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The 12 Best New Programming Languages for 2020

Diarte Jeffcoat - January 12, 2021

As a developer, it is important to always keep yourself ahead of the tech game. Eventually, web and app developers will have to learn high-level computer programming languages in their careers to further develop themselves.

There are many mainstream languages like Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and PHP that will get you a job with some major companies as a developer. But some languages are starting to fade in popularity in favor of more modern languages that can handle the requirements of the future of tech.

Developers will recommend code newbies start with the “Power of 3” in programming ( HTML , CSS , and JavaScript ) when starting in software engineering. While learning those languages, you will discover languages influenced by or even imitating them.

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Newest Programming Languages Since 2010 (From Oldest to Newest)

Here are 12 of the most popular programming languages that have launched since 2010:

  • Rust (2010)
  • Dart (2011)
  • Kotlin (2011)
  • Elixir (2011)
  • Red (2011)
  • Julia (2012)
  • TypeScript (2012)
  • Swift (2014)
  • Hack (2014)
  • Crystal (2014)
  • Reason (2016)
  • Ballerina (201y)

Now that you have the list, let’s dive into the newest programming languages that are making an impact in the industry.

Rust (2010)

Rust is one of the newest languages with the fastest-growing popularity today.

Rust has been around since 2010, but for some reason, this language has taken on popularity in the developer community like no other. In fact, StackOverflow awarded this language as the “most loved programming language” in the community since 2016. This means that the community of web developers preferred to continue with this language over all others and rightfully so.

Rust was designed by Graydon Hoare at Mozilla Research. Initial development included many contributors, including Brendan Eich, the founder of JavaScript. Rust’s original goal focused on providing better memory safety while managing high performance. Its syntax is like C++, which is one of the many reasons why it has grown so fast in popularity since its launch.

The software is free and open-source with dual licensing from both MIT and Apache. This means that it is open for others to use, study, copy and change the software as they see fit. Considering the reputation of Mozilla, there’s no wonder why this language has taken the hearts of so many web developers in the industry.

Dart (2011)

First developed by Google in 2011, Dart has been around for some time with the media moniker of the “ JavaScript Killer ”. It is a client-optimized language built for apps on many platforms. Google developed this language to replace JavaScript on Chrome with its own virtual machine. But after some slight criticism, they changed the plans of Dart to JavaScript compilation instead.

The language has strong influences from C-style syntax and some JavaScript. It is a class-defined, garbage-collected (a form of automatic memory management), and object-oriented programming language. Google primarily uses the language to build mobile, desktop, backend and web applications. To this day, Dart has been the strongest competitor of JavaScript and has a lot to offer the digital world in the future.

Kotlin (2011)

Kotlin has been around since it was first developed in 2010. However, the official production-ready version was launched in 2016, still making the language very fresh and new in the tech scene. Kotlin is simply a cross-platform language that targets Java Virtual Machine. It works in conjunction with Java but also compiles to JavaScript and native code.

JetBrains, the developers of Kotlin, built it with sheer productivity in mind for the developer. Kotlin is also used for Android mobile development and supported by Google. In May 2019, Google crowned Kotlin as the official programming language for Android web development in the company. This puts Google in the market alongside Apple’s Swift language in mobile development.

Elixir (2011)

Elixir is a language that carries huge influences from Ruby, Erlang, and Clojure.

Elixir is a concurrent, general-purpose, and functional programming language that runs on the Erlang VM. Created by José Valim and launched in 2011, the language carries heavy influences of Erlang, Ruby, and Clojure. Valim, a Ruby developer, took the best features from those languages to create something with high concurrency and low latency. This makes Elixir useful for handling large data volumes. Telecommunications, eCommerce, and finance companies benefit from using Elixir for its speed and capabilities. Many companies like Discord and Pinterest also use the language to handle the large scalability on their sites and apps.

Red (2011)

According to its website, Red’s focus is on being the “ world’s first full-stack language ”. Now we know what it takes to be a full-stack developer , but a language that gets the work done all at once? Now that’s some strong promise thrown out to developers, but the developers of Red are working to make that possible.

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The next-generation language was created to overcome the limitations that Rebol has run into in its lifetime. It possesses heavy Rebol influences in its “human-friendly” syntax. First launched in 2011, Rebol developer Nenad Rakocevic built Red to be completely independent of any other toolchain. The language performs its own code generation instead. He built the language to take source files on any platform and produce packaged binary code—all from a single execution. In fact, he didn’t market the language as a “language”, per se, but as a “language construction set”.

Rakocevic created the language to support metaprogramming and domain-specific languages. This makes Red virtually universal with any language native to any operating system out there. Arguably the best feature of this language is the fact that there is no software or setup needed at all! It uses everything that is native to your OS. It’s used for both high and low-level programming. By providing simplicity, flexibility, and portability, it saves on memory, speed, and performance. If there is one language to keep an eye out for in the future, this would definitely be the one.

Julia (2012)

Julia is set to change the world with its high performance and high-level dynamic programming. Its main features are well-suited for computational science and numerical analysis. Yet it’s useful as a general-purpose programming language as well. Anyone interested in data science or machine learning may end up encountering this language in their near future.

