Gmail, Zoom, Spotify, Pinterest, and more— you and millions of other people use such platforms daily, but have you ever stopped to think about how they were constructed? Well, the answer lies with the talented professionals who work in software programming.
Software programming is currently among the most sought-after careers. According to reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to show a 22% growth. As you can imagine, there are plenty of career paths and job positions that one can choose in the software programming field. And, as is the case with all other jobs, each role requires a specific set of skills to fulfill the responsibilities that come with the position. Among the most fundamental skills is the professional knowledge of programming languages— a topic that we will discuss in more length throughout this article. From Python to SQL, let’s try and understand programming language popularity and its broad range of applications in today’s technological world.
What Is a Programming Language?
Similar to how we use different languages to communicate with people, programming languages are the ones that enable programmers to communicate with computers and other devices. To best understand what programming languages are, we must first apprehend the meaning of computing programs. So, a program is defined as a sequence of symbols that computers can interpret. On the other hand, the set of rules that determine the order of characters to constitute a program is referred to as a programming language. These languages are more than just tools; they provide the raw software material and enable us to look at things on our computer, phone, or other device’s screen.
Programs and programming languages can be defined as formal mathematical objects, although they are typically used to direct the performance of computers. Programming languages can be considered an abstraction mechanism that facilitates programmers to establish a computation abstractly and execute such specifications in the necessary structure for implementation on a computer.
Top Programming Languages for Developers
Anyone who can write proper software in any language is a good programmer, but not every good programmer has to know how to work with all languages. Some programming languages are more suitable for web development, another one for artificial intelligence, hacking, etc. Often, a jack of all trades is a master of none, so if you are set on a career path, it is best to focus on the languages relevant to that field and your responsibilities. Below, we will go through some of the most popular programming languages and their application.
Python is an open-source and general-purpose programming language that is widely considered easy to comprehend because of its simple tools, syntax, and how it can be integrated with various other languages. This language is popular among data scientists, AI professionals, and other developers. One of the most significant settings that use Python is Instagram, serving around 800 million monthly active users.
According to recent data, the median salary for a Python Programmer in the United States is $115,066 per year. Among the top roles related to this programming language are:
- Python Architect
- Python Quant
- Senior Software Engineer Python
- Software Engineer Python Django
- Full Stack Developer Python
Java is a modern programming language that blends a sleek language design with powerful features and software libraries that include network, database, and GUI programming. With the Java programming language, every computing program works via determining one or more user-defined data types through class constructs.
In the United States, the average annual salary for Java Developers is $105,801 per year, with the top roles being the following:
- JAVA Swing Developer
- Technical Lead JAVA
- JAVA Microservices Developer
- JAVA Team Lead
- Sap JAVA Developer
C++ is an extension of the C programming language and functions well for developing systems that handle various applications, multi-devices, and other platform systems. It is one of the more intricate languages with complex syntax and a mixture of tools and features. This type is widely applied in simulations, games, and other systems.
The average pay for C++ Developers in the United States is $103,704 per year. Some of the main positions that center around the C++ language programming are:
- C++ Analyst
- C++ Programming Architect
- C++ Software Engineer
- C++ Game Developer
- Senior C++ Developer
C#, pronounced as C sharp, is a Microsoft-developed general-purpose programming language that is one of C’s fastest and most secure variants. This type of language is widely considered relatively easy to start using for developing various desktop and web applications.
According to recent data, in the United States, the average annual salary for a C# Net Developer is $112,952 per year. Furthermore, some of the highest paying positions related to such language programming are:
- Senior Asp Net Developer
- Dot Net Architect
- Net Technical Lead
- Net Architect
- Dot Net Lead
PHP, standing for Hypertext Preprocessor, is another general-purpose language that aims to enable programmers to work with web development. Although the primary use relates to the web context, many other programming tasks, applications, control systems, and command lines are created through PHP. Furthermore, you can use this language to extract data from databases and web servers presented on web pages.
In the United States, the median salary for PHP Developers is $86,003 per year. The following roles are widely considered as the top PHP developer positions:
- Lead PHP Developer
- YII Framework
- ZEND Framework Developer
- PHP Architect
- PHP Developers
HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is another programming language widely used for web browsers to develop pages on the online world and web. This language is easy to understand and operate through its syntax and tools. Fundamentally, HTML represents a sequence of codes typed into a text file which is then saved as an HTML file read, translated, and viewed through web browsers.
