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Top 10 best programming languages in 2021

Franklin Izuchukwu
By Franklin Izuchukwu
A programming workstation.

The world of Tech and I.C.T has brought about technological evolution and the provision of products and services that aid humans today. Programming languages are the foundations of everything technology.

While discussing the top 10 best programming languages to learn, their ecosystem and real-world applications, we wish to create guidelines for those who wish to pursue a career in the software field.

Computer programming and web development are top-notch careers in this era because of their high demands, usefulness. The world is going into a full-blown digitalization.

This article highlights:

  1. the basic concept of software programming or programming languages
  2. The top 10 best programming languages today
  3. The uses and applications of the top 10 best programming languages
  4. The salaries scale and job opportunities associated with these languages

What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a computer program used to solve problems. They are commands, algorithms or instructions given to a computer to carry out certain computer operations.

Going into the field of software programming is an outstanding stride. Software development is very vast, and there are different types of programming languages associated with each niche in software programming.

To better understand the concept of programming languages, we liken Software development to a university, where the various fields in Software development such as cloud computing, web development, and blockchain technologies are the faculties or departments of the university.

And in turn, the Programming languages are the courses in these various departments. To survive in a particular software development field, one could be required to learn two or more programming languages.

A good example is Android developers. While Java or Kotlin is the major programming language to learn to develop android applications, android developers are expected to learn the syntax of XML.

There are many programming languages to learn; keep reading to get the general concept and make a choice.

10 Best programming languages to learn

Not all software programming jobs are the same; unique requirements and skills are needed based on their niche.

While it is okay to learn and master just one programming language, it is terrific to learn multiple programming languages to widen your area of expertise and make you more useful and adaptable in your workplace.

This list of the top 10 best programming languages is compiled considering the demand level of each language, its real-world applications, salary rates, and how easy it is to learn.

1. Python

Python is one of the most commonly used programming languages. Python is an elegant and easy-to-learn higher-level programming language with a very expressive syntax.

Python has varying levels of application in machine learning and artificial intelligence projects, web server-side scripting, data analysis, mobile and desktop applications, embedded programs and many others.

Among the top tech companies using Python today include Google, Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Instagram, Spotify, etc. Python has a vast amount of ready to use libraries that makes development in Python easy and fast.

In 2016, Instagram's engineering team wrote a piece on the efficiency of Python and how the company features the world's largest deployment of Django framework. Django framework is a server-side scripting framework written completely in Python and used to power server-side web applications.

Python developers are among the highest-paid developers in the world. In 2021, the average salary of a python developer in the United States is $98,838/yr, according to Glassdoor reports, ranging from $65k to $142k.

2. JavaScript

When it comes to interactive websites, Javascript tops the list. Virtually everyone is using Javascript to build web applications, making Javascript the programming language of the web.

Node.js, JavaScript on the server, is a server-side scripting language used to power web applications and is available in all major cloud hosting services today, including AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean and the likes.

JavaScript is also used to develop mobile and desktop applications. React Native, Cordova, and Ionic are good examples of JavaScript frameworks for developing mobile and desktop applications.

For the past 8 years, JavaScript has maintained its position as the most commonly used programming language on the web. Javascript in combination with HTML and CSS are majorly used in front-end web developments.

According to Douglas Crockford, a top American computer programmer that developed JSLint, "JavaScript, there is a beautiful, elegant, highly expressive language that is buried under a steaming pile of good intentions and blunders".

Elon musk's SpaceX, in its recent launch of Dragon 2 Flight, used a technology based on Javascript and Chromium to the surprise of the dev community.

JavaScript developers are among the highest-paid developers in the world. In 2021, the average salary of a javascript developer in the United States is $91,389/yr, according to Glassdoor reports, ranging from $55k to $152k.

3. C#

C# is the 3rd best programming language to learn. C# is a general-purpose programming language developed by Microsoft. The correct pronunciation of C# is C Sharp.

C# was first released in 2001 and has been integrated into Microsoft’s .NET software framework. The duo is now used to develop cross-platform mobile and desktop applications, including browser plugins.

C# programming language is the go-to language for developing virtual reality applications and games. Microsoft, Metroplus.org and Citi.com are among the top companies using the C# programming language today.

C# designer Torgersen believes that the popularity of the C# programming language largely boils down to its tendency to embrace new features quickly.

C#.net developers are among the highest-paid developers. In 2021, the average salary of a C#.net developer in the United States is $81,368/yr, according to Glassdoor reports, ranging from $59k to $110k.

4. Kotlin

Kotlin is a general-purpose, high-level programming language that is backwards compatible with Java. Kotlin is the 5th best programming language to learn.

