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15 programming languages to learn in 2015

At the end of each year, it is a tradition for many millions if not billions of people to make a list of things that they resolve to do better in the coming year. In a similar spirit, we are going to list out 15 programming languages that we believe everybody must know in 2015 to stay relevant. However, unlike the tendency for most people to not follow up on their new year’s resolutions, we hope that you, dear reader, will make a serious effort to learn at least some if not all the languages on this list. After all, whether you are an experienced programmer or not, knowledge of these languages will definitely help you stay ahead of the curve. Without further ado, here is our list:

1.JAVA: Not to be confused with coffee or an Indonesian island, Java has been the mainstay of the programmer’s repertoire for many years now and will continue to be so especially due to the advent of the Android Operating System. Additionally, Java is ubiquitous and used EVERYWHERE: from your phones, and appliances such as TVs, washing machines to pretty much any electronic device. Also, Java is quite easy to learn and there are plenty of online resources available as support.

2. C: An oldie but a goodie. C has been around for seemingly forever, and is still very much in demand. Easy to learn and implement, it is usually the first language that people learn when they start learning programming. Due to its longevity, there is a lot of source code available. Furthermore, the support community around C is very strong and there are a lot of tutorials available. Many languages developed later have their roots in the C language: C++, Java, PHP, Python to name a few. So, it can be said that C is the lingua franca of programming.

3. Javascript: Javascript is a dynamic computer programming language is THE language of the web. Most commonly used as part of web browsers, Javascript is a scripting language with dynamic typing and first class functions. It has a variety of features supporting a myriad of programming styles. It is very easy to learn since there is nothing to install or complex runtime environments to configure. It has a tremendous support community built around it and can run in any browser.

4. C++: A general purpose programming language derived from C but combined with object oriented features, it is the language of choice for building many operating systems. It is extremely powerful and versatile, and is very useful for writing code that will directly interact with low level hardware. If you need to eke out every bit of performance possible out of your machine, and you need to support OO abstractions, then C++ is the right choice for you.

5. PHP: PHP is a recursive acronym standing for PHP hypertext pre-processor. The most widely used server side scripting language for making dynamic web sites, it is easy to learn, and best of all, open source! Like many of the languages in our list, there is a tremendous amount of online support available. If you are looking for a career in web development, then you absolutely must know PHP!

6. C#: A hybrid of C and C++, it is a programming language developed by Microsoft to compete with Java. It is general purpose, and is object oriented. It supports a variety of programming styles, and is easy to learn and deploy. According to Microsoft, “C# is an elegant and type-safe object-oriented language that enables developers to build a variety of secure and robust applications.”

7. Python: It is a general purpose, high-level programming language that is object orientated. Very easy to use and to implement, its popularity is growing at an exponential rate. Python, named after the British comedy group Monty Python, was designed to be easy on the layman’s eye, and this is perhaps because it requires fewer lines of code to complete basic tasks as compared to C++ or Java. Furthermore, its readability serves as a segway into learning other, more cryptic languages. Learning Python can be financially rewarding as well: Python developers are among the most in-demand tech workers.

8. Ruby: A pink to a blood-red gemstone, rubies are much coveted by…wait, we were talking about programming languages and not minerals, so let us start over. Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, object oriented language that supports multiple programming paradigms. Developed in the late 90s, interest in Ruby soared with the development of a web application framework written in Ruby, known as Ruby on Rails. A high-level programming language, the syntax of Ruby is similar to that of Perl and Python. Easy to learn, it has a huge and useful ecosystem with a large online community.

9. SQL: SQL, or structured query language, is a special purpose language designed to communicate with a relational database. Unlike the other languages in our list, SQL is totally focused on retrieving data. For every person working in a digital business, the ability to retrieve and manipulate data is paramount, and so, knowledge of SQL is a must. SQL is THE lingua franca of data, and is very well documented since it has been around for about 25 years. SQL is not useful for mere developers; it is an extremely useful tool for marketers who need to leverage the power of data to improve their marketing efforts.

10. Perl: A general purpose programming language originally developed for manipulating text, it is now used for a wide range of tasks including system administration, web development, graphics programming, network programming etc. Perceived as inelegant, it is often referred to as “the duct tape that holds the internet together.” Perl is open source, and can serve as a stepping stone to learning other languages such as Python, Ruby, PHP, Java etc. There is an online community built around Perl, and contrary to popular belief, Perl is very much alive and kicking today.

11. MATLAB: Matlab, or matrix laboratory, is a multi-paradigm high-level technical computing language used for algorithm development, data manipulation and visualization, numerical computation. Widely used by academic and research institutions, MATLAB can interface with other languages such as C, Perl and Java. Since its basic data element is a matrix, it is very useful for many engineering applications.

12. R: R is an open source programming language used for statistical computing, machine learning and graphics. R’s popularity is growing substantially in recent years and it has emerged as the single most popular language used by data miners and the like. Statisticians and corporate data analysts generally know R and use it in their daily work. Easy to learn, and even praised by media outlets, it has a thriving global community of uses, developers and contributors.

13. Objective C: A general purpose, objective-oriented programming language, it is the main language used by Apple for the OS X and iOS operating systems. Objective C is a superset of C and as such, you can freely include C code in any Objective-C class. If you want to be an iOS developer, you must know objective C. Since Objective C is a relatively simple extension to C, and C is very easy to learn, it follows that you can pick Objective C up quite easily if you know C!

14. Scala: An acronym for Scalable Language, Scala is an object functional programming language used for general software applications. Scala runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and so Java and Scala stacks can be integrated seamlessly. As its name suggests, it is scalable, and as such, can be relied on for large mission critical systems. Companies such Twitter, Linkedin and Intel rely on Scala to deliver their deliverables.

15. Groovy: It is an object oriented programming language for the Java Platform that is dynamic and optionally typed. Its features are similar to those of Python, Ruby, Perl and it builds upon strengths of Java but has additional features. It is very easy to learn since it is quite syntactically similar to Java; in fact most Java code is syntactically valid Groovy.

So, there we have it. These are our picks for the top 15 languages that you must know in 2015. Agree with our list? Is there something you wish to change or suggest? We would love to hear it! Write your comments below.


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Bharat Ramakrishna

Blogger. Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.