Written by IEEE | September 1, 2017 | Updated: August 26, 2021
Programming languages power the technology we use every day, from the website you’re viewing right now, to the operating system your device is running on.
For technologists across all disciplines, whether they are students or experienced professionals, knowing programming languages and which ones perform best in particular applications is crucial.
There are hundreds of languages out there. Which is right for your project, your application, or your career?
IEEE Spectrum has come out with their interactive ranking of the top programming languages. Python retains its first place position, followed by Java, C first, and C++ trailing at fourth-place.
Popular programming languages usually have larger online communities to help sort through thorny challenges. But some specialized languages may have unique uses that are ideal for your specific area of practice. The rankings are adjustable for your needs, whether you are searching for a job or whether you need to build web applications, mobile applications, or embedded devices.
IEEE Spectrum’s 2021 top languages are:
- Python: Behind your favorite website, Python is at work. Coders use this web-based basic scripting language to program the backend of websites like YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Quora.
- Java: Java places second on the list and for good reason — it can run on many devices. If you have an Android phone, all of your apps are running Java. Big data technologies are using Java as their language of choice because of its excellent capabilities of compiling and organizing data.
- C: This language is one of the first high-level languages developed and is fast, structured, portable, and has a rich library. All of these features allow C to have applications across every domain in the world of programming. C is used in all the operating systems in your computer and your cellphone and even in programming robots.
- C++: This programming language is an object-oriented programming language that incorporates all the features of C. C++ is used for operating systems, games, embedded software, autonomous cars, and medical technology, as well as many other applications. Companies like Facebook and Google use C++.
Coding and programming languages are a huge part of our everyday lives and are building the future of technology. If you’re ready to turn your idea into a digital reality, or if you want to improve your skills, check out these classes from the IEEE Computer Society.