Popular Programming Languages in 2023

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Let’s explore three popular coding languages and how you can start learning. Are you ready to enter the field of software development but unsure of the programming languages that employers want you to know? This guide can help you know where to start.

[Featured image] A student is learning how to program at home.

For decades now, the field of software engineering and software development has continued to grow at a rapid pace. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that it expects to see a 25 percent growth rate for software developers in the next decade, which is much faster than average [1]. 

However, not all jobs in this field require the same skill sets and knowledge. By learning the right programming languages, as well as expanding your knowledge of the languages you already understand, you can enhance your resume and stand out from other candidates. 

The following list of popular programming languages is a starting point that you may want to spend time learning:

Python

Python is a dynamic object-oriented programming language that combines data structures with easy-to-learn syntax. Its applications vary from simple functions like powering a moderator bot on Reddit to complex functions such as financial data analysis and machine learning. 

What is object-oriented programming?

Object-oriented programming is a coding model that organizes data and functions into reusable pieces of code into classes, objects, methods, or attributes. This programming approach is suitable for larger and more complex programs such as mobile applications.  

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Why it's popular

Python has been around since 1991, giving it time to grow and gain popularity [2]. While there are a lot of advantages for developers to learn Python for web development and software applications, there may be two main reasons why:

  • Python is versatile. Python is a very versatile and highly -utilized language.  Python's versatility has led it to be used for everything from basic web development to complex AI systems and embedded projects. Furthermore, Python has the ability to act as a "glue" code that connects different programming components together to interact and run on every operating system.  

  • Python is simple. Python's language structure is based in English syntax, making it easier for English-speaking programmers to read and comprehend compared to more numerical-based languages. Python is also an open-source programming language, which means anyone can download and use the source code for free.

Read more: How Long Does it Take to Learn Python?

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Python for Everybody

Learn to Program and Analyze Data with Python. Develop programs to gather, clean, analyze, and visualize data.

4.8

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Average time: 8 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Json, Xml, Python Programming, Database (DBMS), Python Syntax And Semantics, Basic Programming Language, Computer Programming, Data Structure, Tuple, Web Scraping, Sqlite, SQL, Data Analysis, Data Visualization (DataViz)

JavaScript

JavaScript (JS) is a high-level programming language used to make websites and apps more interactive; it is also commonly used in game development. A noticeable impact of JavaScript is its ability to make websites come alive by adding elements such as animations, dropdown menus, and color-changing buttons, making it a core technology for web development. In fact, JavaScript is so present on the internet that W3 Techs, a web technology survey company, reports that it is used as a client-side programming language for nearly 98 percent of all websites [3].

Why it's popular

JavaScript is one of the programming languages behind some of the most popular sites, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Here are some reasons why:

  • JavaScript is fast. It runs immediately within a web browser, reducing load time

  • JavaScript is easy. Not only is JS a relatively easy language for programmers to learn, but its popularity also makes it easy to recognize and implement. 

  • JavaScript is interactive. JS adds noticeable and responsive elements to websites such as zooming capabilities and dropdown menus. These elements enhance the user's experience and make JS an in-demand addition to website development.

  • JavaScript gets along with other programming languages. As a core web language, JS is closely aligned with CSS and HTML ( other core languages used to build websites). It also has a variety of frameworks and libraries that programmers can learn to specialize their skills.

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JavaScript for Beginners

Build Your Skills in JavaScript and jQuery. Start a journey to using JavaScript to become a programmer.

4.7

(535 ratings)

22,994 already enrolled

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Average time: 4 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

web interactivty, Jquery, Data Manipulation, JavaScript, animations

Read more: Java vs. JavaScript: What's the Difference?

C is one of the oldest and most widely used software programming languages. Technically speaking, it is a multi-paradigm, procedural language that supports structured programming, meaning that it’s a low-level language that doesn’t require a lot of runtime to support. This makes C a great language to use for operating systems, hardware drivers, and kernel-level software. 

Why it's popular

While there are a lot of compelling reasons to learn C, the reason it may be so popular comes down to communication. C allows developers to easily speak with one another as well as with their machine(s). Let's look at these reasons a bit more closely:

  • C is great for collaboration. C has been called the common language of programmers. So, by learning it you’ll be able to easily speak and interact with developers of different levels and fields.

  • C is portable and efficient. C is popular because it allows developers to speak to programs easily and efficiently. Programmers use C because popular programs from Windows and Linux to iOS use it. In addition, since it’s one of the oldest programming languages, it serves as backbone code for many older and newer applications that may want to interact with older technology. 

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Computational Thinking with Beginning C Programming

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Some other programming languages to consider learning once you’ve mastered the basics include:

  • C++

  • C#

  • Go 

  • HTML

  • Java

  • Perl

  • R

  • SQL

Ways to start learning

While there are many programming languages that you can learn, you may want to determine your ambitions and goals first. If you’re new to software development and want a backbone language to learn, start with C. If you’re interested in website design, consider JavaScript or if you want to keep your options open, consider Python.

Here are some options for learning a new programming language:

Online courses

Programming courses can be easy to find online through a variety of platforms. For instance, Coursera hosts online programming courses from top-tier universities like Stanford and the University of Michigan, as well as organizations such as Google. 

Bootcamps

Bootcamp courses take a more accelerated and intense approach to learning how to code. They may last a week or a couple of months, depending on the subject. These types of courses may often be offered by companies and universities to accelerate learning in a streamlined manner. 

Degree programs

Degree programs in computer science and computer engineering often include programming coursework where you may learn about other valuable software skills, including web development and hardware applications. 

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Next steps 

Regardless of which programming language you choose, you can expect to continue learning throughout your entire career in programming. Stepan Furdei, a software engineer at Meta, says his master's degree in computer science put him on the right track in his career, "however self-education accounted for more than 90 percent of my success."

"Over my 17 years of engineering, the technologies changed so much that I wouldn't fit anywhere these days if I didn't keep continuously pushing, exploring new technologies as they came up, and always striving to do better," he adds. "I can't think of any successful engineer who wouldn't do that."

On Coursera, you can find several ways to learn how to code, including free courses, degree programs, and certificates, all at your own pace. Consider learning some of the popular programming languages with Python for Everybody Specialization, JavaScript for Beginners Specialization, or C for Everyone: Programming Fundamentals all at your own pace.

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specialization

Python for Everybody

Learn to Program and Analyze Data with Python. Develop programs to gather, clean, analyze, and visualize data.

4.8

(200,210 ratings)

1,406,299 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 8 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Json, Xml, Python Programming, Database (DBMS), Python Syntax And Semantics, Basic Programming Language, Computer Programming, Data Structure, Tuple, Web Scraping, Sqlite, SQL, Data Analysis, Data Visualization (DataViz)

Placeholder

specialization

JavaScript for Beginners

Build Your Skills in JavaScript and jQuery. Start a journey to using JavaScript to become a programmer.

4.7

(535 ratings)

22,994 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 4 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

web interactivty, Jquery, Data Manipulation, JavaScript, animations

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course

C for Everyone: Programming Fundamentals

This course is for everyone. In the new world we live in, coding is a universally valuable skill, whether you're a scientist, artist, or a humanist. ...

4.5

(5,816 ratings)

235,852 already enrolled

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Average time: 1 month(s)

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Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm.” Accessed November 21, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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