Reports show that the average annual salary for an HTML Developers in the United States is $94,491 per year. The top positions utilizing HTML developers are the following:
- Web Methods Developer
- Python Web Developer
- Locum Tenens Front End Web Developer
- Senior Web Engineer
- Senior Web Applications Developer
Sponsored by Google and used as one of the official languages for Android Development, Kotlin is a more recent language for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This general-purpose programming language can be fully interoperable with Java code and other JVM programming languages. Due to its many similarities with Java, those who work with JVM programming can quickly adapt to the Kotlin one.
According to data, the average annual pay for a Kotlin Developer in the United States is $136,575 per year. Jobs associated with Kotlin developers are the following:
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- Lead Android Developer
- Contract Android Developer
- Kotlin Backend
- Kotlin Developer
- Native Android Developer
R is heavily used in various applications, including statistical analysis, machine learning, and data science, as an open-source statistical programming language. Programmers can use R in many operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Unix. Frequently, R is regarded as more than a programming language. Due to its loops, recursive functions, conditionals, input and output facilities, many professionals refer to it as software that incorporates language and runtime environment.
The estimated average salary for an R Developer in the United States is around $130,327 each year. Some of the most popular and high paid positions that utilize R language are:
- Programmer Developer
- R Programmer
- R Engineering
- R Data Visualisation
- R Programming Statistical Computing
Go is an open-source and procedural programming language designed by Google. Often referred to as Golang, this programming language uses various packages to efficiently manage dependencies, whether libraries or pieces of code subordinate to other parts of the code. Go language aims to merge the ease of dynamically typed languages with the security of statistically typed languages.
The average annual salary of Go Developers in the United States is $110,456 per year, although other positions related to this language can earn even more, such as:
- Go Programmer Operator
- Go Software Engineer
- Go-To-Market Program Manager
- Principal Golang Engineer
- Principal Cloud Engineer
Swift is a programming language developed by Apple for operating systems, including smartphone and desktop platforms. It also contains excellent tools that make creating Apple-oriented mobile apps incredibly easy as well as macOS applications, watchOS, and tvOS. Continuously evolving, Swift language has already gone through many version changes, primarily made to the syntax, library, and features included, to make it an easily understandable tool for professionals.
The latest data shows that the average salary for a Swift Developer in the United States is around $110,768 per year. Some of the top job roles associated with the Swift programming language are:
- Swift IOS Developer
- Objective Developer
- App Developer
- Swift Navigation
- Swift Comply
The Structured Query Language, often referred to as SQL, is a universal programming language with techniques utilized in numerous disciplines. It is used to develop and maintain data gathered from complementary databases such as MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, etc. A considerable advantage of SQL is its flexibility, quick, and powerful tools that enable it to achieve anything related to databases.
Stats show that the average salary for an SQL Developer in the United States is $93,438 a year. Some job roles that often pay even more are the following:
- SQL Server Architect
- Senior Oracle PL SQL Developer
- SQL Architect
- SQL Consultant
- JAVA PL SQL Developer
Last, although certainly not least, we have NoSQL. This programming language is one of the two SQL alternatives used to communicate with databases. As the name suggests, NoSQL is used to work with NoSQL databases. Some of the NoSQL databases’ data structures are distinct from those used in other relational databases, which causes some operations to be quicker in NoSQL, and are viewed as more flexible.
As another lucrative career path, the average annual salary for a NoSQL Developer in the United States is $119,105. In addition, some of the best job roles where NoSQL skills are utilized include:
- NoSQL DBA
- At Home SQL Developer
Object-Oriented vs. Functional Programming Languages
All programming languages aim to create bug-free codes and can be easily understandable by devices. However, there are still differences between the many languages used nowadays. Among the main paradigms of programming languages are functional programming languages and object-oriented programming languages, which differ based on their methods of storing and managing the data they operate with.
So, the main difference lies in the fact that in contrast to object-oriented programming, with functional programming languages, the programmer cannot store data in objects. Instead, the data is transformed through functions. Many of the previously mentioned programming languages are used in a functional style and others in an object-oriented manner. However, some languages, such as Python, have tools supporting both the functional and object-oriented programming language.
As you can see, many programming languages help achieve a similar goal. There is such a great variety of options when it comes to programming languages because different types of software and problems require, or better say, are more easily created and solved through specific languages. For example, web applications are mainly developed through PHP, whereas mobile ones through Swift or Kotlin. In contrast, programs for data analytics generally utilize R, and many industries that use automated devices prefer C language programming.
To build a career as a programmer, you don’t need to know all programming languages. You can master one, two, or a few and perform using them. Remember: work smarter, not harder.