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Programming Languages You Need To Know In 2020

Programming Languages You Need To Know In 2020

There are plenty of reasons to consider a career in coding and web development. But, it’s not as simple as just deciding to learn to code. With a wide variety of versatile and popular programming languages to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you to begin your coding education? This guide introduces some of the most essential programming languages in use right now, as well as why you might want to consider choosing each of them to begin your programming career!

Programming Languages You Need To Know in 2020

Despite the current disruptions to world commerce and business operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one area of the economy has remained robust and growing -- web development. As more and more businesses turn to online solutions for brick-and-mortar operations, and companies require more dynamic and comprehensive web apps based on their needs, there’s never been a time where programmers are more in-demand.

There are a variety of popular and versatile programming languages that are particularly well-suited to the needs of businesses and entrepreneurs in 2020. From designing and communicating with databases, to making websites more interactive, to providing the support for machine learning and artificial intelligence -- knowing which specific programming language you need to learn is essential before beginning your coding career.

So how do you choose the right programming language? What languages should you spend your time learning and becoming proficient in? We put together a hit list of popular and in-demand programming languages in 2020, as well as a brief overview of what you can do after learning each of them.


Widely considered one of the best (if not the best) languages for beginning programmers, Python remains one of the most popular programming languages worldwide. Designed specifically for clarity and easier readability, Python is famous for being both efficient and simple, while remaining robust enough to provide the framework for demanding data programs like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

While other languages are preferable for developing mobile applications, Python is used to create and operate a whole array of tech initiatives and business operations, including:

Aside from being easy to learn for beginners and offering opportunities in a wide variety of industries, Python developers are also in high demand at the moment. The average starting salary for an experienced Python developer is nearly $120,000, according to job-finding site Indeed. And the demand has only continued to rise over the past few years.

You can take a deeper dive into the various applications of Python in our guide.


JavaScript is the most widely used and popular programming language for creating interactive websites. When combined with Node.js, programmers can use JavaScript to produce web content on the server before a page is sent to the browser. This allows programmers to build games and communication applications that run directly in the browser. A wide variety of add-ons extend the functionality of JavaScript as well. 

Similar to Python, JavaScript’s broad popularity and the growing need from businesses for dynamic websites has led to an explosion of demand for experienced JavaScript developers. The average salary for an experienced JavaScript developer is essentially the same as a Python developer, and the COVID crisis will only likely increase demand further.

Intrigued by JavaScript and thinking about choosing to learn it? Get more info in our comprehensive guide to JavaScript.


Java is the programming language usually associated with the development of client-server applications, commonly used by large businesses around the world. Java is designed to be a loosely coupled programming language, which means that an application created in Java can run on any platform that supports the language. As a result, Java is often thought of as the “write once, run anywhere” programming language.

In addition to business uses, Java is also a popular language for the Android operating system. While it is not ideal for applications that operate in the cloud, the broad array of business applications (which operate on the server) mean that demand will continue to remain robust over the coming years. A downside to learning Java is that Oracle, the software company that owns the language, charges a licensing fee for the Java development kit.

Programming Languges You Need To Know In 2020 by SoloLearn


Swift is Apple’s language for developing applications for Mac machines and Apple’s suite of popular mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and wearables like the Apple Watch. 

This immense demand for applications and programs mean that companies and entrepreneurs are constantly in need of quality Swift developers to help create web applications or programs that can smoothly and efficiently run on Apple devices.

Similar to many modern programming languages, Swift offers a very readable syntax, runs code quickly, and can be used for both client-side and server-side development. While it doesn’t work with older applications that predate the modern iOS 7 platform, it is the language of choice for the future of Apple programming.

Want to learn more about what you can do with Swift? Check out our deep dive.


C is often listed by experienced web developers along with Java and Python as one of the best languages for a new programmer to learn. As one of the first programming languages ever developed, C serves as the foundation for more modern languages including Python, Ruby, and PHP. It is also an easy language to debug, test, and maintain. However, because the language is outdated, it does not work well with modern web or mobile applications and is better thought of as a “training language” before moving on to more robust and modern alternatives.

That’s where C++ comes in. C++ is an extension of C designed for programming systems that run applications, as opposed to operating the applications themselves. C++ is also optimized for multi-device and multi-platform systems. Since the language has been in use for an extended period of time, programmers have created a large set of libraries and compilers for the language. Being able to use these utilities effectively is just as important to understanding a programming language as writing code, and C++ offers a great option for becoming familiar with them.

You can learn more about what C++ is used for here.


Another member of the C family is C#, which can be considered a Microsoft-specific take on the language. Microsoft developed C# as a more efficient and secure variation of C. This focus means that C# is fully integrated with Microsoft’s .NET software framework, which supports the development of applications for Windows, browser plug-ins, and mobile devices. 

Similar to other “veteran” programming languages, C# offers new programmers shared codebases, a large code library, and a variety of data types. These tools can make learning and becoming proficient with the language that much easier.

Whether you choose C# or C++, both languages offer entry-level salaries just shy of $100,000 per year, even with their specific use cases. The continued prevalence of Microsoft operating systems especially in the business arena means that continued demand and high salaries should be expected if you choose to learn these languages.

If you are thinking about taking the plunge to learn C#, get more info from our guide on the language.


PHP is widely used for server-side web development, when a website frequently requests information from a server. Just like other older languages, PHP benefits specifically from a large ecosystem of users who have created and shared frameworks, libraries, and automation tools to make the language easier to learn and use. PHP code is also easy to debug, making it less frustrating for newer programmers than some more complex alternatives.

While PHP is beginning to lose some of its luster as shiny newer options like Python and JavaScript have gained greater followings, it is still widely used among tech heavyweights like WordPress, Facebook, and Wikipedia. According to Indeed, PHP developers can still expect average salaries just over $80,000 per year.


Ruby (and its well-known framework, Rails) were a bit more “flashy” a few years ago, and have been usurped a bit by Python and JavaScript, among others. While those languages have started to steal some of Ruby’s thunder, there are still some good reasons to consider diving into it if you are choosing a language for your own coding career:

  • Ruby programmers still earn substantial project and hourly rates in a variety of industries and market verticals, meaning there are still significant employment opportunities for new Ruby developers.
  • While other languages take complicated approaches to their structure and application, Ruby’s focus on clarity of syntax makes it one of the best “robust” languages for a new developer to learn. It’s the same focus on ease of use that has made Python so popular for coding beginners.
  • Ruby can be used for both front-end and back-end development, which opens up a whole host of use cases that offer flexibility and a chance for creativity that other languages can’t provide.

Ruby developers can still find ample job opportunities from companies and startups around the globe, and average salaries are roughly in line with similar languages we discussed above.

How Do I Get Started Learning My Programming Language of Choice?

It’s easier than you think! SoloLearn offers comprehensive tutorials and courses covering all of these in-demand and versatile programming languages. From mini-lessons that explore the fundamentals and basics of each language, to fun and challenging quizzes and benchmarks that let you measure your progress and compete against fellow learners, SoloLearn’s coding classes are the perfect way to begin your programming career. 

SoloLearn even offers a code playground to experiment with code and start building your own applications and projects after you’ve learned the ropes of your chosen language. 

Visit SoloLearn or download the SoloLearn mobile application to create your account and start your career as a programmer today.