Coding languages, tools, and frameworks are in a constant state of flux, improvement, deprecation, and popularity swings. Let’s take a look at the top 4 languages for new programmers to learn in 2020. If you’re here for 2021 info, check out our new post, The 8 Most Popular Coding Languages of 2021.
Created: 1995 by Brendan Eich
Anyone who wants to get up and running building web applications as quickly as possible. You may miss out on some of the fundamentals of how computer hardware and operating systems work at a lower level, just be sure to go back and learn as you grow as a developer.
Version one released: 2012 by Google
Go has become a powerhouse in several scenarios:
- Micro-services and backend web development
- Distributed systems and blockchain technology
- DevOps work
Who Should Start With Go?
Anyone interested in DevOps or backend development should learn Go. You will likely need to learn about some technologies (Docker, Kubernetes, Postgres, etc) before landing a job, but it will be worth it considering Go is the second-best paying language in the US this year.
Created: 1991 by Guido van Rossum
Python is a joy to write, at least when you aren’t fighting migrations between Python 2 and Python 3. Python boasts simple syntax, is installed by default on most Linux machines, and has rich scientific and machine learning libraries and frameworks.
While Python is definitely the slowest language on our list, it makes up for its lack of speed in other key areas:
- Writing code is fast and easy – the code runs slow but can be written and shipped quickly
- Is useful for simple tasks like shell scripting, as well as complex production web servers
- Has some of the best scientific, mathematic, and machine learning libraries (SciPY, NumPY, Tensorflow)
Who Should Start With Python?
Python is great for educational purposes, particularly for learning computer science basics like data structures and algorithms. Python allows students to focus on the concepts at hand, because the syntax is second nature.
Python is also a great first choice if you have an interest in machine learning. Python is basically the go-to language for AI/ML and Tensorflow is the state of the art in that field.
Version one released: 2015 by Graydon Hoare
Rust is the most loved language of 2020 by a significant margin.
Rust stands alone as the fastest language on this list, and in many cases, is one of the fastest languages in existence. Rust excels at being hyper-performant and memory-efficient while still boasting a modern development toolchain and dependency management system.
Rust gives the programmer fine-grained control over how the code interacts with the hardware, which makes it a great replacement for C in embedded systems programming. Rust also gives the developer the power to optimize the compiled executable in various ways which ultimately means more performant code.
Rust is used in backend web development like Go but has really found its place as a systems language.
Who Should Learn Rust First?
Honestly, you probably shouldn’t learn Rust first. That said, Rust is arguably the best second language on the list. Rust is probably the most complex language on this list, but along with that complexity comes power, speed, and ultimately the opportunity for the developer to learn more about how code interacts directly with the hardware.