Hottest Programming Languages in 2021
2021 promises to be a great year for aspiring programmers. While many businesses are hopeful that things (somewhat) get back to normal, the pandemic forced companies to expand their digital presence. Many economic recovery plans lean toward green technology, which requires tech people. Here are a few good entry points into programming.
Python is arguably the most universal programming language in 2021. It is primarily used for back-end solutions powering websites and desktop applications. Python has pretty straightforward syntax (similar to regular English) and makes the most sense to a person that isn’t accustomed to the seemingly nonsensical quirks of other languages.
On the other hand, Python is also used for processing data. While there are lighter alternatives for back-end solutions when required, Data Scientists have generally accepted Python libraries as the most efficient tool available. We’ve covered this field in detail, and here’s a data project you can complete without any prior knowledge.
Although highly undesirable, one can use Python for Front-End Development as well. In early July 2020 (just between the pandemic waves), LinkedIn had more than 200,000 jobs between back-end development, Quality Assurance, and Data Science.
As for the back-end, Node.js has a few advantages over Python. It has native support for asynchronous event sequences (no event blocks another) while Python requires an extra library for that. Node.js solutions scale easily—you just add nodes—while Python multithreading is limited and once again requires external libraries. Node.js is a much better fit for mobile devices too. Here’s a comparison of Python and Front-End for various needs and backgrounds.
Java remains the darling of enterprise. Companies hate changing their infrastructure often and rather avoid any risks, which gives Java a leg on Python. It is a statically typed language, meaning all variables should be explicitly declared before they’re used. This is a more robust approach compared to dynamically typed languages like Python. In similar scenarios, Java is faster than Python as the code is translated directly (without an interpreter that handles the code as an intermediary).
A Java job often implies huge and possibly quite recognized projects but there’s some nuance to that. These days, most Java job postings will have you maintain and modernize existing solutions with complex business logic. You will learn a lot and progress, it’s just that how it happens could prove more mundane than you’d imagined.
If you’ve decided to become a back-end developer and struggle to choose between Java and Python, take a look at the regional job market. Python is the preferred tool for new projects, so countries and regions experiencing a startup boom will have plenty of Python jobs. On the other hand, countries with consistent market leaders in many fields may indicate a higher Java demand. It’s still worth investigating the job market and not go by economic trends: although plenty of international clients outsource their new projects to Belarus, Java developers are still sought out the most.
C# & C++
C# is a full-stack language primarily used for web-based and desktop applications. It was created by Microsoft and still enjoys consistent support from the company. C# syntax is similar to what you see in its predecessor, C++, as well as Java. No surprise here: C# is supposed to have the boat of both worlds.
Apart from adoption by commercial software developers, C# and C++ are the dominant languages in game development. The biggest C# engines are Unity (utilized by Escape from Tarkov among others) and CryEngine. Note that Unity will require C++ as well. On the upside, C++ will unlock the biggest non-internal engine for AAA games—Unreal Engine.