So, What is the Best Programming Language? How Many Should I Learn?

A question that’s often asked is how many programming languages should I learn to have a successful career as a programmer?

Take it from an IBM executive, who recently said:

If you’re going to be an engineer in the future, you have to learn multiple languages.

This has never been more true than it is in today! The top programmers, who will get the best jobs and will have the best career prospects, are the ones who are adaptable, and well-versed in a number of programming languages.

New coding languages emerge every year to address new problems that need to be solved. Just as there are hammers, screwdrivers, sanders, and an array of other tools for different tasks, there are different programming languages to get the job done.

For example, C++ is the best language for making video games and gives you a great deal of granular control, while Python is ideal for compiling and computing large amounts of data and analytics and works superbly for building servers.

When you know more than one coding language, you will be able to easily take care of any coding job that is offered to you (if you are a freelancer) or that your employer wants you to do (if you are employed by a coding company). Your career prospects are also much stronger, brighter, and secure if you are an expert at more than one coding language.

The Coding Environment Has Changed

In the early days of computing, areas of specialization in the digital world were very clear, and you could make a very nice career for yourself using one coding language to do all of your company’s projects. There were only a few coding languages just a few decades ago, so specialization was compatible with a thriving career.

The computer world is changing at a rapid pace, so one language won’t do the job, even at the same company. For instance, Facebook.com’s front-end uses JavaScript, the back-end uses Hack, PHP, C++, Java, Python, Erlang, D, Xhp, and the database is built using MySQL and HBase.

New languages are even being created all the time, as new needs are developed in the computer industry. When a company wants to do something that has never been done before, which is something that happens pretty often these days, the development of a new coding language to perform the task is required. Expert coders know not only how to read and program in more than one language, they also know how to create them for new and unique projects as needed.

If you have the proper education, you will be able to do these things and your career prospects are even stronger and more powerful than ever.

The Importance of Learning New Coding Languages

A good rule of thumb for most programmers is to learn as many coding languages as you can during your initial education, then learn one new one a year thereafter.

With new coding languages being invented all the time, you should always have something to learn, and your skill base and employability will increase. You will basically have a bigger toolbox to offer potential employers (or clients, if you work as a freelancer). You will always have the right tool to perform the right task, without needing someone to walk you through it or get additional training, which can put a project behind schedule, or cause an employer to have to hire a new person for the project (which can be a burden on the budget).

You Should Be Learning Old Coding Languages, Too

It’s wise to learn old programming languages as well as the new and developing ones.

For example, Cobol is one of the oldest coding languages around. It was invented in 1969, long before the Internet, or even personal computers. Believe it or not, it is still used in a lot of things, such as programming traffic lights and the electronics at airports. Anyone who knows Cobol is a desirable employee for a municipal government.

Yet, many modern programmers opt out of learning Cobol because they think it’s outdated and not used very often. They could not be more wrong. Because so many modern programmers choose to forego learning Cobol, that makes anyone who knows it very desirable in a lot of different jobs where it is still used, and may even be the main coding language used.

So, by learning older coding languages like this, you are opening yourself up to a wide variety of career opportunities, even more than more experienced coders, because you know a language they don’t, and many employers still use this language.

Enhance Your Career With Each Coding Language You Learn

The bottom line is that if you are going to be a programmer, you need to know how to work with as many programming languages as possible.

Each language you learn makes you more desirable of an employee or freelancer. Become fluent in these languages, and the more you learn, the more career doors will open to you. Soon, you will know enough languages to discover the whole coding industry is your oyster and you can pick and choose the best paying jobs with the most popular employers. You can basically write your own ticket to career success when you know a large number of both old and new programming languages!

When you learn a new coding language, you see what problems it is solving and how it is solving them. This makes it easier for you to develop new coding languages as they become necessary for new and innovative projects. Make yourself a star in the coding industry and have the best employers coming to you. Get an excellent coding education by learning as many coding languages as you can, and then keep learning new ones on your own.

If you’re interested in learning 3 full-stacks in 12 weeks you can apply to Coding Dojo’s onsite program in LA, Seattle and Silicon Valley.

 

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4 thoughts on “So, What is the Best Programming Language? How Many Should I Learn?

  1. As a software developer i know IT world is itself quite dynamic. With new and upcoming changes in computer programming languages, frameworks and technologies language trends are ever changing. We developers must remain with updated changes. So i was looking to learn some languages which will be beneficial for me future.Thank You.

  2. Wow! Great article.
    But what if you want to create a personal assistance like J.A.R.V.I.S per say? what program language are the best to learn ? And specially if in the future I want to be an inventor?

  3. Learn four or five it will give you a good grasp of how computer science and programming works. Then concentrate in getting expert in one or two, not losing sight of others.

  4. Didn’t someone say – “So little time so many books”

    I guess its true for now learning programming as well. Its probably never enough time to learn them and its never enough knowledge.

    There are several dozen programming languages – java, c, c++, javascript, python, ruby to name a few.

    There are a few dozen programming books – http://www.fromdev.com/2015/01/computer-programming-books.html

    Every day there is new tool or technique is born. We can not keep chasing so many languages.

    I guess knowing one language in depth is more important – than on know overview of other languages. It will help.

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