When you’re new to the programming world, it’s normal to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of programming languages. After all, there are hundreds of languages out there. There’s Ruby, Java, PHP, C#, and that’s only a few of them!

Don’t stress out. Take a deep breath. We’re here to help. Here’s are two easy steps you can take to begin understanding the differences in some of the most common languages!

First, remember Java is different than JavaScript. Don’t worry if you get them confused at first. Everybody does.

Second, keep reading this blog post. It’s a handy introduction to the top languages.

A quick guide to the top programming languages

  • Ruby: Ruby is a beginner-friendly and dynamic language. It powers Ruby on Rails, which is a framework used to quickly develop sites and applications. Ruby is used on sites like Twitter and Shopify. In fact, our own Learn How to Program site, where our Epicodus curriculum is hosted, is built using Ruby and Rails!

  • Java: Java is a static programming language used in Android and desktop apps, video games, and general back-end development. It’s widely considered to be one of the most stable and secure languages around.

  • JavaScript: JavaScript is a super common programming language. It’s mostly used for client-side front-end development. JavaScript is actually used in over 90% of all web pages!

  • C#: C# is popular with larger businesses and is backed by Microsoft. Microsoft has made C# open source, so it can run on other operating systems like Mac and Linux.

  • PHP: PHP is a server-side language useful for web development, especially for content-heavy sites. Content management systems like WordPress and Drupal are written in PHP.

  • SQL: SQL (Structured Query Language) is used to communicate with databases. While it’s not a programming language like the others listed above (you couldn't build a website or app solely in SQL, for instance), SQL is used to build and manage the databases apps and websites use.


What’s the best coding language to learn right now?

It depends. We know, we know. That’s a cop-out answer—but it’s true. The best coding language to learn depends on whether you want to focus on front-end or back-end development. For more information on that decision, check out this post on what programming languages to learn.

If we’re talking about the best coding language for to learn first, we recommend JavaScript. Simple JavaScript is beginner-friendly and easy to run in any basic browser. That's why our Intro to Programming course (the very first course in each track we offer) introduces the fundamentals in JavaScript.

If we’re talking about the most popular programming languages, that’s a different story. According to the 2016 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, JavaScript, Java, and C# were among the most-used technologies. Out of 56,000 developers, 55.4% use JavaScript, 36.3% use Java. 30.9% use C#. That's why, in addition to the JavaScript our students learn in their Intro to Programming course, every track also includes a 5-week JavaScript course.

However, if we’re talking about the best coding language of all time, then we don’t have an answer for you. Each language has its own pros, cons, and recommended uses. The industry is also constantly evolving - new languages are being developed constantly, every day. At Epicodus, we prepare for this change by equipping our students with strong programming fundamentals that are relevant to any type of technology. Our alumni have gone on to work in other languages and with other tools thanks to the solid foundation they acquired during their time in the courses.


Ready to learn?

Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on the top programming languages, are you ready to start learning?

If you’re interested in expanding your coding language skill set, learn more about what a typical week at Epicodus looks like.