Kotlin is cross-platform, and it is supported and developed by JetBrains. The first version of Kotlin was released in 2016. The idea behind Kotlin was to create a programming language better than Java. Kotlin fully inter-operates with Java.

According to information on the android website, over 60% of professional android developers use Kotlin because of its productivity, developer satisfaction and code safety.

Evernote, Corda and Coursera Migrated from Java to the Kotin programming language following Google's announcement in its I/O 2017 Developer Conference.

Furthermore, Kotlin boasts of powering many production mobile applications, including Slack, Reddit, Dropbox, Adobe, etc. the demand for Kotlin developers has been increasing since its launch in 2016, and it is expected to continue.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a Kotlin developer in 2021 in the United States is $136,575/yr ranging from an $83.5k low to a $171.5k high.

5. C++

There are many programming languages to learn, but C++ ranks 4th on the top 10 best programming languages to learn. C++ is popularly known as an extension of the C programming language and is among the oldest scripting languages to date.

C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1983. It is often said that C/C++ is the bread and margarine of programming because most low-level systems are written in C/C++.

The stability and fastness associated with C++ have made it a favourite programming language for memory and performance-intensive projects.

C++ is also used in the field of mathematical simulations, graphic compilers and advanced computations. Major tech companies and Government bodies like LinkedIn, Microsoft, Opera and NASA have adopted the C++programming language as part of their ecosystem.

The C++ programming language is among the top programming languages on TIOBE's Index for June 2021; it received a rating of 7.36%.

According to Glassdoor, a top job review site in the United States, the average salary of a C++ developer in 2021 in the United States is $89,753/yr ranging from a $53k low to a $151k high.

6. Swift

Swift is an open-source programming language that targets Apple's systems. Apple developed Swift in July 2010 as a replacement and an upgrade to Objective C.

Software developers who wish to specialize in developing iOS applications are encouraged to Swift as it is the programming language for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS devices.

Apple poses a competitive platform to the android community; thus, there is a high demand for talented software programmers that develop in the Swift programming language.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a Swift developer in the United States in 2021 is $84,423/yr, ranging from a $59.6k low to a $105k high.

7. R

The R programming language is a high-level programming language that is quite intuitive to learn. The R programming language has extensive usage in data analytics programs and has applications in machine learning.

On August 23, 2017, Richard Bion of Airbnb published an article on how R has helped Airbnb make the most of its data. It says:

"Airbnb’s data science team relies on R every day to make sense of our data. While many of our teammates use Python, R is the most commonly used tool for data analysis at Airbnb".

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an R developer in the United States in 2021 is $111,094/yr, ranging from a $73k low to a $170k high.

8. Dart

Dart is a high-level cross-platform programming language that is optimized for UI. Being cross-platform, Dart can be used to develop web, android, ios and windows applications.

Google developed Dart in 2011. The Dart programming language was designed as an alternative to JavaScript. The web or mobile app of Google Ads was built on the Dart programming language.

Flutter, Google's UI toolkit for building cross-platform natively compiled applications for mobile, desktop and embedded devices, is written in Dart. Flutter powers Google's own mobile Ads applications.

According to Google, over a thousand engineers are using Dart and Flutter to build applications. According to Glassdoor, Dart programmers earn on average $73,110/yr in 2021, ranging from a $32k low to an impressive $170k high.

9. Java

Java is 9th on the list of the top 10 best programming languages to learn. Java is one of the most in-demand and commonly used programming languages.

Java was designed by James Gosling but is currently owned by the software company Oracle. Contrary to what many think, Java is not just for Android development; It is used as a server-side scripting language, powering many web applications today.

In a press release on March 16, 2021, Oracle announced that the 16th version of Java would feature several updates that will fine-tune services provided by the Java programming language.

Notable companies like Square, Deutsche Bank and Anaplan are among the major adopters of the Java programming language.

According to data from Indeed, the average salary of a senior Java developer in the United States in 2021 is $102340/yr.

10. C

Elon Musk shares his opinion about the C programming language.

C is a general-purpose but procedural language founded around 1972 by Dennis Ritchie. C is an old programming language, one of the core programming languages that still find existence in today's market.

Many other programming languages sprout out of C, such as PHP, C++ and others. C is an old programming language, and it is usually applied in hardware used on cars and medical devices used in hospitals.

Developers who specialize in C programming language earn an average of $100,110 per year.

There are many programming languages to learn, but the above serves as a general overview for people interested in software development.

As a newbie in software programming, you can start learning software development by taking tutorial classes on any of the languages mentioned.