We are living in an age of rapidly changing technology. With over 500 programming languages in use globally, it is a dynamic job market for developers. There are pros and cons of all the languages and their adoption is becoming more and more application-specific.
If you are a programmer who has found his feet in the developer community by learning one language, we strongly recommend adding more arrows to your quiver and widening your horizons.
In this article we focus on the benefits of learning more than one programming language, what some of the expert programmers around the world have to say about it and finally, we recommend the top languages to learn and where to learn them from.
Why Learn Several Languages to Code?
Though there are countless benefits of not putting all your eggs in one basket by sticking to a single programming language, it makes a lot of practical sense for your skill development, employability and career prospects.
Here are some of the major advantages of learning several programming languages.
More Tools to Get the Job Done
Just like a carpenter has a bunch of tools to accomplish different tasks and combines them to carve out beautiful furniture, a programmer should know different languages to build complex applications. In theory, you can use any programming languages to build an application but when you consider factors like efficiency, performance, and usability, you realize that certain languages are best suited to solve particular kinds of problems.
By expanding your horizons and adding more languages to your toolkit, you will have more than one option to solve a problem and can choose the best-suited one.
Pick and Choose Your Employers
Once you have learned to code in several languages, multiple career paths emerge for you. You are no longer restricted when it comes to making a career choice as a larger market opens up for you and you can choose the employers you want to work for.
Increase Your Salary Potential
The software industry undergoes numerous technology shifts. Jobs in one technology suddenly become more rewarding than others. In addition, knowing many programming languages helps you climb the corporate ladder and gives you a head start when it comes to roles like Technology Architect.
You can lead a team of programmers coding in different languages and bring more to the table than a single language programmer would.
Become a Versatile Developer
Languages that were not in use in the past years suddenly find wide application. Python, having existed for over two decades, has suddenly gained popularity with the demand for data scientists.
Knowing different programming languages equips you to handle such market swings. In addition, each language follows a unique design philosophy. Knowing multiple languages widens your thought process and make you a well-rounded developer.
Interesting and Informative
Getting bored of doing the same thing for years is an intrinsic human nature and programmers are no different. A multi-lingual developer will have more interesting projects to work on. It will keep you alert all the time and he will develop out of the box thinking for solving problems.
You get better at multitasking, as you would likely be working on multiple projects with different teams.
Learning Becomes Easy
You might find yourself on a steep learning curve when you learn a second programming language, given that each language has its own grammar. However, learning a third language and then the fourth one will become progressively easier, as you have already taught yourself the art of learning.
Irrespective of the profession you are in, those who are lifelong learners are the ones who make a difference and this is especially true for software development.
What Do Experienced Programmers Say about Learning Different Programming Languages?
We went over the popular discussion forums and gathered the thoughts of experienced programmers with decades of experience. They recommend you should learn at least three programming languages. However, do not get carried away with learning as many as you can just for the superficial appeal.
Screenshot from Reddit.com
When you set out on learning a new language, understand its guiding principles, strengths and limitations and the core applications. This approach will teach you new ways to solve problems, with an eye on the big picture.
It also gives you a welcome break from the daily routine and the possibility of doing something new will motivate you to work the next morning.
What Programming Languages to Learn?
As the manifold benefits of learning different coding languages are clear, picking up the next language is at hand. Here is a list of some of the most popular and rewarding languages prevalent today:
It is one of the most popular languages for large organizations and enterprise-level applications. It allows you to build a wide range of applications of varying complexity. You can concentrate on the design and structural aspects of applications without worrying about external factors such as memory management.
If you already know object-oriented programming (OOP) concepts, you will have some level of comfort, though learning its different conventions, frameworks and libraries will be demanding.
CodeGym.cc has a uniquely structured online Java course for those looking for applied learning. It offers the following advantages:
A fully online course that provides a gamified learning environment80% practice, 500+ hours of practice and 1200 tasks to be completedVirtual mentor to evaluate and your solution and recommend improvementsUniquely interactive learning approach used in structuring the courseUses one of the most popular IDEs, IntelliJ IDEA for teachingStrong Java community for resolving queries through discussionsJob interview preparation
Python has been around for a while but there could not be a better time to learn it. It is an interpreted language and allows you to build a wide variety of applications. Sites like Reddit are built on Django, a popular Python framework. It has become a preferred language for new-age technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science.
edX is a good online learning resource for learning Python, where you can learn for free and pay for securing a verified certificate:
5 Self-paced Data Science certification coursesCourses taught by IBM expertsThe edX platform was founded by MIT and HarvardThe platform now has more than 120 institutional partners
Head over to Khan Academy to explore it further and learn online:
C has been a solid programming language for nearly 50 years now and is still in demand. Languages like C++ have derived from it and have an extended application, thanks to their OOP concepts such as encapsulation and inheritance. The concepts you learn here will give you a deep insight into programming in general.
Edabit is a great resource to get started with C and other languages:
Provides a gamified learning environmentHelps practice coding skills through 4,000+ challengesOffers mini-quizzes to consolidate theoretical knowledge
Ruby is an open-source language with a natural syntax, aimed at making programming dynamic yet easy for developers. The foundation of Ruby on Rails, which powers over 1.2 million websites globally, are laid here.
Coderbyte contains many challenges to test your skills. In addition, you have access to tutorials and interview questions to enhance your skills:
Helps acquire coding skillsImproves coding abilities through challengesHelps prepare for job interviews based on questions asked at Google and Microsoft
While there are obvious benefits of learning different programming languages, it is important to know where and how to draw the line. Do not set out to become an expert in every language you lay your hands on — that is humanly impossible! Being an expert in one language and developing sound familiarity with another one is a great starting point. It will hugely simplify the consequent learning path.