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Amanda Fawcett for Educative

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The 6 Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2021

The demand for computer scientists and software developers continues to grow. New people are entering the field, and developers around the world are being asked to reskill.

Careers in computer science require a solid grasp of the top programming languages. So, if you’re trying to reskill in your career, change careers, or even just learn something, a new programming language is a good place to start.

When choosing a language to learn, there are several factors to consider such as difficulty level, average salary for that language, and how that language is used in the industry. With these factors in mind, we have looked at the top tech trends and predictions of 2021 to outline which programming languages are the best to learn in 2021.

In this article, we will look at:

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1. Python

Python is a language that every programmer should be able to use. Not only is Python's syntax intuitive and easy-to-learn syntax, but it is used in fields that are predicted to rise in 2021, namely machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Python is the preferred language for machine learning and data science due to its popular ML libraries such as Pandas and Scikit-learn. Anyone interested in pursuing a career in data science must know Python.

Globally, machine learning jobs are projected to be worth $31 billion by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 40% over a six-year period.

Python is also very versatile. It is used for everything from backend development, mobile apps, software development, data science, and even writing system scripts. Python is used for web development, which is also expected to rise in 2021.

print("Hello World")
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Difficulty: Easy

Salary Projection: $72,500 USD

Uses: ML, Data Science, Web Development, IoT

Benefits: Scripted, intuitive, flexible, good documentation

2. Java

Java is an immensely popular programming language that has been around for a long time. It still remains one of the most in-demand, widely-used languages. Java is most common in web development, app development, and big data, but it can be used in just about everything (especially distributed systems).

Java is essential for enterprise-level web apps and microservices, which are on the rise in the next year. In 2021, Java will still dominate the banking sector and the Indian IT market.

Java is essential for Android development, as it offers strong memory allocation and high performance. It can also used on the backend as well for sites like Google, Twitter, Amazon, and YouTube.

Almost every large organization will expect Java skills, especially for mobile development. In 2021, investment in Java frameworks increased, such as Spring, Struts, and Hibernate.

class HelloWorld {
    public static void main( String args[] ) {
        System.out.println( "Hello World!" );
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Difficulty: Intermediate

Salary Projection: $79,000 USD

Uses: Big Data, web apps, Android, distributed systems

Benefits: Mature language, useful anywhere in the world, OOP structure

3. Kotlin

Kotlin is a general-purpose programming language that is completely interoperable with Java and supports functional programming. Kotlin is used most commonly to develop Android apps, web applications, desktop applications, and server-side applications. It's the ideal language for anyone interested in those careers.

Kotlin was designed to be a more user-friendly version of Java, and now, most Google applications use Kotlin. Other companies that uses Kotlin in 2020 were Pinterest and PostMates. Since Android is the highest-selling mobile operating system, Kotlin is a powerful language to learn in 2021.

fun main(args : Array<String>) {
    println("Hello World!")
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Difficulty: Intermediate

Salary Projection: $136,000 USD

Uses: Mobile apps, desktop applications, Android

Benefits: Easier to learn than Java, compatible with Java

4. Swift

Swift was developed by Apple for creating iOS applications. It remains one of the most in-demand languages of 2021, as iOS applications are increasing in popularity around the world. Swift also is easy to learn and supports almost everything from Objective-C, so it's an ideal language for mobile developers.

It is even used with IBM Swift Sandbox, IBM Bluemix, and most popular iOS apps like WordPress, SoundCloud, and Mozilla Firefox.

import Swift
print("Hello, World!")
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Difficulty: Beginner

Salary Projection: $98,000 USD

Uses: Mobile apps, iOS apps

Benefits: Easy to learn, clean syntax, fast

5. C/C++

C is one of the oldest, fastest programming languages, and it forms the foundation of most popular languages like C#, Java, and JavaScript. C++ is basically just an enhanced version of C.

Both languages are essential for any career in computer science and programming. C and C++ developers can use compilers for most platforms, and they are high-performance languages, so they're used to build programs where performance is essential, including, kernel development, client/server applications, and large commercial products (Adobe and Firefox).

C/C++ also plays a huge role in the areas of game development, computer graphics, and virtual reality, which are all predicted to rise in 2021. Almost all big companies look for C/C++ skills.

#include <iostream>
using namespace std;

int main() {
  cout << "Hello World";
  return 0;
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Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

Salary Projection: $76,500 USD

Uses: Robust applications, VR, video games

Benefits: Fundamental to CS, offers higher control

6. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most widely used languages, especially for web development. In fact, it is considered to be the standard programming language of the Internet. JavaScript forms the foundation of almost everything you see on the Internet. So, with web development on the rise in 2021, it's a good one to learn.

JavaScript can used in both the front-end and back-end to add dynamic functionalities to websites. It's also the foundation of most libraries and frameworks for the web, such as React, Vue, and Node.

If you want to work at any company that designs for the web, you need to know JavaScript.

console.log("Hello World");
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Difficulty: Easy

Salary Projection: $84,500 USD

Uses: Web development, frameworks

Benefits: Essential for web development, easy to learn

Honorable mentions

There are dozens of other languages out there than deserve some attention. In our research, we found that the following languages will also be in demand in 2021 but may not be as crucial to your upskilling/career change.

  • Golang: Google langage used for creating projects like Kubernetes, Docker, & Blockchain
  • C#: 2D and 3D video game development and website back-end (i.e. Bing, Visual Studio)
  • R: Data science and machine learning, good for visualization
  • PHP: Backend web development

Continue learning about programming languages

Top comments (2)

devzlx profile image

I dont like swift, its kinda just Python and JavaScript in one

ogaston profile image
Omar Gaston Chalas

Mmm.. Does C++ have less pay projection than javascript?