The Top Five Programming Languages You Should Learn
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Remember the days when you could just learn C or C++ and be done with it? Those two languages would most likely get you by. That was a simpler time when every application was client-based and the cloud was just a twinkle in the eyes of some developers.

Now things are far more complicated. With the cloud, containers, and mobile devices, the languages you choose to learn could dictate the path you take in your career. Or, to stay competitive, you might need to learn multiple languages. That's really the heart of the matter-marketability. After all, you want to make a living as a developer, which means you need the skills that are in demand.

But what if you're not a developer at heart? What if you're a systems administrator, but have come to realize that, without a solid understanding of some of the programming languages, your ability to reliably work in today's agile and ever-scaling world is drastically narrowed?

What languages should you know?

Let's take a look at the top five languages that will give your career the best boost, make you more marketable, and give you the agility required in modern IT. These languages can especially help you if you work on an outsourced development team, where having the right skills can mean the difference between you getting hired or not.  

C

I realize I sort of brushed off C in the intro, but C is an incredibly useful language. On top of that, according to Cleverroad.com, C is still the second most popular programming language in use today. There's a reason why C has been around for nearly 50 years. It was incredibly well crafted. Because of that, a lot of applications still depend on the language. 

You can't deny such widespread usage. And even though C might not be the darling of the moment, at some point in your software engineering (or sysadmin) career, you're going to need to know C. 

On top of C still being in use today, it's also a great language to help you learn the fundamentals of software engineering. And C is used for everything from microcontrollers to operating systems. So this long-in-the-tooth language isn't going anywhere soon. And since so many languages have borrowed concepts from C, once you're familiar with this language, others will come naturally.

So, for anyone new to the world of programming, C would be a great place to start.

Python

Python is one of the easier languages to learn. But just because it's simple, doesn't mean it's not widespread. According to Cleverroad, Python is the third most popular language on the market. There's a reason for that. Python makes for an excellent web-based scripting language. And since nearly everything has migrated to web-based applications, Python should be considered a must-know for every software engineer and sysadmin.

But don't think Python is only useful for web-based applications. With Python, you can also create websites themselves and even desktop applications. Python is also found in network programming, games, 3D applications, scientific tools, and much more.

For those that find C a bit too complicated as a starter language, Python's simplicity (and lack of a dependency on a compiler) makes it a perfect language for those new to the concept of programming.

BASH

If there's one scripting language every sysadmin should know, it's BASH (Bourne Again Shell). Why Bash? Because Linux. If you work in the enterprise world, Linux is powering your backend. Because of that, you'll be dealing with a data center filled with Linux servers. 

Bash will be your friend. With Bash scripting, you can make Linux do just about anything. But one of the more important tasks you can undertake with BASH is the automation of tasks. In conjunction with cron, you can craft scripts to automate just about anything-from backups to DevOps pipeline delivery. 

To make BASH even more appealing, it's not only incredibly flexible, it's easy to learn.  

Rust

Rust is often the go-to language for bare metal and embedded systems. This is due, in part, because of its speed and handling of memory. And with Rust, you can write extremely low-level code with very low overhead.

But Rust isn't only good for embedded systems. Like Python, Rust is quite useful for web applications that offer higher performance than the likes of JavaScript. And because Rust can be compiled into WebAssembly, those apps can run at near-native speeds in nearly every modern web browser.

Because of Rust's minimal footprint and stellar handling of memory, it's also good for building services required to scale across distributed networks. Given our dependency on the cloud and the rise of edge computing, that's a serious consideration.  

Java

Java is, far and away, the most popular programming language on the market. Part of the reason for this is due to it being the primary language for Android apps. Although Java has suffered from a bad reputation for being memory heavy and unreliable, it has turned out to work wonders on Google's mobile platform.

And because Android enjoys nearly 75% of the global market share, the need for Java isn't going anywhere. 

Java isn't limited to Android apps, though. In fact, Java can build apps for nearly every platform on the market. This makes it an incredibly important language to learn. 

Conclusion

There are a lot of programming languages to learn-so many, in fact, that you might not have a clue where to begin. But if you had to narrow your search down to five, any one of these listed languages would be a great place to start. 

In fact, you should seriously consider learning all five of these languages. With these in your toolkit, any one of the many software outsource companies would be far more inclined to hire you.

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