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Most Popular Programming Languages for Software Development

Daisy Waithereo Wambua - November 05, 2022

According to Statista, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, and SQL are the most popular programming languages for software development . If you want to navigate the tech industry, learning the best programming languages for software development should be a priority. In this field, a good mastery of coding languages is important in terms of salary.

In this guide, we will take you through the ins and out of the best programming languages to learn for software development. You will learn each of their uses and applications in tech. We also featured a series of learning resources to help you learn software development.

What Is Software Development?

Software development is the process of building computer programs. This process is often referred to as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Software development involves conceptualizing, documenting, testing, and debugging complex applications, frameworks, and software components.

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Learning software development can lead to multiple careers. Just a few of your options include mobile app development, game development, front end or backend development, database administration, and software engineering. Experience with programming languages can set you up for a successful career and a high average salary.

What Are Programming Languages?

Programming languages are computer languages used by developers to communicate with computers. A programming language consists of a set of instructions so a computer can perform a particular task. Developers rely on programming languages for creating desktop applications and websites. They also use them for mobile development.

There are different types of programming languages. There are low-level languages, mid-level languages, and high-level languages. Most software developers are familiar with the key features of multiple languages.

What Programming Languages Do Software Developers Use?

Software developers use a wide variety of in-demand programming languages in their practice. Coding languages such as JavaScript, Python, R, Scala, and Ruby are the languages that are more commonly used by software development professionals. Below, we will take a deep dive into the best programming languages for software development.

Best Programming Languages to Learn for Software Development

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • R
  • Scala
  • Ruby

Which Programming Language Is Best for Software Development?


This is a high-level programming language that developers rely on for scripting purposes. If you learn JavaScript , you can use it with HTML and CSS. This client-side programming language helps execute code on devices on major websites. It features an application programming interface that helps customize dates, text, standard data structures, and the Document Object Model (DOM) interface.

Developers rely on this dynamic language because of its built-in environment and extensive libraries. It is also an excellent programming language that mimics the C programming language’s clean syntax. Instead of using classes, JavaScript utilizes prototypes for inheritance. JavaScript is lightweight and supports multiple operating systems, making it an excellent choice.


This is a high-level programming language popularly known for advanced programming. This general-purpose programming language supports functional and object oriented programming. Its comprehensive standard library allows senior developers to use it for web development, system scripting, deep learning, and software development.

Python has a wide range of uses . This functional programming language can be used to create web applications, workflows, develop apps, or connect database systems. Through it, developers can access and modify files at will. Software developers also use it to handle big data and perform data analysis. Due to its simple syntax, programmers are able to code using fewer lines.


When it comes to statistical computing and graphical representations, developers use R. This statistical analysis language is popular among data miners, data analysts, and data scientists. This is due to the programming language’s open-source feature. It also has multiple operators suitable for calculating arrays. In addition, the R environment also features graphical facilities and intermediate tools.

This open-source programming language is available across Unix, Windows, Linux, and macOS. This is mainly because it is a platform-independent programming language. In addition to statistical analysis and graphical representations, R is useful in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Choose this popular language if you want to specialize in data science.

It is very easy to create objects and functions using R as a preferred language. Developers also rely on R for financial purposes. R can also integrate with modern programming languages such as C and C++.

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Scala is a high-level language that supports functional and object oriented programming. Scala was created to remedy some of Java’s flaws. Developers frequently compile source code to Java bytecode before running it on a Java Virtual Machine. Because of its Java portability, developers can use the standard libraries with either code.

In addition to Java, this general-purpose language is influenced by key programming languages like Haskell, Lisp, and Pizza. If you want to master Scala, you should learn C++ , C, or Java. There are multiple available resources that can help you become proficient with popular coding languages.


This is an object oriented scripting language mainly used to build desktop applications. Developers also use Ruby programming for web scraping, data processing, DevOps, and automation. This excellent language is compatible with different operating systems, such as macOS, Windows, Unix, and Linux.

The popularity of the Ruby programming language is mainly due to its features. The popular scripting language has a clear and easy syntax making it easy for developers to learn quickly. Its syntax is very close to that of C++ and Perl. This ideal language is highly scalable and may be incorporated into HTML. Ruby may also connect to a number of other databases. Oracle, Sybase, MySQL, and DB2 are all extremely compatible with it.

Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

There are hundreds of programming languages, but you should learn HTML first. HTML is an entry-level programming language that will provide you with the fundamentals for learning to code. It is a popular choice for beginners looking into starting a career in software development. You should then look into mastering CSS. The latter is a styling language used to improve the aesthetics of an application or website.

Once you learn the basics of programming, you can focus on more complex languages like JavaScript. JavaScript is one of the best programming languages for software development. If you become proficient in JavaScript, you will have an easier time learning C and C++. Each job posting will likely list the programming languages the company requires, so read it carefully to make sure you are well-prepared.

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

No, it’s not possible to choose the wrong programming language. Learning how to code using any coding language will set you on the right path to starting a successful career in programming. However, it’s important to note that there are modern languages that are more prevalent in the industry than others.

Some languages are also more useful for different specialties. If you want to develop business applications instead of mobile applications, you might need a slightly different skill set. However, a well-loved programming language is usually popular for a reason, so learning any of the languages on this list is a safe bet.

How to Learn Software Development

Learning software development can be a bit of a challenge for any beginner. Instead of using the wrong route and quitting before you acquire the necessary fundamental skills, check out our tips for you get started. Below you will find a complete step-by-step guide to help you learn the best programming languages for software development.

Attend a Coding Bootcamp

A coding bootcamp provides short immersive courses that will help you master the basics and advanced concepts of coding. You can rely on a variety of platforms to ensure you grasp the best programming languages for software development to attain your career goals. You can learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, and many more popular languages.

Coding bootcamps also employ professional instructors who will take you through the essential concepts you need to master. The best coding bootcamps provide mentors and career coaches who are excellent at helping you navigate the tech industry.

Build a Project

The best way to ensure you are on track and you have acquired the right set of programming skills is by working on a project. You can code a mobile or desktop application of your choosing. This will help you identify your weakest areas and perfect your overall skill level.

Get Certified

Once you are confident with your skill level, consider pursuing a professional certification. There are numerous professional certifications that can help you streamline your prowess. You can pursue courses to become a certified Secure Software Lifecycle professional, a certified software development professional, or a certified software engineer.

You should select a certification that aligns with your interests and can enhance your skills regarding the best programming languages for software development. Professional certifications will look great on your resume and help you earn a high average salary.

How to Learn Software Development: Top Resources

  • YouTube . This is an excellent platform to spearhead your knowledge in software development. You will find thousands of videos covering coding with different difficulty levels. If you are a complete beginner, take advantage of the wealth of tutorials the platform provides.
  • HackerNoon . This is an excellent site for software developers to keep abreast of any developments in the industry. You should consider this site to master software development best practices and processes.
  • W3Schools . This resource will help you master coding by giving you a step-by-step process. It is an excellent platform that can make the coding process for beginners easier.
  • Stack Overflow . If you have experienced any challenges in software development, you may need a site that will help you decipher the problem you’ve encountered. Stack Overflow’s primary existence is based on answering programming questions on a wide range of topics.
  • SitePoint Community . This is a huge community for software and mobile developers to share ideas concerning web and software development. There are multiple discussions concerning HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. Developer communities essentially provide a platform for professionals to share ideas and concepts.

Ready to Break into Tech?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers have a job outlook of 22 percent. This means there will be an increase of 409,500 job posts between 2020 and 2030. So, learning these complex programming languages will keep you at the forefront of landing a job in tech.

BLS also reports that software developers earn an average salary of around $110,140 . Your yearly salary as a software developer depends on your education, experience, geographic location, and industry you wish to pursue.

Best Programming Languages for Software Development FAQ

What programming languages are best for software development?

The best programming languages for software development are Java, Python, and C++. These are the most commonly used programming languages by software developers. However, which language you use depends on the projects you will be working on.

How many programming languages should a software developer learn?

A software developer should learn as many programming languages as possible throughout their programming career. The more popular languages one knows, the easier it will be to succeed in the field of their choice and land a high yearly salary.

Which is the most popular programming language?

According to Statista, the most popular programming language is JavaScript. However, with the constant development of technology, this may change in the future.

How much are software developers paid?

According to Payscale, a software developer earns an average annual salary of $73,213 . Your yearly salary potential depends on your skill, experience, and education level.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Daisy Waithereo Wambua

About the author: Daisy, a certified Career Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is a seasoned writer with a decade of experience in writing, proofreading, and editing. She has spoken at Maseno University to help young women explore new careers and learn more about technology. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Public Relations, a Certificate in Web Development, and a Master's Degree in International Studies.

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