These days there are more new, hot, just-released programming languages than you can shake a stick at. Even the experts have trouble predicting whether they’ll go the distance or not, partly because things change so quickly in the industry and partly because every programming language goes through a transformation over time.
If you’ve been thinking about picking up a new language, you’ll need to consider a few things. Firstly, what level are your skills at – beginner, intermediate or advanced? Secondly, what kind of programming do you like best; building websites, working with data, a little bit of everything? And finally, which one is the best opportunity to learn something new, enhance your career prospects, and have some fun?
The last point is something only you can answer, but luckily we can help with the first two. Here’s our pick of up-and-coming programming languages to learn in 2017 no matter what kind of programmer you are (or want to be).
Beginner Level: Go
Google Go, Golang or just Go; whatever name you know Google’s programming language by, you can be sure it’s going places (see what we did there?). Go was created to bridge the gap between simple syntax languages like Python and complex ones like C. It’s a high-level language with a huge built-in library and it can tackle a wide range of tasks, which makes it a great choice for beginners. Since it’s loosely modelled on C, it’s a fantastic starting language for programmers who want to progress to C. Plus if Google created it, it must be good!
Intermediate Level: Erlang
Erlang is the brainchild of Ericsson and is not exactly new – it’s been around since the 1980s. It was designed with the aim of improving the development of telephone communications and applications, but in the 21st century it has been adapted to a whole new level; instant messaging, mobile networks, and any and every kind of internet communications. Erlang reached new heights of popularity when WhatsApp began using it. It’s efficient, reliable, can handle a huge number of concurrent activities, is highly scalable, and most importantly, anyone with a little programming experience under their belt can get to grips with it relatively easily.
Advanced Programmers: MATLAB
Some things never change. MATLAB is still one of the most advanced languages around and the one every programmer hopes to one day figure out. It has mostly been used for complex tasks such as interface creation, implementing algorithms and matrix manipulations. Now, however, it’s becoming more common in various different industry applications, despite critics saying there are more efficient, well-rounded languages that are much better (which is true). If you’re an experienced programmer who wants a new challenge, or if you just want to capitalise on what could well be a passing trend, MATLAB is worth a shot.
Web Development: Python
Beginner, expert, or somewhere in between, if you’re into anything web-related you should be learning Python. It’s ‘the’ language of the moment and the starter language in university courses the world over. It has the biggest year-on-year job demand growth of any language. In short, it’s going to be everywhere (in fact it already is) and if you want to stay relevant, you need to know it. Luckily, it’s very easy to learn and even makes a good stepping stone to more complex object-oriented programming languages, if that’s a direction you feel like taking.
Mobile Development: Swift
Depending on where your allegiances lie, either Apple or Android have the market sewn up when it comes to mobile. But like it or not the iPhone is what ‘made’ smartphones and the iOS platform is going nowhere. Now Apple has a language to go with it too; Swift. If all goes according to plan Swift will eventually replace Objective C. Its future prospects are phenomenal, it’s not all that difficult to learn, it works on Linux too, and it is the only language you need for iOS mobile apps. Now is the time to get up to speed.
Big Data: R
R is fast becoming the lingua franca of data science, and area that is seeing rapid growth every year. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Ford, and Bank of America are just some of the big names who use it, and that’s before we even mention academia. If you’re new to data science it’s also the best language to begin with since it has powerful capabilities in data manipulation, data visualisation and machine learning (all key data science skills). Did we mention it runs on all platforms too? There’s no doubt about it; 2017 is THE year to learn R.
Still having trouble picking your next language? Visit our getting started in programming guide for some more helpful information: http://gettingstarted.stoneriverelearning.com/