I often get asked - what are the best programming languages to learn for web and app development? With new languages, frameworks and technologies emerging rapidly, it can be tough to keep up and identify which skills are in highest demand.
In my 15+ years of experience building web and mobile apps, I've worked with a wide variety of programming languages. There are many great options, but some definitely stand out as the most versatile, powerful and in-demand by employers.
Here are the top 10 programming languages I recommend focusing on for web and app development in today's market:
Python is one of the most popular languages used by professional developers today. Here's why it's a great language to learn:
- Very beginner friendly syntax, yet powerful for advanced development
- Great for general purpose programming, web backends, data analysis, machine learning, and more
- Huge community support and pre-built libraries/frameworks like Django and Flask
Python is my personal favorite - I've used it for everything from simple scripting to large web apps handling millions of users. It's beginner friendly but also scales well for complex systems. The versatile syntax, vast ecosystem of packages and growing demand make Python a top choice for any new developer.
- Web and mobile apps (React Native)
- Server-side programming (Node.js)
- Game development
- App frameworks like Electron
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Java is arguably the most popular programming language in the world and has been for over 20 years. Here's why Java is fundamental for many app developers:
- Huge community with stacks of learning resources online
- Enterprise legacy systems are often built in Java
- Android apps are developed using Java and Kotlin (a JVM language)
- Backends for large web apps are commonly built with Java (Spring, etc)
For certain types of high-performance, native app development, C++ is hard to beat. This language has been around for decades and is still widely used today. Reasons to learn C++:
- Game engines like Unreal and Unity rely heavily on C++
- Professional desktop apps like Microsoft Office are built with C++
- High frequency trading systems and other fintech apps often use C++ for speed
- Programming embedded systems requires knowledge of C++
C++ is harder to master than other languages on this list due to manual memory management. But for specific use cases like high-performance games or financial systems, C++ skills are a huge asset.
Where Java dominates server-side web development, C# leads the pack for enterprise desktop and mobile apps on Windows. Here's why C# skills are valuable:
- Desktop apps for Windows (photoshop, Office, etc) are often built with C# and .NET
- Xamarin enables C# for iOS and Android development
- Backend web development with ASP.NET Core
- Unity game engine uses C# for scripting
C# has a very similar syntax to Java since they are both derived from C. For developers working on Windows platforms, learning C# allows building for desktop, mobile and web environments.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is ubiquitous and essential for accessing and manipulating databases. Here are some reasons SQL is a must-have skill:
- The standard language for relational database systems like MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, etc.
- Used with non-relational databases as well through dialects like MongoDB's MQL
- Analyzing and extracting meaning from large datasets relies on SQL querying
- Most web and mobile backends require SQL knowledge to model data and interface with databases
As a declarative language, SQL is relatively straightforward to learn. But mastering complex queries, database optimization, and data modeling requires continuous practice. Whether full-stack, backend, data analyst or data scientist, expect to use SQL daily.
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Dart is a newer programming language developed by Google and used for Flutter apps. Flutter is Google's popular open-source framework for building mobile apps.
Some key reasons to learn Dart:
- Enables building iOS, Android, web, desktop, and embedded apps with Flutter
- Single codebase that compiles to native mobile app experiences
- Hot reload feature provides incredibly fast development cycles
- Adopted by Google, Amazon, eBay, Square, Capital One, Alibaba, and more
For mobile app development, Flutter with Dart provides excellent cross-platform capabilities and high performance. Dart is an accessible language for new and experienced developers alike.
Server-side scripting with PHP powers an incredible portion of the web. Here are some reasons PHP remains deeply relevant:
- Websites - WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and many more are built in PHP
- Web applications like Facebook were originally built with PHP
- Open source web MVC frameworks like Laravel and Symfony use PHP
- Quickly render dynamic content and connect apps to databases
PHP may not be as fashionable as modern stacks like MEAN or Ruby on Rails today. But much of the web still runs on PHP, and robust content management systems like WordPress make PHP skills valuable for jobs.