Julia is garbage-collected, uses eager evaluation, and includes robust mathematical libraries. More than 1500 universities use this language in their degree programs currently. The language has more than 11 million downloads since its initial launch. The language contains influences from various others, especially C, Lisp, Python, MATLAB and Ruby.

In 2019, the Climate Modeling Alliance selected Julia as the sole implementation language for its global model. This will help provide insight into the effects and challenges of climate change. They saw Julia as the only language able to handle the productivity and first-class performance necessary for the project.

TypeScript (2012)

Since JavaScript’s launch in 1995, Microsoft worked tirelessly on developing a competitor language. JavaScript sparked what is now known as the browser wars between Microsoft and Netscape. After JavaScript saw a resurgence around 2010, Microsoft jumped at the opportunity to respond in the form of TypeScript .

Microsoft designed the scripting language with the intention of developing large applications, and it is a statically typed language (JavaScript is dynamically typed). The syntax shares similarities with JavaScript and JScript.NET, another Microsoft ECMA implementation. It also serves as a strict syntactical superset of JavaScript. The language is open-sourced, so it can be edited, copied and modified by other developers. Existing JavaScript programs also serve as valid TypeScript programs. But TypeScript can be used to develop both JavaScript applications of client and server-side execution.

Swift (2014)

Swift is the official programming language for software development created by Apple .

Apple provides its own programming language for web development with Swift . Released in 2014, the tech company wanted to think differently with their OS development across their products. Swift is a general-purpose compiled language capable of high performance across all products. Designed to work with Cocoa, Cocoa Touch, and Objective-C code within the devices, Swift uses heavy influences from C and C++. It also uses the Objective-C runtime library, allowing C, Objective-C, C++, and Swift to all run within one program at once.

The language is open source, giving developers access to build their own versions of the language. The usability of applications on Apple OS platforms is seamless and prevents bad practices and common errors. It’s even considered highly usable for game development. This makes it one of the most useful languages of web development in the 21st century.

Hack (2014)

Hack is a programming language for the HipHop Virtual Machine. Created by Facebook as a dialect for PHP, the language allows programmers to use both dynamic and static typing in its code. This is also known as gradual typing. It also allows types to be specified for function arguments, return values and class properties. But local variable types are always inferred, so they cannot be specified. Hack works in conjunction with PHP and focuses on web development and can be embedded into HTML for ease of use.

Crystal (2014)

Crystal is, simply put, the younger sister of Ruby. Launched in June 2014, it is a programming language developed by more than 300 contributors with strong influences from Ruby in its syntax. It serves as a general-purpose language that is object-oriented. It is also compiled with static type-checking. Specification of variable types and method arguments are unnecessary in its code. Active developments of the language are still in progress today.

Crystal’s syntax feels more natural to read and easy to write compared to its predecessor. It is currently free and open-source software available for others to edit, copy and modify to their preference. As Ruby starts to fade, Crystal could take over as the heir to the throne in the programming world with its simpler, more readable code.

Reason (2016)

Here’s something that may shock you about Reason —it’s not a programming language. In fact, it’s more of a syntax extension and toolchain influenced and powered by OCaml. OCaml is a general-purpose language that emphasizes expressiveness and safety.

Created by Jordan Walke at Facebook in 2016, the syntax favors heavily with JavaScript and compiles to OCaml. Walke created Reason with JavaScript programmers in mind. On their website, they even describe it as JavaScript’s “simpler, faster cousin”.

With most of the historical features removed, it enhances the runtime and performance of applications. This makes it more user-friendly to develop apps for both iOS and Android. Reason works well with React-based web apps as well through a version called ReasonReact.

Ballerina (2017)

Ballerina is, for now, the newborn programming language in the industry. It was developed as a code-based alternative to configuration-based integration tools. This is also one of the first languages to use constructs geared towards cloud-native development. It contains influences in its syntax from Java, Go and JavaScript, but has scripting that is easy to learn, write, and modify. This makes it suitable for programmers who have the intention of connecting various web services all into one program.


Learning the latest languages in tech help to develop you for a strong career.

For the code newbies, you may feel overwhelmed—looking at these modern programming languages and thinking that you have a long way to go. However, you will learn that developing your skills in coding isn’t that difficult after all.

If you look back into the influences of these languages, several contained code inspired by languages such as JavaScript, C++, and Ruby. And many of the coding curriculums teach these mainstream languages as fundamentals in coding at the start of every coder’s career.

Coding bootcamps update their curricula with the latest languages to prepare tech newbies with the skills to adapt and grow. This provides a better platform for newbies to adapt their skills and be unique assets in the future of the tech industry.

Want to be the newcomer that makes an impact on your career with the knowledge of these languages? Download the Career Karma app today and unleash your full potential.

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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Diarte Jeffcoat

About the author: Diarte Jeffcoat is a software engineering student at Kenzie Academy. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, he is a writer with a MA in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University. Outside of his journey breaking into tech, he does freelance work as a writer and brand consultant specializing in developing small businesses.

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