By University of Phoenix
Computer programming relies on different programming languages. There are dozens of coding systems, but all have the same goal: to provide a framework in which a program can operate.
Programming languages serve different purposes. Some are better for organizing and visualizing data, while others are preferable for creating user interfaces. Although some coding systems are easier to learn than others, none are inherently better or worse.
Most professional programmers, software developers and other IT pros learn multiple programming languages, though their level of expertise may vary depending on which they use to accomplish their daily duties. If you plan on a career in a computer or IT-related field, it is essential to understand the different languages, their nuances and the purposes they serve. You will want to learn the ones that are most useful for the specialization you plan to pursue.
Here’s a closer look at the types of programming languages out there and which ones may best fit your career plans.
There are different ways to classify programming languages, and many coding systems will fit into more than one category. The distinctions are important for anyone studying in a computer science degree program because the programming languages you focus on need to match your career plans.
Many programming languages are meant for specialized applications, so the choice may be obvious. However, the distinction between front-end and back-end languages is the most useful for computer science students.
Some professionals choose to learn both front-end and back-end programming languages. These multidiscipline specialists are known as full-stack developers. They can handle both user and client-facing programming tasks and could potentially have more choices regarding employment.
Even though there are dozens of front-end and back-end languages, most computer science and IT students start with one of the more common coding systems. These languages have multiple uses and a large selection of frameworks and code libraries to streamline programming. They serve as a basis for more complex systems.
Here are eight popular programming languages to start your career.
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HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are two related coding systems that control the user-facing (front-end) aspects of websites.
Why learn Java? It is widely used because it has platform independence. This means developers can use it to create programs that run on Windows, Linux, Apple devices or any mobile device. This flexibility means that many large enterprises use Java for their systems.
Because of this broad usage, learning Java is essential to become a software developer.
Other careers include:
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C, C# and C++ make up a family of computer languages. For many computer science and IT students, back-end coding education starts with C. It is a popular first language because of its simplicity and flexibility.
C languages focus on procedures. Some users find this easier than Java, which is object-oriented. Most back-end programmers learn both C++ and Java, but those who focus on operating systems, databases and data-intensive applications will probably need to be more familiar with the C family.
C# and C++ will remain relevant because they are an integral part of cloud-based systems, which are gaining popularity. Also, C++ works closely with hardware, so it’s the preferred language for those involved in the design and management of embedded systems.
Python is the most popular back-end language, according to both PYPL and Stack Overflow. Thanks to its natural syntax and similarity with other basic back-end languages, it’s one of the most popular choices for beginning students.
Python works on different systems and browsers, so it’s the language of choice for many development projects. In addition to being the most popular language for software development, Python has special applications in finance and machine learning.
Additionally, professionals involved in game design, application development and data science need to know Python.
Structured Query Language (SQL) is a specialized language. It focuses on managing information housed in databases. In addition, it’s most often used to call up specific information. MySQL and related languages are used for a vast majority of data-related programming.
SQL is typically not a first computer language. However, those who work with data, such as database administrators and architects, business intelligence analysts and data scientists, will find it necessary to know. Major companies that rely on and monetize data rely heavily on SQL.
R is the most important language for data analytics. It’s necessary for anyone studying for a data science degree. It focuses on statistical calculations and visualization. Because it’s a more complex language, R is typically not a beginning language except for data science students without previous programming experience.
Golang (Go, for short) is growing in popularity. Stack Overflow found that it was one of the languages programmers were most interested in learning. Why? Go is an efficient language that’s easy to learn. Because it’s lightweight and scalable, it’s also becoming popular among web developers. Big-name companies like Uber, SoundCloud and the BBC use Go. However, it still lags behind C++, Java and Python, so it’s a good candidate if you want to learn a second programming language after mastering one of the other back-end systems.
The first step in learning a programming language is to define your career plans. You will then be able to prioritize the options to help you meet your professional goals, keeping in mind that learning multiple languages can be a benefit in many IT and computer science jobs.
You can learn one programming language at a time using online resources or boot camps, which offer intensive instruction and hands-on experience in specific coding systems.
If you want a more comprehensive knowledge base on which to build your career, you can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program. The course of study includes practice in common languages and a chance to focus on more specialized coding skills based on your chosen specialization.
University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree program that teaches students advanced concepts in computer programing and covers many of the popular and in-demand programming languages. Students can also enhance their education with an elective to earn an IT certificate, such as in scripted and compiled programming languages or advanced software development. Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers, such as software developer or application developer, that use programming languages.
To learn more visit phoenix.edu/online-information-technology-degrees.
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