What is the programming language most worth learning in 2016?

Marlon Mai October 31, 2016 5 mins read

In truth, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Most programming languages have their merits depending on the context in which they are being applied - as well as the preferences of the individual. A lot of the time we advise our candidates to focus on becoming experts in the programming language that they are most comfortable with, as the confidence derived from this is crucial when moving forwards with their careers.

According to GitHub, China has seen a rapid expansion in developers - a staggering 97% increase year-on-year. In such a rapidly expanding and fast paced sector it is vitally important that professionals keep themselves up to date on industry developments, as their future employment opportunities may be jeopardised if they fail to move with the trend

What is the programming language most worth learning in 2016?

GitHub’s list of countries with the highest ‘new user’ signup rates.

What is the programming language most worth learning in 2016?

Programming languages ranked by popularity [GitHub]

1) JavaScript

JavaScript’s popularity has significantly increased over the last few years and is particularly popular when it comes to setting up local language mobile applications (through the use of React Native). Although as you would expect from the language at the top of the list, JavaScript’s applications are limitless. From a recruitment point of view, front-end talents are short in supply compared to the significant demand brought on by the rapid expansion of the internet sector in 2015. Whilst 2016 has seen a slowdown in overall economic activity, front end JavaScript developer positions still represent a large percentage of roles being recruited in the sector.  

2) Java

Java’s appeal has been steady over the last few years, with many organisations preferring to use the language because of it’s reputation as a stable language with good expandability. The language of choice amongst Android developers, sound knowledge of Java is highly desired amongst employers - particularly those recruiting for frontend positions.

3) Python, Ruby & PHP

The languages occupying third place in the list are all dynamic languages. These languages are especially popular amongst beginners as they allow for quick, code light, application development - and have few mandatory rule restrictions.

Python allows users to write applications at both the desktop and server terminals and is great for data mining. In addition, Python is popular in the academic sector, utilised as a powerful data analysis and scientific calculation tool.

Ruby on Rails, a one stop web development framework, is a key reason for Ruby’s popularity amongst developers. Favoured mainly for back end development, organisations utilising the language include Airbnb, Shopify, Bloomberg, Hulu and slideshare.

PHP is a scripting language at the server terminal, it is generally regarded as a friendly language for beginners as it can be easily mastered. Many of the internet's most established websites were built using PHP, including Facebook and Wordpress.

The three languages remain popular amongst employers, although the demand is much more significant for Java and JavaScript, with many prioritising these languages in light of the economic downturn experienced in 2016.

4) C++

A member of the ‘c-based’ family, C++ is an incredibly powerful language used in a multitude of developer disciplines - from writing system software to developing games and mobile applications. Due to the language’s high performance and reliability, it is used to build software elements by some of the internet’s most recognised names, notably Facebook, Amazon, Paypal and Chrome.

Whilst the market for C++ developers isn’t as ubiquitous as that for the Java languages, there is concentrated pockets of recruitment demand in a number of sectors, particularly in the gaming sector.

Best of the rest and summary

Objective-C and Swift both receive honourable mentions due to their use with iOS development. Indeed, due to the sustained popularity of Apple’s products in the market, use at mobile terminal is also gradually increasing.

Overall however, it is worth remembering that trends in this space are frequently evolving and what is in today could be out tomorrow. Ultimately programming languages are problem solving tools and the best advice that we can give is to train your brain in the art of solving problems - regardless of the language. 

Marlon Mai's picture
Managing Director | Finance & Accounting, IT, Sales & Marketing Recruitment
mmai@morganmckinley.com

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