Developed by JetBrains, Kotlin is a relatively new open-source language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine. It improves upon Java in many ways and its adoption is rapidly growing.
Here are some of Kotlin's advantages:
- Concise, readable syntax much like Python
- Interoperable with Java code, but with functional additions
- Official language for Android development besides Java
- Great for server-side web development too with frameworks like Ktor
- Adopted by Pinterest, Coursera, Trello, Evernote, Uber and more
Kotlin is my go-to choice when developing Android apps. The interoperability with Java makes it easy to leverage existing libraries while writing cleaner code than Java. Kotlin skills are becoming more valuable by the day.
Also called Go, GoLang is another newer open-source programming language developed by Google. Here are some notable benefits:
- Very fast compile times and excellent performance
- Simple, minimalist syntax similar to Python
- Built-in concurrency and garbage collection
- Simplifies modern network programming for web apps
- Mature package ecosystem with rich set of libraries
Go has become popular for building web services, networking tools, distributed systems, and more. It's simple to learn, though not having built-in classes takes adjustment. If you build apps with intensive networking needs, consider adding Go to your skillset.
There are unlimited programming languages you could dive into and endless projects you could build. As a beginner, focus first on mastering one language really well. Then expand your toolkit to other languages as needed for specific roles.
Keep exploring and learning new skills! Programming languages are just tools - what matters is having the problem-solving mindset and tenacity to build great things, one line of code at a time.
Which language is best for app and web development?
Which language is mostly used in Web application?
What is the No 1 programming language for app development?
Should I learn Java or Python?
Both Java and Python are great programming languages to learn. Python tends to be easier for beginners, while Java offers more static typing and is ubiquitous for large enterprise apps. I'd suggest starting with Python as your first language, then adding Java later.
Which is easy Java or Python or C++?Out of these three languages, Python would generally be considered the easiest for beginners to pick up. It has a relatively simple syntax that is quite readable, and there is no need to deal with memory management like you do in C++. Java syntax is also straightforward but more verbose than Python. C++ requires understanding pointers, memory allocation, and other low-level concepts that make it more complex for beginners compared to the other two.
Is Python better paid than Java?Both Python and Java are in high demand and well-paid languages. On average, Java developers tend to earn slightly higher salaries than Python developers. However, the actual salaries will depend more on your experience level, location, company/industry, and individual skills rather than just the language alone. Python has also been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years, so the pay gap is likely to shrink or even reverse. At the end of the day, focusing on the right skills for your career goals is more important than chasing the highest-paying language.
Which is in demand Python or Java?Both Python and Java have huge demand from employers currently. However, Python jobs have been growing a bit faster in recent years as the language has expanded from scientific computing into broader web, AI/machine learning, and other applications. Java still has strong demand due to the massive codebase run on the JVM as well as Android development. Overall, there is plenty of job opportunities with both languages, so you can't go wrong learning either one. Choosing between them may come down to your personal preferences and the types of roles/projects you find most interesting.
Which is best for future Java or Python?It's difficult to definitively say which language has a brighter future between Java and Python. Both are mature languages that have been around for decades and continue to actively evolve and expand their domains. Java will remain important for large enterprise apps and Android for the foreseeable future. Python adoption is growing very rapidly for data science, machine learning, web development and many other domains. It has momentum as a language of choice for AI/ML. Ultimately, both Java and Python are expected to continue growing and thriving for many years to come. There is space in the future for both languages, so focusing on 1-2 languages deeply will serve you well rather than aiming to predict the top language of tomorrow.
Which one is best for future Java or Python?As mentioned in the previous answer, both Java and Python are expected to have strong long term prospects. Some factors that may give Python a slight edge for future opportunities:
Python's simplicity makes it very accessible for new generations of developers entering the workforce. This could provide Python with continued growing mindshare.
AI/machine learning remains a major growth area, and Python is currently the dominant language for ML/data science work. Having ML skills is likely to remain highly valuable long-term.
Python lends itself well to DevOps and cloud computing trends, where automation and scripting are emphasized.