Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2021
A lot of people want to start learning to code, so the obvious first question is, “which language should I learn?” The number of programming languages is ever-increasing, but fortunately there’s only a few big contenders you should pay attention to if you’re just starting out in 2021. Which programming language you should start learning depends on a few important factors. First and most important is what do you want to build? Secondly, how popular is the language in question? And thirdly, how beginner-friendly is the language? The fortunate thing is that you really can’t ever go too wrong, because a lot of skills learned in one programming language will transfer over to others, and it’s common for professional software engineers to regularly pick up new languages over their careers.
Best overall language: Python
To skip right to the chase, if you’re not sure what you want to build yet, or if you just want to get started with programming in general, Python is hands-down the best choice. It’s one of the most popular languages among programmers in industry, and powers the services of big-name companies like Google and Dropbox and many many others. Python is also very popular among academics and data scientists. If you want to do number crunching Python has excellent libraries like numpy and scipy for math and science. Its popularity means that it also has a great community and very solid, industry-standard libraries for almost anything you may want to work on. Python also has an intuitive, readable syntax and is quick and easy to get started with, as well as tons of greatonlinecourses. It’s hard to go wrong with Python!
Sadly, if your goal is to build a mobile app there’s less of a clear-cut winner in terms of programming language choice. You can build a native app for Android and iOS individually, but that’s a ton of work and is a maintenance nightmare, especially for a solo developer. There are also frameworks that can help you write a single app that runs on both iOS and Android, although these may be less performant than writing a native app from scratch, and you may sometimes have bugs that require knowledge of native iOS or Android code.
Dive in and get started!
No matter which programming language you decide to learn first, there’s really no way to go wrong. If you start learning a language then decide you should switch to something different, you’ll already have lots of understanding that will make picking up that new language much easier. Furthermore, having experience in multiple programming languages can help you see problems from multiple angles. No matter what you choose, there’s lots of great free resources online, so if you’re serious about learning and put in consistent effort you’ll find that learning programming can be a joy!