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Most Popular Programming Languages for Engineers

Ufuoma Ogono - November 05, 2022

With such a high demand for engineers throughout various industries, those with knowledge of the most popular programming languages for engineering have an advantage. They use some of the best programming languages to ensure that the products they develop are functional and competitive. This article is your guide if you want to know what programming languages engineers use and why they’re important.

What Is an Engineer?

An engineer is an expert in the development of machines, data systems, and other technical structures across industries. There are different types of engineering but irrespective of the specialization, all engineers build new things. In the tech industry, engineers are often part of the project development team.

What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages are a set of rules used to create computer software. Parts of the programming language are called code, and there are over 100 programming languages in the world, some with an extensive library. The two primary categories of programming languages are high-level and low-level programming languages.

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What Programming Languages Do Engineers Use?

Engineers use scripting, object oriented programming, class-based, and functional programming languages to create software. Some of the most in-demand programming languages for engineers are Python, JavaScript, C, C++, and SQL. The specific language chosen for a task depends on the engineering task. However, engineers usually use high-level languages.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for Engineers

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • C
  • C++
  • SQL

Which Programming Language Is Best for Engineers?


Python is the most popular and the fastest-growing major programming language used by coding experts and engineers. This general-purpose language was designed to emphasize code readability for small and enterprise-scale development. It has numerous capabilities, but it is simple and easy to learn, making it the perfect choice for beginners.

Engineers can use an object oriented programming language for front end and backend development projects to make their hardware more functional. Python libraries like Matplotlib, TensorFlow, SciPy, and NumPy are good sources for engineers. There are also many Python modules you can use to practice your skill.


JavaScript is an open-source programming language known as the language of the web. This is because it is most commonly used with HTML and CSS to create websites and other web-based applications. Engineers can benefit from learning JavaScript because of its front end capabilities. JavaScript is also a scripting language that is ideal for task automation.

If you learn JavaScript as an engineer , you will have a wide variety of resources at your disposal, as well as a large active community. JavaScript currently has the most extensive frameworks compared to any programming language. React, Meteor.js, and jQuery are some useful libraries for engineers.


C is a procedural, all-purpose programming language that has been in use since 1972. The syntax of C is one of the hardest programming languages for a beginner to understand, but it has several useful features that come in handy for engineers. The complex language can be used for enterprise app development, game development, and any software that needs computer graphics.


C++ is a variation of C. It is also a general-purpose logic programming language that appeared in 1985. C++ has several applications in the development of operating systems, games, data structures, web browsers, and other forms of software engineering. Libraries you should use for C++ development are Poco, Boost, and, most importantly, C++ Standard Library.


Any engineer who intends to work with databases needs foundational knowledge of the structured query language (SQL). This language is essential for communicating with databases. It is primarily meant for relational database management and is used for popular database management tasks.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First for Engineering?

You should learn Python first. Python is a general-purpose, object oriented language so it can be used for a wide range of functions. Python’s intuitive syntax is easy to understand and the rules governing the programming language are also easy to remember.

After you have learned Python, you can start learning SQL. Most engineers use SQL in backend application development. It is also easy to learn and apply with the support of a large developer community.

Is It Possible to Choose the ‘Wrong’ Programming Language for Engineering?

Yes, it is possible to choose the wrong programming language for engineering. When you pick a programming language that isn’t compatible with the project you have in question, you will run into difficulties along the way. To choose the best programming language for your engineering projects, determine the most suitable option based on the project requirements.

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How to Learn Engineering

If you want to become an engineer, but don’t know where to start, the list below contains a step-by-step guide that should help your decision-making process.

Choose a Specialization

There are different types of engineering, but the most popular categories are chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, and electrical engineering. Which field do you want to work in? Starting with a clear end purpose will make your path more direct.

Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree Program

After deciding the category you want, you need to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program at an accredited university. Apart from being regionally accredited, the school’s engineering program has to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE)

Before you can begin your choice of engineering major, you will have to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination. However, once you have your degree, you will need to pass the PE. The exam proves that you have enough knowledge to launch a career.

Gather the Required Experience

Engineers are typically expected to get at least four years of hands-on experience in their respective fields. This experience can either be in the form of an apprenticeship, internship, or entry-level job. It gives you a major resume boost and will help you gain an edge in the job market.

Consider a Master’s Degree

After gaining working experience, you should consider getting a master’s degree in your specialization. Engineers with master’s degrees traditionally get higher average salaries and better-paying opportunities than those with bachelor’s degrees. ZipRecruiter notes that master’s degree holders earn up to $264,000 yearly. The salary varies significantly based on specialization.

How to Learn Engineering: Top Resources

  • Engineering Toolbox . This website is one of the most extensive databases for aspiring engineers. It’s an exciting tool containing resources for different engineering types, from mechanical to aerospace engineering.
  • . This is another gold mine of resources for anyone who wants to learn engineering. It contains courses, webinars, and articles across different fields of engineering.
  • Engineer Girl . This website is specifically for women who want to dive into engineering. It contains resources for those who want to launch careers or businesses in engineering and will find useful resources on the platform.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare . If you want MIT standard information, this website is for you. It contains resources for engineers and other technology professionals. All you need to gain access is a modern browser on a computer.
  • . You will get more than resources to learn engineering on this platform. There are also useful engineering job listings and a forum for reaching out to other engineers in your field.

Ready to Break into Tech?

If you’re ready to start your career in engineering , take the first step by using online resources at your disposal to prepare for your future degree. When you are ready, secure a bachelor’s degree and start looking for engineering jobs within or outside your community. If you do not have time to get a bachelor’s degree, you can start with an engineering apprenticeship program and work your way up.

Best Programming Languages for Engineers FAQ

Do engineers need to code?

No, not all engineers need to code. For example, mechanical engineers can go their entire careers without ever learning to code. However, systems engineers, computer engineers, and machine learning engineers need programming skills.

Which kind of engineering has the most coding?

Computer and electrical engineering require coding more than any other branch of engineering. If you opt for these disciplines, you will need to learn programming languages like Python, C++, Matlab, and C.

Is R good for engineering?

Yes, R can be used as the primary language for numerical analysis in some forms of engineering. It is also a useful programming language in different forms of statistics and mathematics.

Should an engineer learn R or Python?

People pursuing mathematics and statistics prefer R, while those pursuing data analytics, machine learning, and computer science prefer Python. Both Python and R are great programming languages with similar use cases. If you cannot learn both, the one you choose should depend on your field.

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Ufuoma Ogono

About the author: Ufuoma, a certified Career Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is a veteran freelance writer whose work has also appeared in Smartereum, Cyber Jam Limited, and Binance. Her goal as a content writer is to help readers chase their careers in technology and follow their dreams. Ufuoma attended Delta State University, where she earned her BSc in Sociology and Psychology.

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