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Top Programming Languages by Industry

James Gallagher - November 05, 2022

There are hundreds of programming languages out there, each designed to fulfill a specific purpose. The programming languages used in marketing are different than those used in science or cybersecurity. And while there’s a need for specialized programming knowledge in almost every industry, it can be difficult to figure out what languages are used in each industry of the economy.

In this guide, we are going to break down the top popular languages used in popular industries . The information we present should help you learn more about how coding languages are used, and what language(s) you should consider learning if you want to break into a career in tech in a specific industry. So, if you’re thinking about breaking into a career in tech, and have a certain industry in which you want to work in mind continue reading to see our programming languages list .

Engineering: Objective-C

Objective-C, developed at Apple in 1983, is a general-purpose, object-oriented, popular programming language to learn, which is used for a variety of applications around the world. While Objective-C is common in software development—especially mobile app development —engineers are known to use the language frequently.

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Objective-C has a Smalltalk style similar to C, which is another coding language often favored by engineers. Objective-C features increased flexibility, integration with a number of frameworks, and also a syntax that makes it easier for new programmers.

Engineers also often use MATLAB, C, C++, Java, and Mathematica (a technical computing platform).

Banking and Finance: Python

Python, which was developed in the late 1980s, is a general-purpose programming language used in industries as varied as healthcare, and mathematics. Python, an advanced programming language that is object-oriented, is also used extensively in the finance industry.

The Python programming language offers a number of benefits to programmers. Firstly, it is simple to learn and easy to read, so the language is favored by both beginners and experts. Secondly, Python has an extensive community of libraries, many of which relate to mathematics and data science. For example, Numpy and Matplotlib are two of many libraries that can be useful for finance and data science.

Other languages used in finance include SQL, Java, and C++.

Marketing: SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a database query language that can be used to access, manage, and store information within a database. The language, developed at the IBM Research Center in 1974, is used extensively in web development, software development, and in other fields; but has proven particularly useful to marketers.

SQL is useful to marketers in large part because it is great for analyzing data. Even if you have a massive repository of data, SQL can be used to create, modify, and delete data. SQL also features a number of commands that allow developers to derive customized and detailed insights from data.

These features are all useful for marketers who often need to analyze campaigns, retrieve information about customers, and derive insights from large sets of data they have gathered.

Marketers may also use languages such as Python, Ruby, and JavaScript, which are useful in both analyzing data and working with websites and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which are often used in marketing.

Car Manufacturing: C

The C language is a mid-level, structure-focused programming language. The language, which is often used by software developers, computer engineers, and embedded software engineers, has become a crucial part of many car manufacturing companies. In fact, the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) develops specific standards for the language, given its wide applications in the motor industry.

C is a useful language for car manufacturers as it can be used to develop systems applications that work with Windows, UNIX, and Linux, and embedded software. The language is relatively simple to learn and offers systems programmers compilers and interpreters which can be used to work with their code.

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Car manufacturers often use C++, an extension of the C language, and may also use Python, Java, and other languages in their development efforts.

Retail: JavaScript

JavaScript is a client-side programming language often used in web development. JavaScript, which was designed by Netscape, is commonly used with HTML to develop dynamic web applications. JavaScript is such an important language that web companies such as Soundcloud, LinkedIn, Khan Academy, and WordPress all use JavaScript in their organizations.

JavaScript has become a core language used in retail because of its flexibility and extensibility. Libraries such as jQuery allow developers to create more complex programs, and the language can be used to craft high-powered web applications that can scale. In addition, many services offer Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for JavaScript, allowing a retailer to easily access external services such as payment processing and internal programs such as order verification.

Retail also uses HTML and CSS alongside JavaScript, and may also use other programming languages such as Python, Ruby on Rails, and PHP.

Security: C

As we discussed earlier, the C language has a wide array of applications. Its simplistic structure—there are only 32 main keywords to learn—compiler, and interpreter make it a useful language for many developers. But it’s not just car manufacturers that use C: the language is also used widely in the security industry.

The security industry involves a large number of embedded systems, which are computer systems that have a specific function within a larger system. For example, a CCTV camera may contain an embedded systems computer chip, or an ATM may include an embedded systems program and operating system to allow customers to interface with the machine. Because C is common in embedded systems, it has become essential in the security industry.

According to HackerRank , C++ is also a common language used in security. Other technologies often used include Java, C#, and Python, all of which are versatile and extendible coding languages.

Media: C++

The media industry has leveraged technology to help improve television shows, movies, and every other aspect of the media with which we are all familiar. From productions to special effects, the media industry has embraced technology. According to HackerRank , the top programming language used by people in the media industry is C++.

It’s no surprise that C++ is favored by the media industry. C++, which is a general-purpose, mid-level programming language, is an extension of the C language and offers a wide variety of benefits to programmers. The language is often the first taught at the college level and includes quick processing mechanisms. In addition, C++ is widely documented.

Coming behind C++ in the media industry is Java and C, as well as Python and JavaScript, according to HackerRank .

Healthcare: Java

The healthcare industry has a strong demand for technology, from digital patient systems to scanning machines. Java, a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language, has been embraced heavily in the healthcare industry. Java was developed in 1990 at Sun Microsystems.

Java is often used to develop enterprise-level applications and web applications. It is also the core foundation for developing Android apps. For the healthcare industry, Java is a useful language to use because of its portability, its robust and interpreted language, and the network of libraries the language offers.

In addition, the healthcare industry also uses C, C#, and C++ often, as well as Python and Ruby.

Science: MATLAB

MATLAB, widely used in universities, is a programming language built for scientific computing. As a result, the language has come to be favored by scientists all around the world.

The language features a strong, pre-packaged IDE, debugger, and a number of built-in methods that can be used to extend the language. In addition, MATLAB is often used by scientists because it allows them to implement and test algorithms easily, process images effectively, and gives them access to data analysis and visualization tools so they can derive deeper insights from their data.

With that said, scientists also often use FORTRAN, R, Julia, Python, and Wolfram Language in their work.


Although programming languages are not usually designed for specific industries, it’s clear that major industries have their preferences for coding languages to use. It makes sense, given how each industry has its own requirements and technological demands.

For example, if you want to work in finance, banking, or insurance, Python is a great language to learn. But if you’re more interested in security, perhaps C is worth learning instead.

Of course, learning any in-demand programming language will have a massively positive impact on your career. But if you’re looking to break into a specific industry in a technical role, you may want to consider learning one or two of the languages in-demand in that industry. Now you know the top programming languages by industry, so you can go on to make more informed choices about your career in tech!

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James Gallagher

About the author: James Gallagher is a self-taught programmer and the technical content manager at Career Karma. He has experience in range of programming languages and extensive expertise in Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. James has written hundreds of programming tutorials, and he frequently contributes to publications like Codecademy, Treehouse,, Afrotech, and others.

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