Incredibly, there are well over 700 programming languages in use today, and more are being developed all the time. Technology never stands still, and neither does the need for software to support it. Yet, it can be tricky to predict which programming languages will catch on, and which will fall by the wayside. Some might remember back in 1999 when REBOL busted onto the scene as the ultimate universal coding language, running on 38 different operating systems and working well with Internet-enabled apps. Seemed promising, and yet today you’d be hard pressed to find many coders who’ve even heard of it, let alone know how to write it.
Almost every programmer today needs to comfortable working with mainstream languages such as Java, Python and Ruby, and most are likely familiar with those increasing in popularity but still waiting to experience their big break into the mainstream such as Scala or Swift. Most coders agree that it takes three to six months to become adept at using a brand-new language, however, the demands of study or work can make investing such an amount of time tricky. It therefore pays to choose wisely when deciding what programming language to learn next, and your primary consideration should be which will stand the test of time, as well as provide ongoing future demand. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at four programming languages which look set to rule by 2030.
According to its CEO, over half of the games we enjoy today, especially those that are mobile-based, are built using Unity. It’s a great tool for prototyping just about everything, from games to interactive visualisations. 3D and real-time content is set to rule the world by 2030, and not just in gaming – it’s becoming an increasingly vital part of UX experience in general, as well as design and construction. What’s perhaps most striking about Unity is its versatility. For instance, it’s incredibly useful in real-time movie rendering for animation and cinematics, as well as creating ultra-realistic parts within the automotive and transportation sectors. Furthermore, it works on 30 platforms including Android, iOS, Windows, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch – brands that aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Considering the gaming sector alone, providing it maintains its steady rate of growth, the market value is set to double within the next seven years alone. This means that with near certainty, the demand for Unity framework-related programmers will have exploded by 2030. Furthermore, there’s plenty of beginner-friendly tutorials out there on YouTube to get you started, and the learning curve is much less steep than some of the more complex alternatives such as Unreal Engine.
Go, sometimes referred to as Golang, is an open-source language designed to make it easier to build efficient and reliable software. Originally designed at Google in 2007 at a time when the company was growing quickly and looking to manage ever-more complex infrastructure, it has quickly gained a surprising level of popularity, and looks set to become one of the leading modern programming languages. Go is completely compatible with DevOps, cloud, and containers, and is favoured by huge companies such as Dropbox, Uber and Twitter due to its speed and simplicity. Since Go was designed specifically for automation at a large scale, once you’ve got to grips with it, you’ll find that you’re more than able to write high-performing applications. Additionally, it’s a great sign that it has such a loyal user-base: according to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, it’s one of the most loved languages amongst developers who use it. It might seem incredible, therefore, that despite all these benefits, it’s relatively simple to learn and suitable even for a programming beginner – as easy as PHP or Pascal, yet as powerful as C++. Furthermore, there aren’t many Go developers around right now, which could push your salary up significantly. Interested? You can start right here!
R is another open-source programming language, but designed specifically for statistical computing and graphics, and is currently leading the way in using statistics to unlock patterns in large blocks of data. In fact, it was originally designed by statisticians to make this exact task less of a chore, which makes it incredibly popular with data scientists. R’s popularity, however, endures not only throughout the data science community, but into the business domain at large. The primary reason for this is that every successful company relies on interpreting and exploiting data (link to predictive analytics blog post), and R comes with a huge array of statistical and graphical methods such as time series, linear regression, non-linear modelling, ML algorithms, and much more. Additionally, R includes packages that complement a wide range of applications within finance and econometrics, making it a great option for developers and entrepreneurs, too. R is the trusted programming language of major brands such as Airbnb, HSBC and Bank of America, to name only a few. Thanks to its versatility, R has gained many fans in a variety of industries. For example, it’s used in computational Biology to conduct genomic analysis, and by finance companies such as those mentioned above to analyse and detect fraudulent activity. In short, it’s certainly made an impression, and seems to be here to stay.
This one’s especially vital for any budding programmers aspiring to work in the field of Android app development – a sound choice, considering the operating system’s incredible popularity looks set to continue well beyond 2030. Originally developed by JetBrains as a language that would displace Java entirely in the creation of Android apps, Kotlin is an open-source, statically-typed language that was crowned by Google in 2019 as its priority language within this arena. Much more straightforward than Java thanks to its clean and concise code, it also has the added benefit of being specifically designed for Android app development, rather than a multi-purpose language like Java. It also bears the advantage over its competitor as having a more transparent and easier to understand syntax, along with being less ‘bulky’ – as a project expands in Java, the number of code lines will increase logarithmically, which can make it pretty tricky to find what you’re looking for. Kotlin’s developers have specifically tried to remove this disadvantage. That’s not to say you need to choose one language over another, as both Java and Kotlin can interplay nicely within the same project. Importantly, for those looking to learn Kotlin, it’s relatively easy to pick up, and there’s also an abundance of great resources to get you started, along with supportive online communities that will be happy to coach you through any teething troubles. With Kotlin being crowned the second-fastest growing programming language after Swift, it certainly seems as though its popularity is here to stay.
Although there’s certainly a vast array of programming languages out there for developers to choose from, our best advice is to try to narrow down your field of interest, and work backwards. Confident you might head into data analytics? Choose R. Do you have a passion for the gaming scene? Unity is a sound choice. Additionally, do your research. If you’ll be learning independently, do some digging into what kind of tutorials and community support you’ll be able to access online, and what kind of prior experience and knowledge it would be useful to acquire before getting started. If you feel at some point you’ve made a bad choice, however, don’t panic – there’s really no such thing as learning the wrong programming language. Although they may appear very different, they all share similar patterns and structures. This means that whichever you choose, you’ll be introduced to key concepts and themes that will help you pick up others more quickly in the future.
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