9 Programming Languages Every Programmer Should Know

Photo courtesy of Flickr: Matthew Keefe

Are you a developer looking to boost up your skill set, beef up that resume with an eye for the future, or want a sure-fire way to impress the boss? For programmers, keeping on top of the latest trends in coding is key to current and future success. Programming languages are always being updated to new versions, getting new libraries, having old libraries and functions deprecated, and so forth. And while staying on top of your language of choice is important, it should not be the only game in town. In this article, I am going to discuss 9 of the top programming languages every coder worth their salt should consider learning or at least have a basic grasp of.

Must Know Programming Languages

These days, employers are looking for programmers with a vast set of skills, while still being an expert in two or three. Back in the day it was fine to know just one language and be a master of it, but now in practically every coding job out there you will find that just isn't good enough. So here is a list (in no particular order) of some programming languages that will really make your resume look impressive.


PHP or PHP Hypertext Processor as the acronym stands for is one of the most widely used programming languages on the planet. Part of this is due to the fact that it is so simple to learn, yet powerful and capable of creating complex applications and truly dynamic, feature-rich websites.

Another part of PHP's appeal is the fact that you can embed it directly into HTML, rather than having to call it from an external file. If you are a web developer looking to get into the open source game, you should definitely look into PHP if you have not already done so.


Another terrific server-side scripting language popular in the web and mobile world, is Python. Like other languages in what I call the "simple Ps" (that is, Python, PHP, and Perl) Python is fairly easy to learn and has a great library for you to pull from, making it incredibly powerful and versatile. The only downside to this language for programmers in my eyes is the indentation requirements, which can be a bit of a pain and cause coding errors if you are not careful. On the flip-side, these same demands make it a cinch to read through and debug.


I would be remiss if I left C off of this list. Even though the language has been around for forever (is that even bad thing?) since the 70s it is still probably the most used programming language in the world. Not only is it incredibly powerful, but learning it will make your programming life much easier. Many of the programming languages out there today are built off of principles established in C, meaning that if you know C, learning other languages will be much easier. Languages like C#, Java, and the aforementioned Python all have foundations in C.

That being said, C may not be the easiest language for a newbie coder to dive into, but if you can grasp it early on, it will make you a better programmer for life.


There are several "C" languages, though their actual relation is debatable. These include Objective-C, the previously discussed C, C#, and C++. The latter is an off-shoot of the original C, and is an obvious choice once you have C down pretty well. You can use it for a wide variety of uses, including desktop applications and video game development.


If you are looking to get into the mobile app development arena for the iPhone, or want to develop software for Apple powered machines, look no further than Objective-C. As mobile apps and devices become more widespread, the job market for Objective-C developers continues to expand, making this language a great addition to your toolbox.

Java and Java for Android

Not to be confused with Javascript, Java is a must-know object-oriented programming language that is high in demand by companies that market desktop, mobile, and web-centric applications, as well as video games. It is a cross-browser language, meaning that it can be ported to different operating systems (you can use the programs you create on Mac or PC), making it a great choice for serious developers. If you know C and/or C++, it will make learning Java much easier, so I definitely recommend adding it to your queue if you code in those two languages already.


If you are taking the web developer path, learning Javascript is pretty much mandatory. While web-based user interaction is one of its most popular uses, Javascript can also be used to create games, software, and even mobile applications. It is has a simple learning curve, and as such, is a great place for beginners to start.


One topic we have yet to cover is databases. Whether you are a developer or a database architect, SQL is a highly recommended language to add to your knowledgebase. Short for Structured Query Language, it is essential for querying databases and for table and record/data manipulation.


The final "gem" on my list (see what I did there?) is the Ruby programming language. As with a number of other languages on our list, programmers will find Ruby relatively easy to grasp certainly no more difficult than Python, Perl, or PHP. Its main function is the creation of interactive websites and mobile applications and, when powered with the Rails framework, let's you develop out-of-the-box web applications on the fly.

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