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How to Speak Computer: 5 Top Programming Languages

How to Speak Computer: 5 Top Programming Languages

Reading time: 6 minutes
Software development has become one of the fastest-growing markets today, and the fruits of the labor put forth by the brilliant minds behind all of your favorite programs make themselves apparent every time you power on your smart devices.
Today, we depend on technology and web connectivity more than ever before, which means we are also heavily reliant on the efficiency of computer communication. While there may be genius human brains behind the machines, it’s the intricate programming languages that put the gears of software realization into motion.
How to Speak Computer: 5 Top Programming Languages Infographic

What are programming languages?

Programming languages are the formal language comprised of specific syntaxes, input instructions, and algorithms to achieve various types of output results.
In simpler terms, computer programming languages allow humans to give instructions to a computer in a language the computer understands.
Each programming language houses a set of keywords and commands that it interprets as specified requests. Through these computerized codes, computers are able to process massive amounts of information quickly and efficiently.
There is a sprawling array of computer programming languages that developers use today to communicate with computers and create futuristic software and each is designed for different applications and result yields.
Depending on the particular end-goal, a programmer may use a number of different programming languages to build a fully-functional script. While there are many commonalities among programming languages, each has its own distinct features.

Why are programming languages important?

Without programming languages, we would never enjoy high-speed collection and analysis of data nor the efficiency and convenience of your favorite software applications.
It’s thanks to these complex computer languages that developers are able to define and regulate the relationship between man and machine.
By providing a code sequence understood by both human and computer, programming languages serve as the single-most effective gateway into PC output manipulation.
Through the use of programming languages, computer engineers are well-equipped with the tools needed to work toward a faster, more intelligent technological future. Modern computer programming principles have a sizable influence on futuristic technologies that are in their earliest stages today, including autonomous vehicles, voice recognition, natural language processing for artificial intelligence, and more.
Though seemingly niche to the technological sphere, programming languages exist in a larger, more global scope affecting our digital and real worlds as they develop. They can be used to do everything from increasing the power capacity of the internet to improve the efficiency of a Google search.
A mere sequence of letters, numbers, and special characters has the power to change the world as we know it, and we’re watching it happen every single day.

What are the types of programming languages?

Programming languages exist on an expansive spectrum of categorizations and end-goal purposes that distinguish one from another. There are a number of ways to break down how each may classify, but to provide a clear and comprehensive look into how each language’s functionality differs, we’ve broken it down into seven classifications.

1. Imperative Languages

Imperative languages are largely focused on interpreting how a program operates. They use a sequence of command steps to alter a program’s state, so rather than describing what a program should do, imperative languages communicate how to do it.

2. Object-Oriented Languages

Object-oriented languages use data (objects) rather than logic to define the data type of a data structure and the functions that can be applied to the data structure.

3. Declarative Languages

Functioning similarly to imperative languages, declarative languages instruct a program on what to do, rather than telling it how to do it.

4. Functional Languages

Functional languages are a type of declarative language that builds the elemental structure of a program by treating computation as the evaluation of mathematical functions.

5. Scripting Languages

Scripting languages automate the execution, integration, and communication between other programming languages. Scripting languages are typically used in conjunction with other programming languages.

6. Concurrent Languages

Concurrent languages support the simultaneous execution of threads and processes by means of structuring a program. Concurrent programming languages are most frequently employed to increase CPU-intensive program efficiency.

7. Multi-Paradigm Languages

Multi-paradigm programming languages provide a structured framework in which computer engineers can work with multiple programming languages simultaneously.

8. Dynamic Languages

Dynamic programming languages allow operations traditionally done at compile-time to be completed at run-time.

The top 5 programming languages today

1. JavaScript

  • Created by James Gosling
  • Released in 1995
  • Used to build: YouTube, PayPal, Twitter
What it is: JavaScript is a client-side scripting language used to increase user interactivity on live HTML webpages.
What it’s used for: Modern HTML pages typically use JavaScript to bring interactive webpage elements to life. JavaScript bolsters webpage dynamics, effectively increasing the value and visual appearance of the user experience.
JavaScript coding features dynamic aspects capable of modifying information based on the time of day, altering display information based on mouse hover, and more.
Ease of Learning: Moderate

2. C++

  • Created by Bjarne Stroustrup
  • Released in 1985
  • Used to build: Google, Apple Mac OS X, VLC Media Player
What it is: C++ is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language used to build software dependent on speedy high-performance to create large-scale applications. Functioning as a subset of the C language, C++ is better suited for precise fine-tuning and ambitious power-harnessing.
What it’s used for: C++ is used to write massively impressive software applications ranging from video games and office applications to operating systems and image manipulation programs.
Ease of Learning: Difficult

3. Python

  • Created by Guido Van Rossum
  • Released in 1989
  • Used to build: Instagram, Spotify, Reddit
What it is: Python is one of the most popular object-oriented programming languages used to integrate systems as a scripting language. Built on flexible and robust semantics, Python is lauded for its readability and ease of learning and serves as a great introductory language for beginner developers.
What it’s used for: Python is used for developing desktop graphic user interfaces, video games, and software programs. This language houses an incredibly extensive library of tools and functionalities that simplifies the process of sequence construction.
Ease of Learning: Difficult

4. Ruby

  • Created by Yukihiro
  • Released in 1995
  • Used to build: Hulu, Groupon, Airbnb
What it is: Ruby is a dynamic, object-oriented programming language that is known for being among the easiest to learn for novice coders.
What it’s used for: When it comes to doing more with less code, Ruby shines. Used in a number of tech industries, Ruby has several beneficial applications in web application development, robotics, system administration, and cybersecurity.
Ease of Learning: Easy

5. PHP

  • Created by Rasmus Lerdorf
  • Released in 1995
  • Used to build: WordPress, Facebook, MailChimp
What it is: PHP is a server-side scripting programming language developed by Microsoft, designed for general-purpose programming and web development.
What it’s used for: PHP can be used to connect servers and databases, personalize existing content based on IP address, modify information based on time of day, and communicate with external webpages. It is one of the most dynamic and essential programming languages for modern web developers.
Ease of Learning: Easy

Wrapping up

Today, there are over 250 programming languages that bring our digital spheres to animated life, challenging yesterday’s technology with fresh, futuristic ideas. Our fast-paced world is spinning rapidly toward a future more dependent on intelligent machines and computer capable of making independent modifications without any human interference.
Programming languages sit at the heart of this tech revolution, evolving and impressing with every step forward.
[1] University of Florida Online; The Languages of Computer Science
[3] Computer Science; Computer Programming Languages
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