use C++ in complex programs like Windows. However, while doing so, C++ wastes a lot of memory.
It’s a C coding language again. C was an important language so it’s no wonder that it has so many offshoots. However, this language is a bit different than C. This may be a bit difficult to learn but once you’ve got the hang of it, sources suggest that it offers a faster and better development process than the other versions of C. It’s best for web developers and Windows-based servers.
If you’ve had enough of numerical and abstract coding languages, then you can go for Ruby. This programming language was created with the belief that software programming language or simply computer language should be more similar to human language. You’ll know it’s a Ruby code when you see it. It was created back in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto to make the process of coding a lot easier and more comprehensible by laymen. Currently, it’s in huge demand as it powers social media sites like Twitter and Hulu.
Other programming languages:
I’m sure you’ve heard of WordPress. It accounts for almost 20% of all the websites in the world. Now, the interesting fact is, PHP was used to write WordPress. It’s mostly used for coding on the Web as it’s the first language to be developed for coding on the web.
When you open your browser and ask it to open a page for you. That’s when PHP is doing its job. It comes preinstalled unlike other web servers. If you’ve ever gone for installation, you’ll know how that’s a selling point.
If we break it down in simple terms, this is what it is. Say you’ve built a website so your address is your URL. But that is not where all your data lives. Now if you make a post from that address, you send all the text to your address database. After this, every time you open that page, SQL retrieves the text from your database and when you close it, it puts it back. This is the primary function of SQL.
It’s pretty structured as the name suggests (SQL= Structured Query Language). So people prefer not to use it. Apps like Facebook and Twitter use a combination of SQL and Cassandra. So if you’re learning coding from scratch, there’s no harm in going for more than one.
Objective-C is mostly like other C languages but more object-oriented. It’s like Objective-C has an expansion pack. This coding language was created in 1983 but recent developments have made this more popular now. It powers iPhone apps and OSX. It’s also derived from a programming language called Smalltalk. So if you want to get a hang of iPhone app development process, you can start off with Objective-C and then move on to Apple’s new programming language: Swift.
This is a coding language used specifically in Apple’s OSX and iOS. So you can use it for both Mac and iPhone Apps. It’s one of the most recent coding languages developed by Chris Lattner in 2010. It’s heavily based on Objective-C but with several additional improvements. As it’s new, there’s a lot of polishing required. There have been reports of quirks and abnormalities shown by Swift. But you want to work your way into the Apple world, Swift is what you use.
If heavy data or big numbers appeal to you, you can learn R programming. It’s not very user-friendly and it’s quite complex. But academics go for this coding language as it’s useful when you have to work with a lot of data as it’s specifically designed like that.
So if you’ve never learnt coding, then this is the time to dig into it and learn some interesting coding languages that’ll give you a huge push in your career.