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Deciding which programming languages and frameworks to get certified in isn’t simple. Should you focus on something widely used and transferable like Python or Java, or would you prefer to become proficient in a more narrowly defined language like the Google-created Go language?
The path you take, and the tech certifications you obtain, can have a tremendous impact on your job prospects and career development.
To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most widely used and useful programming languages for developers to learn in 2023. In no particular order, here they are:
8 Key Programming Languages and Frameworks for Career Development
As one of the fastest-growing and most widely used programming languages on the planet, skill in Python is a great option for engineers looking to launch, or pivot, their careers. In addition to being a full-stack high-level programming language that can be used throughout the entire development lifecycle, Python boasts a massive collection of third-party modules and support libraries. Compared to many other programming languages, it’s also accessible and relatively easy to learn, with a highly engaged online community for troubleshooting and resolving issues.
Though people tend to think of Python as a newer language due to its increased popularity over the past 10 to 15 years, it was first released in 1991. In recent years, its simple syntax and widespread popularity have influenced the development of other programming languages, including Go. This, combined with a vast assortment of readily available support, makes it a great gateway to developing applications.
Python might be beginner-friendly, but it's not just for beginners. Large organizations like Wikipedia and NASA use Python, as do many social media companies and some of the most prominent cloud platforms in the world, including AWS and Microsoft Azure. Leveraging its immense development capabilities, Python is one of the best coding languages for rapidly growing fields like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics.
Overall, Python is known for its impressive accessibility, versatility, and support. There are other programming languages that might be better equipped for specific development tasks, but as a broad, generalized option, you can’t go wrong with Python.
Another popular programming language is Java. First released in 1995, this high-level general-purpose language continually ranks among the most widely used programming languages. It’s not hard to see why. Java is versatile, modular and platform-independent. This means that Java applications can run on both Windows and Linux as well as other popular operating systems. Every major cloud platform provides a software development kit (SDK) for Java.
Java’s syntax is similar to the C and C++ languages that influenced its development, albeit with less low-level facilities than either. It is an object-oriented language, with all code written inside classes and no operator overloading support. TIOBE, which publishes a monthly list of the most popular software, ranked Java in October 2022 as the 3rd most widely used programming language in the world.
Like Python listed above, Java is considered relatively easy to use when compared to other programming languages. Developers frequently take advantage of Java’s security and portability to code scalable enterprise applications. Some examples of major companies that use Java include Uber, Google and Netflix.
Java’s multi-platform ability to run the same program across multiple systems makes the end-to-end development process much smoother. Robust security is another point in its favor. Java is one of the best development languages for beginners, and certifications in it can unlock new work opportunities.
.NET refers to both Microsoft’s proprietary .NET Framework and its free, open source cross-platform successor. The language interoperable framework includes a large class library known as the Framework Class Library (FCL). .NET is compatible with many different programming languages, including C++, C#, F# and Visual Basic .NET. Python programmers can also use the .NET framework via IronPython.
Many Azure products, features and capabilities were designed to run .NET natively. For developers that exclusively work with Azure and rely heavily on Microsoft software, .NET offers additional value.
Released alongside .NET back in 2002, ASP.NET is an important tool that builds upon .NET’s existing web application development capabilities with additional editing features, libraries and templates. It’s an open source language interoperable web app framework that can be used for speedy, scalable development. ASP.NET Core runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows, unlike ASP.NET, which works only on Windows.
Another key advantage to the .NET framework is the ability to customize and modify open source code on GitHub. On top of that, there is a significant online community available to help fix bugs and troubleshoot issues.
Developed by Google, Angular is an open source web platform that is increasingly popular with developers. Angular is a complete rewrite of the discontinued AngularJS framework and has introduced several key differences. One of the most impactful is the emphasis on modularity, with core features functioning independently to reduce the risk of minor errors derailing the code.
Applications developed in Angular are built around modules, metadata, templates, directives, services, data binding, and dependency injection. Dynamic loading allows Angular to start up independently, discover new libraries, and access new features, significantly speeding up start times and simplifying cross-platform development.
