5 Must-Learn Programming Languages for Aspiring Programmers

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5 Must-Learn Programming Languages for Aspiring Programmers

Computer technology is an ever-expanding field. This means versatility is a programmer’s best option. Veteran programmers will tell you that it is not what programming language you know that gets you ahead. If you limit your knowledge of languages, the one you are proficient in may be old news in six months. In some projects, you need to know more than one language just to complete the job. Let’s look closer at five must-have languages for the aspiring programmer.


Get the basics with a starter language such as C#. This is an object-oriented language that is a must-have for those who want to be part of the Microsoft generation. This language is a product of Microsoft and key to the .NET Web and Windows applications. C# falls under the category of a general-purpose language. Primarily, you find it in software components. It works on the same principle as C or C++ where you create source code that is put through a compiler. This is an option for those interested in broad programming projects like operating systems and larger applications. In many ways, C# is similar to Java, another vital object-oriented language. Learning C# will help you when the time comes to train in Java.


Java is the flip side of object-oriented programming. It is the language you should know if you don’t want to be part of the Microsoft generation. Java is the creation of Sun Microsystems. If you master C#, then Java is the next logical step because they have similar format and syntax. It is the go to option for user interfaces. Java code runs with the Java Virtual Machine, a component of the Java software platform. By creating the JVM, Sun made Java a language that can work on almost any operating system as long as it has the Java platform.


PHP is one of the kings of web development. This is a cross-platform, open-source, server-side scripting language used to build websites. The basis for most web pages is HTML. PHP is a language that you can embed into the HTML to create different functions and applications. Adding PHP to a website makes it dynamic. PHP is also a language that can work at the command-line level of an operating system to create graphical interfaces.


AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Technically, it is not one language, but two. AJAX allows a web page to update without reloading. In most cases, when a page changes, the browser must reparse the code. This means there is an interruption for the user viewing that page as they visually see the page reload. With AJAX, updates can be made behind the scenes so there is no interruption. If you want to know how vital AJAX is, look at who is using it. One of the biggest fans of AJAX programming is Google. AJAX is the man behind the scenes when you do a Google search. It allows your search results to always be up-to-date.

JavaScript and XML

Okay, technically they are two languages, but they are good ones. Both languages are a foundation before you master AJAX. Although both languages are crucial to the AJAX platform, they have value on their own, as well. Extensible markup language, XML, allows you to separate data from the formatting on a web page. This means you change the text on the page without altering the code that creates the layout. JavaScript is a scripting language that creates functions for web pages. You might embed JavaScript to validate a form or create cookies. JavaScript is a language you will come across often if you want a career in web development.

Ultimately, the best thing a would-be programmer can do to stay on top of the competition is follow the trends. The must-know languages of today might be replaced with new super stars in five years. The type of programming you do is also part of the equation. A game developer might need to know how to build in Flash, which uses ActionScript. A website designer needs to understand PHP and ASP. Computer programming is always moving forward. Make sure that you move with it.

What are your thoughts?

Taggart writes for CableTV.com, check them out for XFINITY Internet. In his free time he writes about his three main passions: business, technology, and entertainment. You can follow him on Twitter: @CallMeTagg.

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