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A Comparison of Popular Programming Languages

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Though many developers like to declare one programming language better over another, the truth is they all have their pros and cons. Since many languages are modeled after each other, their syntax and structures can be quite similar – so learning one will help you learn another. When choosing which language to learn, it helps to look at the popularity of a language in terms of its usage. The more common the language, the more support that language will have among fellow developers – as well as the more job opportunities and projects available in that language.
Here’s a quick comparison of a few of the most popular programming languages today:

C

Before Java, JavaScript, and C# – there was C. Being the predecessor of several higher level languages (it was invented in 1972), it’s still a widely used programming language today. C is a machine level language – teaching you the fundamentals of programming at the hardware level, such as memory management and debugging. It’s not the easiest of languages to learn, partly due to its strict syntax, so the learning curve is quite steep. But an understanding of C will help you better understand computers and how things work under the hood.

Python

Python has the reputation of being one of the easiest languages to learn, due to a simple syntax that isn’t overly strict and its readability. Compared to other languages, it takes fewer lines of code to accomplish the same goal – so Python requires less time. Popular social sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram, use Python and Google is also heavily invested in the language.  It has a very active global community of users and there’s a Python framework for just about anything.

Java

Java has been around since 1995 and was designed with a syntax similar to C and C++. It implements the “Write Once, Run Anywhere” mantra – meaning that you can write software on one platform and run it on any other platform. Java continues to evolve and keep up with the times – it’s used for Android app development, building server-side applications to video games, and in the financial industry. 

JavaScript

With no relation to Java, JavaScript is everywhere and used in over 80% of all websites. It allows developers to make their sites interactive, dynamic, and fun –  and it’s easy to get started with since it’s already built into most web browsers. There are also tons of useful JavaScript libraries to make development easier.

PHP

PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor and is a server-side scripting language that is open-source, so there are many pre-built modules available that anyone can use for free. Designed for web development and as a general-purpose programming language, it’s relatively easy to learn, flexible, and can be used in collaboration with HTML.  It’s often used in data-heavy websites and is the language behind Facebook and WordPress.