Guide to the Top 12 Coding Languages


Updated November 3, 2023

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This guide covers some of the best coding languages. Explore each language's importance, common applications, and how to learn them. 

We have organized the following list of the top 12 coding languages alphabetically. The right coding language for you depends on your experience level and goals. Use our guide to decide which computer programming languages you want to learn.

Snapshot of the Top Coding Languages

What Is Coding?

Coding lets people communicate with computers to accomplish desired tasks. Computers do not understand human language, so people use programming languages to translate directions into binary code that devices can follow as apps, websites, and software programs. 

Coding plays a crucial role in our increasingly digital world. Many aspects of modern life rely on coding. Computers, smartphones, and tablets require effective coding to function properly, along with everyday items like traffic lights, social media platforms, and air conditioning systems.

Individuals can pursue several pathways to learning coding languages. Free coding bootcamps can offer a low-risk, accessible way to learn a new language for coding. We describe some of the most useful coding languages below.

Need-to-Know Coding Languages for

Individuals can explore and use multiple coding languages, which each include different features, difficulty levels, and uses. Below, discover some of the most useful coding languages you can learn.


What Is C?

This general-purpose coding language allows developers to create operating systems, apps, databases, and programs. C requires an underlying knowledge of how computer systems work, making it more challenging to learn than some other coding languages. Coders who master C will likely find it easier to learn other computer programming languages.

Why C Is Important: C is a popular coding language valued for its versatility and use in software engineering. Other common cases include internet-connected devices and graphic design tools.

Where C Is Used: Oracle, Microsoft, car manufacturing companies

Who Uses C: Computer programmers, software engineers

How to Learn C: Computer science bachelor's degree programs, online software engineering bachelor's degree programs, C bootcamps


What Is C++? Commonly considered a challenging coding language to learn, C++ is a popular and flexible tool for developing video games, databases, and software. Developers created C++ as a simplified version of C.

Why C++ Is Important: Softwaredevelopers use C++ to create fast applications like those used in video game development, robotics, machine learning, and scientific computing.

Where C++ Is Used: Video game companies, Adobe, Microsoft, Apple

Who Uses C++: Software developers, video game designers

How to Learn C++: Computer science bachelor's degree programs, C++ bootcamps, software engineering bachelor's degree programs


What Is C#? Microsoft created C#, a general-purpose, object-oriented coding language that many people find easier to learn than C++. 

Why C# Is Important: Popular among developers for its speed and efficiency, C# assists with web development, game development, and app development. 

Where C# Is Used: Accenture, Intuit, Microsoft

Who Uses C#: Software engineers, video game designers

How to Learn C#: Bachelor's in computer science degree programs, C# bootcamps, software engineering bachelor's degree programs


What Is Go? Developers commonly use Go, an open-source coding language created by Google employees, for back-end and front-end development. It is easy to learn and prized for its simplicity, speed, and flexibility.

Why Go Is Important: Coders can useGo on any operating system for database design, software development, and cloud computing development needs. It is increasingly popular, especially among developers looking to work at Google.

Where Go Is Used: Google, Netflix, Medium, Salesforce

Who Uses Go: Go programmers, software developers

How to Learn Go: Go bootcamps, Go online courses


What Is HTML? Developed in 1993, Hypertext Markup Language lets people create and edit the structures of web pages. HTML's text-based structure makes it easy for beginners to learn. 

Why HTML Is Important: HTML is the most popular language on the Internet. Web developers use it for creating apps and websites. Other uses include game development, video and image embedding, and Internet navigation.

Where HTML Is Used: Google, Facebook, YouTube

Who Uses HTML: Front-end developers, web developers, mobile developers

How to Learn HTML: Computer science bachelor's degree programs, HTML bootcamps, software engineering bootcamps, HTML online courses


What Is Java? Created in 1995 at Sun Microsystems, individuals use Java to build dynamic websites, applications, and programs through back-end development.

Why Java Is Important: Java is a very popular coding language used often for game development, desktop and web software, enterprise development, and internet-connected device applications.

Where Java Is Used: Airbnb,Spotify, Uber

Who Uses Java: Software engineers, back-end developers, Java developers, web developers

How to Learn Java: Bachelor's in computer science, Java bootcamps, full-stack web development bootcamps


What Is JavaScript? Coders can use the text-based JavaScript coding language for web development, mobile development, and game development. Developed in 1995, JavaScript works in every popular browser.

