Monday, 27 February 2017

Top 5 Programming Languages to Learn in 2017 - 18

Hello coffee munchers, as the title suggests, today we're going to be taking a look at the top 5 programming languages to learn in the year 2017.

I'm going to try to keep this as objective as possible by using different facts and reports such as the TIOBE index, the RedMonk index and so on, but ultimately you may or may not agree with this list.

5. Python

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Python is a general purpose, high level, interpreted programming language.
It has an inordinately simple syntax and that is probably one of the reasons why it's considered as the best introductory programming language (suited for beginners).
Like seriously, take a look at the following Hello World programs of Python and Java.
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You see what I'm talking about?

Along with that, Python is platform independent, which is actually the case for a lot of different languages like C and Java, but none of which are as easy to learn as Python.
You can run it on most platforms ranging from Windows to the Raspberry Pi. Which brings me to my next point, Python is the go to language for writing programs on the Pi.

You really can't go wrong with learning this language.

4. C#
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C# is yet another general purpose language. It's designed and supported by Microsoft and that's precisely the reason why it's so popular.
It has a pretty small learning curve, and it supports multiple platforms. Using C#, you can write desktop, web, and mobile apps - for the Windows Phone as well as Android and iOS using Xamarin.

The IDE also plays an important role while selecting a language. And there's no debate when I say that Visual Studio is hands down, the best IDE, ever.
And then things like LINQ and MSDN support is icing on the cake.

3. C
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The language that's almost half a century old.
C is portable, it works close to the hardware and allows you to get a really good view of what's going on under the hood. While the learning curve is pretty steep, it's still smaller than that of C++.
The reason why it's so popular even today, is simply, the lack of a better alternative. I'm not even remotely implying that C is a bad language, I'm saying right now, C is irreplaceable for a lot of things.
So if you want to write kernels and embedded software for, say, an Arduino, you're going to need to learn C, there's just no way around that.

2. JavaScript
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JS is ranked number 7 on the TIOBE index, but it's ranked number 1 on the RedMonk index which is based on StackOverflow and GitHub stats and surveys.

Fun fact: JS has the most number of repositories on GitHub.

JS is basically everywhere. It's a high level interpreted language that's supported by all modern browsers.
The reason why I've placed it so high on this list is that JS has seen a growth of 97% in 2016, which is simply NUTS.
And thanks to frameworks like Node.js®, you can now do server sided scripting entirely in JS, without having to study languages like PHP and ASP.NET.

1. You probably guessed it,
it's Java.
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Throughout the last decade, or possibly even longer, Java has always been either first or second, sometimes wrestling with C for that number 1 spot. But it's pretty evident that Java has consistently ranked higher than most of the other programming languages.
As of 2016, there are 9 million Java devs in the world and 3 billion devices running Java .

Why is it that a programming language that just celebrated its 20th anniversary last year stills ranks number 1? Here are my personal reasons as to why I think that is.
1. Android
As of 2015, there are 1.4 billion active Android devices. And every single day, there are 1.5 million new activations of Android. And how do you write apps that target the said number of devices? Well, Java.
Sure you can write apps using Scala, C# and a whole array of other languages, but none of them can target android like Java at the moment thanks to Android Studio and the good folks at Google.

2. Performance & Reliability
This is where Java's 20 years of development comes into play. Java gives you an exceedingly stable and optimized environment to work with. This is also the reason why a lot of big data projects like Hadoop is based on Java.

3. Backwards compatibility
Code written for one version of Java will continue to run on newer versions without any fuzz. Some may argue that this is not ideal as you would usually want to fix the flaws as you go up, but I feel that in most cases, this helps in preventing a lot of the time wasted on porting.
Take Python for example, Python 3 is not backwards compatible with 2.x, and they did that on purpose. They wanted to improve the language and doing this meant breaking backwards compatibility. 
So while their reasons may be justified, ultimately it just means that Python is not backwards compatible while Java is.

It's pretty safe to say that Java has established itself as one of the best (if not the best) programming languages of the present decade and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

There we have it, these are my top 5 programming languages to learn for the year 2017-18.
Like I said in the beginning, I tried to keep this list as objective as possible by taking into account the potential career opportunities and present trends in the industry, but ultimately, you may or may not agree with my personal views.

- Arcane

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