What are the most popular programming languages?

Want to crack the code for a career in IT or software development? What’s more popular between Python and Java? It’s time to brush up on your programming language skills. 

Woman coding at computer

What are the most popular programming languages? 

Want to put your IT or software programming career into development? If you wish to bring big ideas to life through various programs and platforms for our cyber world, you’ll need to start by learning a new language (or two).

Wait, what is a programming language? 

It’s ok, you won’t have to learn the complexities of English grammar or anything. A computer’s native tongue is binary and it ‘thinks’ in strings of 1s and 0s, and unless you happen to be a computer or a bot yourself it’s pretty hard to make sense of it. So, a programming language is like a human to computer translator, and your way to generate instructions for a computer to carry out. 

From interpreting data visually to creating interfaces, securing a network, or generating the latest PC game, all of our interactions with computers require a programming language to bridge the binary into something we can interact with, interpret and use. 

Learning a programming language is an essential tool for any IT career. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering: What programming language or tool do you need to learn for what task? What program languages are currently in most demand by industry? And where do you even begin, if you want to break into an industry in which you enjoy all things tech for fun? 

The best way to start when you’re learning a new language (computer or otherwise) is to understand the basics. Here you can grasp foundational concepts, understand the difference between a low-level and high level language, create algorithms, solve algorithmic computer problems and more. 

But before we delve into that, let’s take a look at which programming languages are the most popular to learn, and for which industry. 

Your question answered: The 5 most popular programming languages

1. Python 

This programming language is known for its simplicity and readability, with beginners finding it easy to grasp. Python is versatile and can be used for a range of applications from web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, automation and more. 

Better yet, it’s an ‘open-source’ language meaning it’s free to use and has an active community of users who contribute to its development and give on-going support to those you use it. 

Professional computer programmers and developers proficient in this programming language can drive innovative solutions to a range of problems and are in demand in a range of industries, from IT to healthcare, finance and more.

2. Java 

Java is a robust and versatile programming language primarily used to create a range of applications that require high performance and security, like desktop software and Android apps. It’s widely across many industries from e-commerce, finance and banking, to healthcare, government, entertainment and gaming and more.  

Referred to as an “object-oriented” program, it’s range of capabilities make it suitable to a diverse range of software programming projects and contribute it’s popularity as being a consistently in-demand-by-industry programming language.

3. JavaScript 

JavaScript is a different programming language to it’s cousin and similarly named, Java. 

It is primarily used for building dynamic and interactive web applications and is known as the universal language for front end development. It continues to be an in-demand programming language to know, specifically for web developers. 

4. C#

Pronounced ‘C sharp’, this programming language is commonly used for desktop application development, to build dynamic and interactive web applications, create mobile apps as well as being commonly used by games developers within the Unity game engine. 

5. C and C++ 

C and C++ are commonly used for system programming and used to build operating systems, firmware, and other system level software. This programming language is a popular choice to develop games for both PC and console. 

Which programming language is best for getting a job? 

The one that’s best for getting a job depends on the IT or software development area that interests you. Whether it be developing your own game, understanding complex data sets or creating apps or interactive websites.

Our advice? Start by exploring programming related single subjects on offer from leading Australian universities, through Open Universities Australia. In ‘Description’ and ‘Topics Covered’ on each course page, you’ll get to know a little more about which programming language is best for the IT career path you have in mind.

Once you’ve made your selection, a single subject can take just weeks to complete! So what are you waiting for?


Browse  thousands of courses from leading Australian universities.

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