The biggest advantage that the Angular framework offers is the ability to quickly test and develop applications without complex code or heavy load on CPUs. It’s a great option for teams of all skill levels.
According to a Stack Overflow survey, React is a preferred web framework among developers. It offers rapid development speed, improved efficiency, and extensions that enable easy custom component creation. React’s speedy rendering can drastically reduce app and website load times, helping improve SEO to get noticed on Google and other search engines.
One of the biggest selling points, however, is the emphasis on User Interface (UI). Capabilities and features are important, but above all else, cloud-native web and mobile apps need to be user-friendly and easy to use. The ReactJS framework’s declarative components, reusable components and virtual Document Object Model’s (DOMs) enable the streamlined creation of engaging user interfaces.
Spring is a lightweight, open source framework created for Java development. Leveraging core features that are compatible with all Java applications and web application extensions for the Java Enterprise Edition platform, Spring provides developers with the ability to build scalable, secure apps quickly. The popular Spring Cloud microservices framework brings these benefits to cloud developers creating cloud native apps on Azure, AWS and other cloud platforms.
With Spring, developers can define remote procedures without remote APIs, run database transactions without transaction APIs and solve complex technical problems in real time. The Spring Framework contains a collection of sub-frameworks, including Spring Web Flow, Spring ORM and Spring MVC. In addition to Spring Cloud, the Spring framework also serves as a base for Spring Boot and Spring GraphQL.
Some of Spring’s unique benefits and advantages are pre-defined templates, loose coupling, constant transaction management, dependency interjection, and aspect-oriented programming support. These functionalities help contribute to a well-organized cloud development ecosystem that enables speedy, non-invasive development as well as simple testing.
Becoming proficient with the Spring framework is a great way to differentiate yourself as a developer.
Whether you call it Go or Golang, it’s one of the best programming languages for development. This robust, modern language was designed and developed by Google in 2009. Since then, it has grown in popularity and significance. It was named the TIOBE index language of the year in both 2009 and 2016, and was ranked inside the top 10 most widely used programming languages as recently as March 2020. It is currently ranked 11th as of October 2022.
Go enables the reliable, speedy development of secure, scalable apps via microservices and boasts impressive degrees of package management and concurrency support.
If you anticipate working on Google Cloud development in any capacity, obtaining Go skills is one of the best things you can do for your career.
Over the past few years, one of the fastest-rising players in development has been Rust. Designed by a Mozilla Research software developer and ultimately sponsored by the company, Rust is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language that emphasizes memory safety and performance.
Its built-in ability to provide safe access to hardware and memory without a runtime or garbage collector enables developers to catch and address unsafe code before it reaches the user. More importantly, Rust provides this additional level of security without sacrificing speed or increasing memory consumption. This combination makes it a great fit for developers looking to reduce the frequency and prevalence of bugs without slowing down or otherwise impacting performance.
The primary drawback of Rust is its inherent difficulty. It has a steep learning curve that can be challenging for entry-level developers to grasp. In the short term, organizations might suffer a decrease in immediate productivity that can scare them away from this otherwise beneficial programming language. This arguably has led to Rust being less widely used than it should be, based on its capabilities and features. With that said, many of these once-hesitant organizations are now realizing that Rust development leads to secure, stable cloud-native apps.
As more and more companies begin to see the light when it comes to Rust, developers with active Rust certifications are going to be in high demand. If you have the skills to master the intricacies of this language, this can lead to lucrative job opportunities for years to come.
The best cloud development programming languages and tools depend on your project requirements and career goals
When it comes to development, choosing where to focus your skill-building can be something of a chicken-and-egg situation. You can analyze the current job market in your region, look for the most in-demand skills, and obtain the right certifications to land the job. Alternatively, you can focus on improving your proficiency with certain programming languages and frameworks and then scan the market for desirable openings that value your new skillset.
Either way, mastering any one or more of the programming languages and frameworks above will put you on the path to long-term, sustainable success.
 TIOBE, “TIOBE Index,” October 2022.
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