Why JavaScript Is Important: JavaScript is one of the best and most popular coding languages for web development. Programmers can use this versatile language for front-end and back-end development.

Where JavaScript Is Used: Netflix, PayPal, LinkedIn 

Who Uses JavaScript: Front-end developers, software engineers, web developers, JavaScript developers

How to Learn JavaScript: Computer science bachelor's degree programs, JavaScript bootcamps, software engineering bootcamps, software engineering bachelor's degree programs


What Is PHP? PHP is a scripting language and general-purpose computer programming language. The beginner-friendly coding language also offers many advanced features for professionals.

Why PHP Is Important: PHP is very popular for web application development. Its versatility with various databases makes it a common choice for developers. 

Where PHP Is Used: WordPress, Spotify, Facebook

Who Uses PHP: PHP developers, full-stack developers, software developers

How to Learn PHP: Bachelor's in computer science, web developer bootcamps, PHP bootcamps


What Is Python? Python is an easy-to-learn, object-oriented, general-use computer programming language. The open-source language offers many frameworks and libraries.

Why Python Is Important: Python's popularity extends to industries like engineering, machine learning, finance, and data science and analysis. Developers value its flexibility, 

Where Python Is Used: Dropbox, Netflix, Facebook

Who Uses Python: Back-end developers, Python developers, data scientists, data engineers

How to Learn Python: Python bootcamps, full-stack web development bootcamps, bachelor's in computer science


What Is Ruby? Ruby is a general-purpose, high-level, and open-source programming language that is easy to learn. 

Why Ruby Is Important: Ruby is popular for web development, 3D modeling, and data processing. Developers value its security, free cost, and fast processing speed.

Where Ruby Is Used: Grubhub, Policygenius, MassMutual

Who Uses Ruby: Software engineers, Ruby developers

How to Learn Ruby: Ruby on Rails bootcamps, Full-stack web development bootcamps, bachelor's in computer science degree programs


What Is Rust? Rust is a general-purpose, high-level computer programming language. Although difficult to learn, it offers advanced features. 

Why Rust Is Important: Developers value Rust for its speed, flexibility, and safety. Hundreds of companies worldwide use Rust to make operating systems, develop games, and create the back end for data science tools.

Where Rust Is Used: Dropbox, Firefox, Cloudflare

Who Uses Rust: Rust developers, software engineers

How to Learn Rust: Rust bootcamps, computer science bachelor's degree programs


What Is SQL? Created in the 1970s, Structure Query Language makes it possible to store and manage data in relational databases. SQL is easy to learn.

Why SQL Is Important: SQL is very popular and works well with other programming languages. Many applications use SQL to update and retrieve data.

Where SQL Is Used: Oracle, Microsoft, IBM

Who Uses SQL: Back-end developers, software developers, database administrators, data analysts, data engineers

How to Learn SQL: Data analytics bootcamps, computer science bachelor's programs

Lesser-Known Coding Languages to Consider

Lesser-known programming languages may appear within specific industries, companies, and occupations. Developing expertise in less common coding languages can help you stand out from other coders. Although the opportunities to use these coding languages may be less common, you may find yourself compensated better for your focused skills.

Haskell: Although not one of the most popular programming languages, Haskell is a general-purpose, functional coding language useful in machine learning, big data, and mathematical research.

Julia: Programmers can use Julia to build applications and microservices. The open-source coding language is fast, reproducible, and dynamic.

Swift: Used exclusively for Apple products, Swift is a modern, easy-to-learn coding language that prioritizes safety. Mastering the Swift coding language may help increase your employability at Apple and companies that rely on Apple products.

Additional Coding Resources

What Is Coding Used For?

What Is Coding Used For?

Coding Jargon: Terms to Know

Coding Jargon: Terms to Know

Learn to Code at Any Age

Learn to Code at Any Age

Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?

Is a Computer Science Degree Worth It?

Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Languages

  • What is the hardest coding language to use?

    There is no universal agreement on the most difficult coding language. However, many agree that C++ ranks among the most challenging coding languages.

  • What is the easiest coding language to use?

    Some of the easiest programming languages include HTML, Python, and JavaScript. Your experience with different coding languages may vary depending on your skills and prior work. 

  • Which coding languages are rarely used?

    Some rarely used coding languages include Haskell and Julia.

  • Which coding languages will help me get a job?

    The most useful coding language varies depending on your specific occupation and industry. Some of the best computer programming languages to help you get a job include Python, JavaScript, Java, and HTML. 

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