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Most Popular Programming Languages for App Development

María Elena González - February 24, 2022

Mobile app development has rapidly increased in popularity as a career, due to the expansion and advancement of mobile technology. Users spend a lot of time on their mobile devices, which has prompted many companies to invest in mobile apps. If you want to secure a career in mobile development, you’ll need to be familiar with the best programming languages for app development.

Whether you aspire to be or currently work as a mobile developer, this list of the most popular programming languages for app development will be useful to you. Throughout this article, we’ll explore the best programming languages to learn for app development, in addition to detailed descriptions of each one.

What Is App Development?

App development is the process of building mobile applications by using front and backend programming languages. You can create an app for either Android or iOS operating systems. They can help you increase engagement and create an accessible communication point between users and businesses.

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What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages are the communication form between developers and computers. Software engineers provide commands to computers, mobile devices, or tablets by using programming languages. There are two sides and types of languages involved in the development process. These are backend and front end coding languages. Some languages, like JavaScript, work in both functions.

What Programming Languages Do App Developers Use?

Mobile app developers work with a variety of coding languages, including Java, C++, JavaScript, and Python. It depends on the operating system and what they’re trying to achieve. Below are some of the preferred languages used by software developers for mobile app development.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for App Development

  • Swift
  • Java
  • C
  • Kotlin
  • C++

Which Programming Language Is Best for App Development?


Swift code is a general purpose, open source programming language used for developing iOS apps. It is used in other Apple operating systems such as WatchOS, tvOS, and macOS. Initially, developers would have to build iOS apps with the Objective-C programming language. However, in 2014 Apple released the Swift project to improve the development process.

Swift has modern features like functional programming patterns and protocol extensions. Learning Swift is a good idea in today’s market because iOS developers are some of the highest-paid programmers. The average salary of an iOS developer is $119,559 .


Java is a general purpose programming language used worldwide for building mobile applications. It is an open source language written in C and C++. Java is used for game development and online stores. This mobile app development language is used on various devices, including gaming consoles, medical devices, and notebooks.

Java is still one of the most popular languages for Android development. Even though it is over 20 years old, it is not only a loved programming language, but still the best cross-platform programming language.


C is another popular programming language among developers in mobile application development. It is an imperative language used to build mobile games, operating systems, and databases. The syntax in C has very few keywords compared to other coding languages. C libraries are either static or dynamic with a set of named functions.


Kotlin is a powerful programming language that was released in 2016. It is considered the Swift for Android and can be used as a scripting language. The interesting thing about this programming language is that it combines functional and object oriented programming. Some of its major advantages include its security, stability, and few limitations.


C++ is an extension of C. It is an object oriented programming language that was developed in 1979. This language is a popular choice for building large-scale applications and cross-platform apps. This general purpose language will enable you to build a mobile app and use it across different platforms without losing operability, security, and performance.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

If you are looking to dabble in the mobile app development world, start by learning Java. Java is a beginner-friendly programming language because everything is automated. Mastering this coding language for mobile development will give you experience you need before tackling others.

Not only will you be mastering Java, but you’ll also learn how object oriented programming languages work. This will help you understand the processes of other complex languages and learn how to use them quicker.

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Is it Possible to Choose the ‘Wrong’ Programming Language?

Some programming languages are ideal for mobile app development, while others are inefficient or technically non-functional. You can use functional programming languages like Python or JavaScript to build an application. CSS is not an ideal language for mobile applications, so it would be useless to learn in this scenario.

How to Learn App Development?

Building a mobile app can be an exciting experience, especially when you’re working on your own projects. Get started by following the steps listed below.

Get Training

If you have zero programming experience, the first thing you need to do is get training on mobile programming languages. Join a coding bootcamp , an online course, or watch YouTube tutorials. You will learn about data structures, standard libraries, algorithms, and debugging.

If you’d like to learn how to build an app for a particular operating system, you can look for Android programming languages or iOS development courses. You can also learn both and decide later what works best for you.

Collect Useful Resources

Next, you can start collecting useful resources to help you master this skill. As you progress as a mobile app developer, you might need to install an integrated development environment (IDE) such as Android Studio or Xcode, depending on the operating system.

Get Familiarized With The Programming Environment

You’ll begin to master app development if you familiarize yourself with the development process by practicing what you learn. There are even mobile apps that help you practice your programming skills. You need to find what works best for your process.

Build Your Project

Begin working on your own projects by picking an interesting idea to extend your new app development skills. Use your creativity to develop innovative ideas. Logical thinking and analytical skills will also help you solve problems.

How to Learn App Development: Top Resources

  • Coding bootcamps . Coding bootcamps are a great way to develop your app development skills. They’re short-term, outcome-oriented, and usually have a low cost. This is also one of the best education pathways for technical careers.
  • Online Tutorials . Online tutorials can help you on your programming journey. You may find challenges in the process of developing an app that can be solved by watching online tutorials.
  • Coding community . The software engineering community is very large and open-minded. You’ll be able to reach out for guidance there. Join community group chats and forums to clarify your doubts on any given issue.
  • Mobile apps . Mobile apps are great for beginners who want to practice and elevate their skills in their spare time. There are multiple training programming apps such as Encode, CodeHub, and Sololearn that could help you improve your coding abilities.
  • Read Books . Programming books are still relevant today. You can read in-depth and beginner-friendly programming books to boost your skills. Some of the best books for learning Java are Java: A Beginner’s Guide and Core Java, Volume I .

Ready to Break into Tech?

Adding mobile app development to your toolkit is one of the best things you can do regardless of the industry you work in. This skill will help you automate processes, provide innovative solutions, and develop engaging experiences. You will have choices when it comes to a mobile app development company. In the US alone, there are 7,000 companies.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is also one of the most in-demand careers. It is expected to rise in demand by up to 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is considerably high compared to the job outlook of most occupations.

Best Programming Languages for App Development FAQ

Is it hard to code an app?

Coding an app isn’t hard if you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics of that particular programming language. While you’re on your learning curve, do some research, and watch a couple of tutorials, to help you understand the process.

Is Python good for mobile apps?

Python’s performance and compatibility with Android is good and can be used for app development. The advantage of using this language is that you can reuse Python libraries and improve the turnaround time. Python is a perfect choice in terms of code reusability.

How do beginners create apps?

To create an app, there are a couple of steps to follow. First, you’ll need to come up with an idea to conduct marketing research to check the project’s feasibility. Then, start thinking about graphic design and developing mockups. Once you have an outline of the project, build the app and test it. If it’s already operable, functional, and has a decent user experience, you can submit it to app stores like Play or Apple Store.

Is using Java good enough for Android?

Yes, if you have basic knowledge of Java, you can start developing a wide range of applications for Android.

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María Elena González

About the author: María is a seasoned content writer. After earning her Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Universidad del Zulia, María started working as a writer, journalist, video editor, and digital marketer. María’s other professional interests include forensic psychology and journalism, where she wants to use technology to share statistics and conduct research.

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