How Many Programming Languages Should You Learn?

How Many Programming Languages Should You Learn?

When it comes to software programming, the more languages a programmer can become fluent in, the better. Coding languages form the nucleus of what a programmer does in their work. There are programming languages, but how many should a programmer learn to achieve the best results in their overall career?


To achieve the best success in their position and make their skillset more versatile, programmers should learn at least three languages to cover procedures, functionality, and object orientation. New languages should be learned continuously throughout the length of a programmer’s career. 


Learning new programming languages should always be the objective of a programmer. This article will explore the essential languages that should be mastered as well as some programming languages that are recommended in the field today. 

What Are the Essential Programming Languages to Learn?

It is possible to become a programmer with only one programming language in your coding arsenal. If you are fresh from completing a coding program or a recent college graduate, you will probably be familiar with at least one essential coding language—HTML, JavaScript, Python, etc. 


One language is enough to secure yourself a position in either the workforce or a successful freelancer prospect. But employers looking to hire programmers will typically want to see more fluency in multiple languages, with three basic fundamentals having been mastered: procedural language, object-oriented language, and the mastery of at least one language that corresponds to functionality in coding. 


Let’s take a look at each of these foundations in more detail:

Procedural Language

When it comes to script and software programming, procedural languages are crucial in having a program that can adequately relay commands to a computer. Without a firm knowledge in procedural language programming, coding becomes a maze of algorithms and computations that are unable to relay commands between a program and the terminal properly. 


A good way to understand the procedural language in coding is to think of a program and its relationship to the computer it resides within. Without proper procedures to kickstart functionality, you would basically have a useless program that cannot display or transmit appropriate input. 


Pascal is a good example of a procedural language. 

Object-Oriented Language

The object-oriented programming language is a crucial coding language to master since this language is best suited for large and complex programs that frequently need reconfiguration in data sets or ‘objects.’ 


This type of language brings the individual objects that a programmer wishes to focus on into focus. Applying logic is not necessarily the goal in object-oriented programming, but rather the means of manipulating a specific object into what the developer would like the object to in relation to the wider goal of how a program should function. 


To make this easier to digest, picture a random everyday object such as a microwave. The microwave exists in a state of cohabitation with other objects, such as food and human beings. Each of these objects has its own identity and reason for use based on the individual object’s goals—a microwave to cook food for human consumption. 


Each object has a method, and various variables have to exist and are manipulated to make the objects do what the basic coding procedures will not allow. This is where code manipulation comes into play through the object-oriented language. 


Object-oriented language is basically coding 101. JavaScript is a popular example of this language, and this type of programming is a stepping stone to other types. 

Functional Language

Functional programming languages have really started to become more popular in recent years when it comes to programming. Functional language is essentially a more advanced evolution of what is commonly seen with object-oriented programming. Functions form the key applications in how code relates to the commands in a program. 


Whereas procedural and object-oriented language responds to commands and methods to create programmer-desired manipulations in code, functional language relies on mathematical functions to solve inconsistencies and any unwanted side effects. 


In basic terms, a functional language relies on mathematical certainty to issue flawless coding. With this in mind, a firm commitment to understanding mathematical functions and how they relate to coding can be a challenge, but a rewarding challenge since this type of language is becoming more and more commonplace in programming. 


Lisp is an excellent example of a functional programming language.

What Specific Programming Languages Are Popular Today?

Procedural, object-oriented, and functional languages are the three types of programming languages you should strive to become proficient in. But what specific languages in these fields are good options to become acquainted with? Let’s take a look at each of these programming languages in more detail below.


Java is one of the primary coding languages that you’ll learn across a variety of coding schools. Whether you’re trying to run simple programs or you want to design complicated algorithms, Java is the root of many applications.


As stated by Dev, Java can be a bit complex for beginners. You’ll have to learn abstract concepts that are far outside of average coding knowledge. Fortunately, there are plenty of online courses, books, and college classes that can catch you up to speed.


This may seem like a no-brainer, and that is definitely a true assumption. JavaScript is the essential first chapter when it comes to considering a programming language. It is because JavaScript is practically everywhere, even on the webpage you are looking at now when reading this article. 


JavaScript is perhaps the most popular example of an object-oriented language. Due to its versatility in creating seamless front-end and back-end web development a breeze, employers are always looking for JavaScript proficiency. 


Once you have mastered HTML and CSS’s essentials, moving on to JavaScript is a wise move and is really a matter of necessity due to the popular demand for programmers proficient in this language. 


Python is a leading programming language for data science and computer science. If you want to know how to create variables and algorithms on the fly, then Python should be at the top of your list. While it’s not as complicated as R (for the most part), many programmers find that it’s a worthwhile language.


The main reason that programmers and coders use Python is that it’s a universal coding language that’s used in different applications. Most companies who hire data scientists and other programmers want someone who can do their work in Python.

Furthermore,  You don’t need to spend a dime to start using Python on a basic level.  That being said, Python has countless eBooks, books, audiobooks, courses, and other types of educational material dedicated to coders of all experience levels.


When it comes to the number of programming languages that you should learn, start with one and continue to build your language mastery each and every year. Remember to gain a mastery of the following three languages:


  • Procedure
  • Object-orientation
  • Functionality


The more programming languages you can grasp, the better you will become as a programmer, but challenging yourself to learn more complex languages can make you more versatile. 

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