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The 10 Best Programming Languages to Learn for 2016

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been re-written and updated for 2016.

It seems that every day, a new startup or tech product is born. This trend will only increase in 2016. As a result, the demand for software developers and their programming skills has never been higher. If you are a software developer or considering a career change, then you have come to the right place. This article will cover my top 10 choices for programming languages.

Javascript/ES6 – is a lightweight, interpreted, programming language with first-class functions and is most well known as a client side scripting language for Web pages. However, in the past few years, Javascript has seen tremendous growth as a server side language thanks to NodeJS. This is due to its non-blocking nature and ease of real-time application. Javascript is our top choice, and there is a great eco-system of tools and frameworks to help you build amazing applications.

PHP – is a server-side scripting language designed for web development, but also used as a general-purpose programming language. There has been a decline in PHP popularity over recent years, due to stiff competition from other languages, and engineers’ hesitance to use it for modern tech projects. However, PHP 7.0 was released in Dec 2015 and benchmarks show that it is 2x faster than previous versions of PHP. This could mark a comeback for the sleeping giant!

Go (golang) – is an open source programming language developed at Google in 2007. Designed primarily to solve some of Google’s own problems, it is a compiled, statically typed language in the tradition of C and C++, with garbage collection. Some of the advantages of Go are concurrency, explicit error handling, fast compilation, and a low memory footprint. Many famous projects today use Go, and the community is growing fast.

Dart – is an open source, general-purpose programming language developed by Google. It is used for building web, server, and mobile applications. Dart is an object-oriented language that follows a C-style syntax and it can compile into Javascript or native code. Developers might find Dart useful for adding a more structured approach to Javascript.

Clojure – is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on functional programming. It is a derivative of the Lisp programming language. One of the benefits of Clojure is its interoperability with Java and Javascript.

Rust – is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language developed by Mozilla Research. Rust has unit testing built into the language and aims to help developers build highly safe systems. One of the disadvantages of Rust is its steep learning curve, however, there is a large community of evangelists dedicated to helping Rust newbies.

Swift – is a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language created for iOS, OS X, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. If you plan on developing applications for Apple devices then Swift is a must learn. It is faster, cleaner, more readable and easer to learn than Objective-C.

Java – is a general-purpose computer programming language that is concurrent, class-based, object-oriented, and specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. Java is a tried and true language that is used by millions of developers. It is also the backbone of the Android platform.

Python – is a widely used general-purpose, high-level programming language. Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C++ or Java. Python is particularly powerful for NLP, pattern matching, and regular expressions.

Ruby – is a dynamic, open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity. It has an elegant syntax that is natural to read and easy to write.

These programming languages were chosen on the basis of learning curve, community support, and frameworks. While there are many other languages out there, I feel that these are the best choices for 2016.