Learn any of these 16 programming languages and you'll always have a job

WOCinTech Chat/FlickrThese are 16 programming languages to know.
  • Software engineering is one of the most in-demand job fields out there.
  • Some of the most important languages to know are JavaScript, Java, C, and more.
  • Business Insider compiled a list of 16 programming languages that can give you an edge in your career.

“Software is eating the world,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously declared.

Someone has to write that software. Why not you?

There are thousands of programming languages, but some are far more popular than others.

When a company goes out to find new programming talent, they’re looking for people familiar with the languages and systems they already use – even as newer languages like Apple Swift or Google Go start to make a splash.

Here are the programming languages you should learn if you always want to have a job, as suggested by the popular TIOBE Index, the Redmonk Programming Language Rankings, the HackerRank Developer Skills Report and the annual Stack Overflow developer survey.

Java: Originally invented in 1991 as a programming language for smart televisions, Oracle’s Java is still the most popular language in the world — a position solidified by the fact that Java is crucial to Android app development and lots of business software.

C: One of the oldest programming languages still in common use, C was created in the early 1970s. In 1978, the language’s legendary and still widely read manual, the 800-page “The C Programming Language,” saw print for the first time.


Python: This language traces back to 1989, and is loved by its fans for its highly readable code. Many programmers suggest it’s the easiest language to get started with.

Herme Herisyam/Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force

PHP: This language for programming web sites is incredibly common — some estimates say it powers one-third of the web. Big sites like WordPress, Facebook, and Yahoo use it. A lot of programmers also hate PHP with a passion — Stack Overflow founder Jeff Atwood once wrote, “PHP isn’t so much a language as a random collection of arbitrary stuff, a virtual explosion at the keyword and function factory.”

RedditAn internet meme explains a lot of programmers’ attitude toward the language.

C++: Developed in 1979, C++ is one of the most popular general-use programming languages and descends from C. Today, it’s a core language in many operating systems, system drivers, browsers and games.

YouTube/saurabhschoolMicrosoft Visual Studio 6 running on Windows Vista.

JavaScript: This is a super-popular programming language primarily used in web apps. But it doesn’t have much to do with Java besides the name. JavaScript runs a lot of the modern web, but it also catches a lot of flak for slowing browsers down and sometimes exposing users to security vulnerabilities.

Dmitry Baranovskiy via FlickrA little JavaScript code.

R: This is the programming language of choice for statisticians and anybody doing data analysis. Google has gone on record as a big fan of R, for the power it gives to its mathematicians.

Shaun Heasley / Getty Images

Go: Originally designed by Google to build systems at the immense scale needed to power the world’s busiest search engine, it’s since caught on with developers who value reliability and integrity above all else.

GoogleGoogle employees form a Google ‘G.’

Ruby: Like Python, developers like this 24-year-old language because it’s easy to read and write the code. Also popular is Rails, an add-on framework for Ruby that makes it really easy to use it to build web apps. The language’s official motto is “A programmer’s best friend.”

©V&A images

C#: Pronounced “C-sharp,” this language was developed by Microsoft and similar to C, C++ and Java. It’s commonly used in enterprise systems, desktop applications, websites and mobile applications. Many developers coding within the Microsoft ecosystem use C#.


TypeScript: This language was developed by Microsoft. It’s similar to JavaScript, using the same syntax and semantics, but with additional features. It’s designed for developing large-scale applications, and it’s released as open source, meaning it’s free for anyone to use or modify.

Perl: Originally developed by a NASA engineer in the late ’80s, Perl excels at processing text, and developers like it because it’s powerful and flexible. It was once famously described as “the duct tape of the web,” because it’s really great at holding websites together, but it’s not the most elegant language.

Wikimedia Commons

Pascal: Named for famed philosopher Blaise Pascal, this language was instrumental in the coding of the original Apple Macintosh computers. Eventually, Pascal extended into so-called Object Pascal, where it’s still widely used in systems today.

Kotlin: This quickly-growing open sourced programming language is similar to Java, but it allows programmers to be more concise. It can be used to write Android apps and is used by companies like Slack, Lyft, Square, Pinterest and more.

Wikimedia Commons/PavlikhinKotlin is named for Kotlin Island, near St. Petersburg in Russia.

Swift: While Apple’s issues with Taylor Swift may have made all the headlines a few years back, the Apple Swift programming language is winning over developers as a faster, easier way to build iPhone apps. With high-profile fans like IBM and Lyft, expect it to take off even more.

Getty Images/Mike CoppolaTaylor Swift rocks an iPhone circa 2012.

Scala: This language is similar to Java, but it’s designed to be more concise and easier to use. It can be mixed with Java and helps developers avoid bugs. Created in the early 2000s, this language is available as open source.

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