10 programming languages every developer should learn

By Alice Murray

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Even if you’re a developer who is already at the top of the skill ladder, the cutting-edge innovation of new software is still important, and let’s face it; is pretty exciting for anyone in the IT business.

As the IT industry booms and developer jobs become more of an illustrious profession, we are more often faced with new programming languages. Of course each individual programmer will have their own personal favourite, but it’s hard to focus solely on one when there is such a vast variety to discover.

Companies and employers looking for software developers will always want you to be highly skilled in specific areas, so why not give them something that will make them all fight over you? The more varied and particular your skillset is; the more chance you have of landing that ‘once in a lifetime’ role.

We’ve compiled a list of the crème de la crème of programming languages for developers. Some featured in this list might already be the go-to language for all of your programming and developer requirements; but sometimes it genuinely is better to stick to what you know. Whereas others might be a programming language that you’ve yet to look into. Perhaps it’s something that you’ve always been curious about and have always wanted to give it a whirl. 

Take a look at these top 13 programming languages, and see for yourself which ones are still ranking as high as ever for 2017, and which ones are the most up-and-coming bright stars of the new year!


You don’t have to work within any IT or technology company to have heard of Java. It’s an internationally renowned name that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year – so it can certainly be regarded to as the VIP of programming.

It is used by no less than 9 million developers, and is currently running on 7 billion devices worldwide. It’s even used to power companies like LinkedIn, Amazon and Netflix – so we’re all very thankful to Java for supplying us with the ability to watch back to back box sets for days on end. Much to the surprise of a lot of us, it narrowly beat its hottest rival, JavaScript, to top the most in-demand programming language list in 2016.

If you’re a Java developer, you can expect to earn anything from £450 per day as a contractor. Do you prefer Java or JavaScript? Let us know in the comments. If you’re interested in Java jobs – take a look at our contract search list for IT developers here.


JavaScript (emphasis on the ‘Script’) is a completely separate language. JavaScript is used to spice up bland web pages by making them more interactive. It’s the central scripted language for the whole of the World Wide Web and is built into the majority of web browsers; so it’s a pretty big deal.

It is the bread and butter to everyone’s computing device. So, why is it so popular? Because every browser you can think of supports it; which is like gold dust for a developer. It’s lightweight and expressive. When Java fails to deliver, JavaScript runs to the rescue – quickly becoming the language of the internet.

A lot of developer’s favour JavaScript because it’s possible to get things done without delving into the specific and innate details of the language; thanks to its enormous expressive power. JavaScript placed 2nd for ‘most in-demand’ language last year.

As a JavaScript developer, you will most likely be on a day rate of around £375-£400 per day. If you’re interested in front-end roles, you can find them here.


Despite what your initial reaction might be, C# is not going out of style anytime soon. It may be one of the older dogs, but it is still one of the more popular programming languages, designed in 2000 by Microsoft.

It is a further evolution of the already existing languages C and C++, but is arguably simpler, safer and is used for a wide range of enterprise applications. C# is currently the third ‘most in-demand’ programmer language, and if you work as a C# developer, you’ll likely be earning an average of £350 per day.

If you’re interested in C# developer roles, you can find them here.


The main thing that makes this one a winner in most people’s eyes is the fact that the creators named it after the smash-hit comedy show ‘Monty Python’ – but for developers there is slightly more important factors than that in regards to using this language.

Python is a general purpose programming language that closely resembles the English language and is therefore one of the easier ones to learn. Eight out of the top ten computer science schools use this method to teach coding; so what does that tell you? C# is in line just before Python, meaning that this was the 54h ‘most in-demand’ language of 2016 – but this doesn’t reflect in your daily salary; because as a Python developer you can expect around £450 per day.

If you’re interested in Python jobs – take a look at our contract search list for IT developers here.


Swift is a fairly influential language; considering it was created by technology gurus, Apple. In 2014, Apple decided that they didn’t want to fall under the bracket of other languages anymore so they invented an entirely new one for IOS.

Swift is used to create various apps for their devices which most of us likely own – so without it we’d probably all be lost. Swift falls a few places to the 9th ‘most in-demand’ language of the year; but much like Python, their day-rate makes up for this.

If you work as an Apple IOS developer, you will be earning anything from £455 per day. If you’re interested in Apple Swift jobs – take a look at our contract search list for IT developers here.


Perhaps not the most appealing name; but this didn’t put anyone off voting it as the winner of ‘Most Loved Programming Language’ in 2016. Yes, that is an actual award – and considering the hugely wide choice that the voters had, it’s a very valuable credit to be given!

Rust is sponsored by Mozilla research, and is now used by Firefox which is of course used by millions worldwide. Not too shabby for a language that resembles a decaying metal. Rust didn’t even crack the top 10 for the ‘most in-demand’ language in 2016, but as it has been voted as ‘most loved’, it isn’t too much of a burden to bear, and we are certain that 2017 is the year that we’ll see Rust rocket up in popularity amongst developers.

If you’re interested in Rust jobs – take a look at our contract search list for IT developers here.


Gaining popularity since its inception in 2011, Dart offers a fresh new alternative to JavaScript for browser apps. It’s a language that takes pride in its high-performance implementations and is well-suited to app developers. It is one of the most up and coming languages, and is used by a lot of Google and Adobe programs – so it’ll undoubtedly become even more prevalent in the programming language hall of fame soon enough.

As a developer with Dart programs, you can earn anything between £350 per day to £600 per day, so there’s lots of room to grow with this language.

If you’re interested in front-end roles, you can find them here.


A language perfect for anyone new to coding, is PHP. Why? Because it’s arguably easier to learn, and perhaps the most favoured by anyone who is just starting out in programming or coding technology. Experienced developers tend to steer away from PHP, because they claim there is a lot of badly implemented features in it.

Yet, the popularity of programmers using PHP gets higher each year. As the old proverb says, nothing succeeds like success; and after years of PHP being a highly sought after language, it has led to many books, tutorials and applications that have made it that much more accessible for the next generation of new programmers.

So, what do you make of it as a programmer language? Is it timeless, or is it one to leave behind?


Scala is a programming language; with a difference. The flexibility of Java is mirrored on Scala but mixed with the power of classes for multiple-inheritance. You can then go on to pattern match and create higher-order functions.

Like Java, Scala is object-oriented, and uses a curly-brace syntax reminiscent of the C programming language. Unlike Java, Scala has many features of functional programming languages like Scheme, Standard ML and Haskell, including currying, type inference, immutability, lazy evaluation, and pattern matching.

There’s even a Scala community who love its features, so you won’t be alone in trying this one out. That’s right, it basically has its own fan club. So it’s got to be worthy of a try in 2017, right?


If you’re a developer who hasn’t heard of HTML5, are you even a developer? Apps developed using HTML5 are not limited to any device and sectors. It is a language that can be used in banking, agriculture, e-commerce and many more.

Even YouTube has started using HTML5 as an opt-in trial. With browsers like Opera, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer already supporting HTML5 it is expected to capture more market and popularity in future, and 2017 is no exception to this.

Regardless of which one you choose, it isn’t an easy task to learn them; and with everyone having their own preferences and abilities, there is always room for more variations of programmer languages.

Do you have a particular favourite? Or are there any crucial ones you think we’ve missed? If so leave us a comment and let us know!

If you would like some insight about our exclusive developer and software based job roles, you can contact [email protected] for a confidential and informative chat or check out our opportunities page at here.

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