Skilled coders know how to use multiple programming languages. But top programming language should you learn?

Computer programming languages are the backbone of coding. In the same way written languages like English or Spanish communicate ideas, programming languages allow data scientists to input requests to create a specific output.

From JavaScript to Python, programming languages are abundant. And while these languages can overlap, each one carries distinct features allowing data scientists to work on specific projects, like app development and website creation.

With so many programming languages, we find it helpful to understand which are the most commonly used and sought after by potential employers. Stack Overflow, an open community for programmers, conducts a yearly survey asking people from their community to analyze different facets of the developer experience.

According to their 2020 annual survey, which received nearly 65,000 responses overall, the most used programming languages are: JavaScript (67.7%); HTML/CSS (63.1%); SQL (54.7%);  Python (44.1%); and Java (40.2%).

In contrast, TIOBE index, another programming community, conducts a monthly survey. In January 2021, TIOBE ranked Java, Javascript, and Python among the top 10 programming languages.

Learning These Top 10 Computer Programming Languages is Essential to Becoming an Expert Coder

Ultimately, while the individual rankings may vary becoming well-versed in more than one programming language is essential to securing a job in technology. To know which language may be the right fit for your skill level or the type of data scientist you’re interested in becoming, here is a list explaining the primary purpose for the top programming languages:


Java is an object-oriented, concurrent language. Object-oriented languages divide the problem into groups of objects and deliver specific tasks to solve the problem.

Java may take more time to learn than some of the other programming languages listed because it’s more complex. However, Java can run on any platform, making it useful on the web or when developing Android apps.


Python is a general-purpose, high-level language used for making websites. Though it is similar to Java, Python is a scripting language, so it is used for server-side programming.

Python is considered an easy program to learn and an ideal option for a data scientist who isn’t searching for a particular objective but can serve multiple uses.


Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language developed at IBM in the 1970s. The language allows data scientists to manipulate data in databases. It can also help data scientists find specific patterns or organize data easily and efficiently.

SQL is used in various job fields. It can be utilized to develop an application database, a hospital management system, or a library management system, which makes it a highly employable skill.


JavaScript is a scripting language allowing data scientists to develop code running on all web browsers. Scripting languages often don’t require compiling and don’t have rules or complicated syntax.

Commonly considered an easy language to learn, JavaScript runs on the web, no program needed. According to the Pluralsight Technology Index, JavaScript ranked as the top program for software development.


Similar to JavaScript, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and CSS Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are programming languages that involve the web. 

HTML is a markup language, focusing on page structure, whereas CSS is the language that allows coders to work on the layout or visual presentation of the page. Details such as color or font size are adjusted when a coder works on CSS. 

Overall, it isn’t necessary to learn all the programming languages mentioned. The great thing about pursuing a career in coding is that there isn’t one set choice. Instead, like coding, there’s an endless set of possibilities in-store, all at your fingertips.

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.