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5 Popular Programming Languages and Their Uses


The world needs increasingly more programmers with each passing day. If you decided that you want to change your career or you just simply want to learn new programming languages to widen your skillset and you don’t know what are the most popular programming languages and what are they used for, look no further. I got you covered.

In the following paragraphs, I’ll save you precious time and leave aside the more obscure languages, as well as some that aren’t really programming languages per se.

Additionally, for each language, there will be an assigned piece of code just so you can see the syntax and the structure of a simple program in that specific language.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the most popular programming languages and their uses:

5. Java

It’s one of the most widely embraced programming languages out there and it’s currently running on 8 billion devices worldwide. Java is a general-purpose object-oriented computer programming language that gained popularity amongst developers due to the fact that the language is grounded in simplicity and readability.

Java was originally developed by James Gosling and has been released in 1995. Those who work with C/C++ can quite easily accommodate with the syntax because Java is derived from C languages.

Many universities worldwide choose to teach Java during the first semester due to the powerful environment which fully prepares the students to become great structural thinkers and masters of object-oriented programming.

Famous applications that are using Java:

  • GMail (email service developed by Google)
  • Android (a mobile operating system developed by Google)
  • Eclipse (integrated development environment)
  • Minecraft (yes, that famous pixelated game)
  • Other server apps in Financial Services Industry, trading applications, big data technologies, high-frequency trading space, and scientific software

Java code example:

4. C++

C++ (pronounced C-Plus-Plus) is a general-purpose object-oriented programming language developed by Bjarne Stroustrup and it is based on the earlier C language designed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson.

C++ revolutionized the programming world back in the late ’90s up until today. It is considered to be an intermediate-level language, as it encapsulates both high and low-level language features. It became popular due to the pragmatic and well-defined features that allowed programmers to develop software with outstanding performance.

Yet, over the years the importance of C++ has somewhat diminished due to the managed languages gaining ground that has allowed programmers to be more expressive at the expense of performance.

C++ is so widely known that at least every year of your life you used at least one program written in this language.

Famous applications that are using C++:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Apple OS – X
  • Symbian OS
  • MySQL
  • Adobe systems (Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Premier, etc)

C++ code example:

3. JavaScript

It’s very common to see JavaScript referred to as one of the three core languages of the World Wide Web. You have HTML markup language for content and structure. You have CSS, the style sheet language, for design and then you have JavaScript, the programming language for your behavior and interactivity.

Why is JavaScript so popular?

  • Every browser that you’re using, be it Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, all use JavaScript. If you want to make a website and provide a great UX, then JavaScript is your best pal
  • You can run it as your server-side language. With node.js you can create a tough, functional backbone server-side code.
  • Functions, Dynamic Objects, Expressive Object Literal Notation
  • It’s the mother (or father?!) of JSON, a universally popular data exchange format
  • It has hundreds of frameworks. While this might be considered a downside, I think it has a huge positive impact on the community

Famous applications that are using JavaScript:

  • Web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer (yeah, even IE uses JS)
  • Every website built since 2000
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Video games
  • All kind of bots, automated scripts for cracking and data mining

JavaScript code example:

2. PHP

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and it’s an HTML-embedded scripting language. Its syntax is derived from C, Java, and Perl but it also has unique features that make this language one of the most widely used computer languages in the World Wide Web.

The main use of PHP is to allow developers to create dynamic web pages. The language has suffered many transformations along the road and has a very active community. There are various important PHP frameworks that are being used by important companies in the industry.

Thanks to its functionality, PHP can easily communicate with databases and exchange data that other languages are hardly able to do so.

Famous applications that are using PHP:

  • 90% of the websites (Facebook is widely known for using PHP)
  • Web applications (CMS, Plugins, SaaS, etc)

PHP code example:

1. Python

Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language. Python’s simple and easy to learn syntax eases the readability, therefore, decreasing the costs of program maintenance. Like other modern programming languages, it supports modules and packages that are developed by the fast-growing and dedicated community.

Moreover, debugging a Python program is nowhere near a hassle, since there is no compilation step and the edit-test-debug cycle is pretty fast. And fortunately for everybody, Python has rich and easy-to-read documentation, where you can also learn how to properly debug a program.

What is Python used for?

It surely excels at integration tasks. Due to its versatility and ready-made tools, many developers use Python as an embedded scripting language.

It is also very popular in the web environment as it is a solid backbone for back-end development.

Another use of Python, which I think you might find cool is programming robots, drones, science projects, and house automation systems.

Famous applications that are using Python:

  • Quora
  • Django and Pyramid (web frameworks)
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • BitTorrent

Python code example:

What programming languages are you using on a daily basis and what are you using them for?

Do you think you can extend their functionality a bit their functionalities and use them for something that they’re not commonly used for?

Share your experience!

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