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Ten Programming Languages you should know about

Photo Credit: Ramotionblog via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Ramotionblog via Compfight cc

Working in software development for over fifteen years I have run into quite a few programming languages. When I first started out I learned the C programming language at Iowa State University. I remember taking one of the first tests and having to think like the compiler. From there I got a job with a company in Des Moines working on C programs that had to be changed for the Y2K or Year 2000 issue. They thought all the computers would stop, but needless to say, we got everything fixed.

Today we are going to discuss the top programming languages we should know about. If you work in technology or work with people who do these are some basics that you should understand. We are not going to go into coding each one, that is not what we want to share.


C was the first language I learned in college and it was the first one I worked on professionally too. Although it has been a long time since I worked on it. It is a structured language that was invented at Bell Labs back in 1969. It is an advancement of the old assembler languages. C runs on most systems but is popular on many Unix platforms. C is very procedural where everything flows into the next part, this very different from C++.


Taking C to the next level of object-oriented design is C++ (pronounced C plus plus).  Essentially C programs could still run in C++, where you could also add the object-oriented principles to your application. C++ and C allow you to manage your own memory. This can be quite challenging for a neophyte developer to keep track of. It first appeared in 1983. I worked extensively on Microsoft Visual C++ in the late 90’s.  C and C++ have implementations on most platforms.


Is an object-oriented language developed by Microsoft in 2000 (pronounced C sharp). It is a declarative language with strong typing. It was influenced by Java to where it is an interpreted language similar to how Java runs on the JVM. Over the years, Java and C# languages have borrowed features from each other.


Most Objective-C development is now done for the iOS platform for the numerous Apple devices that are running around. Although Objective-C started back in 1983 in came to Apple from NeXT computers. Similar to C++ Objective-C was meant to be an improvement on what C had. Recently Apple has released a language that improved on Objective-C called Swift.


Java was developed by Sun Microsystems back in 1995 and was originally intended for interactive televisions. One original selling point was that it was supposed to be able to write once and run anywhere. It was object-oriented similar to C++ but managed your memory for you and was interpreted instead of compiled like C++. Initially, that made some things in Java run slower but as processors improved Java become more popular.


JavaScript is similar to Java in syntax only. It is a dynamic untyped language that is primarily used today in web applications. It originated at Netscape back in 1995. JavaScript is used today with many JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, AngularJS, and many more. According to W3Schools “JavaScript is the programming language of HTML and the Web.”


PHP is a popular web development language that is used as a server-side scripting language. It is widely used by many different websites and companies. It is usually mixed with HTML to create dynamic web pages. It originated in the mid-90s. It is often bundled with Linux operating system in the LAMP Architecture. LAMP refers to the Linux operating system,  Apache web server, MySQL database, and the PHP development language.


Python is general purpose language that emphasizes concise code that is also very readable. Python is a free and open source and has automatic memory management. It has a syntax similar to C and is widely used as a scripting language for web applications. Google and Yahoo use a lot of Python in their various applications.


Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented language that was influenced by an earlier language Smalltalk. It became a more popular language with the inception of Ruby on Rails a framework that made developing web applications much easier at the time. I remember a few years ago some of my developer friends said soon all applications will be in Ruby, but it has not grown that popular.


The last language I have started to hear a lot about is R. It is a programming language designed for statistical computing and graphics. With the Big Data movement, this type of computational and statistical analysis has become quite popular. The language has been around since 1993 but is really gaining ground with those who are mining the data.



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