Types of Coding Languages: 2021 Comprehensive Guide
With the increase of information technology professions, the usage of and demand for coding language skills has also increased. If you want to enter the tech job market, it’s important to know about the different types of coding languages and what they are used for.
Our article includes a comprehensive guide on what a coding language is, the differences between low-level, middle-level, and high-level coding languages, and the different types of programming paradigm. We will also include the top 10 most popular programming languages to learn in 2021.
Keep reading to find out about the different coding languages used in various tech professions. The information in this article can help coding newbies set career goals and help working professionals upskill with programming knowledge.
What Is a Coding Language?
A coding language is essentially a tool that enables the communication between human beings and computers. A computer’s native language is binary code, which uses zeroes and ones as its alphabet. Coding languages translate the human language into binary code.
Coding languages are used for a multitude of computer science purposes, including application development, website building, software development, cybersecurity, and web design. The coding languages you’ll need to learn will vary depending on which of the many computer science careers you decide to go into.
For instance, cybersecurity professionals mostly use Python, data scientists use Python, C++, and C, and software engineers use Java, Python, and C++.
How Many Coding Languages Are There?
It is reported that there are around 700 different coding languages, among which there are 200 to 300 popular programming languages. Today’s world of computer science and information technology features a wide range of coding languages used for an array of purposes.
Why Are There So Many Coding Languages?
There are so many coding languages because there are many different types of tech tasks. The go-to language in one tech field might not be used at all in another. In addition, programmers continue to develop new languages to better perform tasks. Developers and other tech professionals often have coding language preferences for certain tasks.
There is a language of choice for everything, including websites, mobile app development, game programming, backend databases, and front-end development. Hence, there is a large number of modern programming languages that exist to cater to a variety of tech fields.
What Are the Types of Coding Languages and Their Uses?
The many types of programming languages include object-oriented programming languages, functional languages, esoteric languages, scripting languages, hardware description languages, modern languages, algorithmic languages, machine languages, procedural languages, and visual languages.
One way to divide the different types of programming languages is to place them into three levels of languages. These include high-level languages, middle-level languages, and low-level languages.
Read on to find an in-depth description of the different levels of coding languages, the common programming languages that fall under those levels, and what they are used for.
Low-Level Coding Languages
Low-level coding languages are often considered to be the hardest programming languages as they are closest to the computer’s binary digits. The instructions the computer gets from low-level languages have a lower level of abstraction and translates more easily to the computer.
Low-level languages exist to provide a direct command coding route to the computer’s hardware and CPU, which makes the code run faster and often leaves behind a small memory footprint. Machine languages and assembly languages are two main types of low-level coding languages.
Just as the name implies, machine languages are languages for the machine, and therefore, are written in binary code or have hexadecimal numbers that consist of zeroes and ones. This type of programming language provides the binary code for a CPU to directly understand and implement.
The high-level languages used by programmers to write source codes such as C++ and Swift are translated for scripts and programs into a low-level language so the CPU can recognize it.
Assembly languages were created in the 1940s to automatically translate the syntax of high-level languages to binary code. They act as a link between machine languages and the high-level languages understood by humans. Just the letter A in binary code is 01000001, so human beings cannot be expected to code an entire software program using binary digits.
Many types of assembly languages are widely used today, including Digital Signal Processor (DSP), Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC), and Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW). These languages are commonly used for performance improvement, hardware manipulation, and processor instruction.
Middle-Level Coding Languages
Middle-level coding languages, also known as pseudo-languages, are languages that improve the translated high-level source code input by programmers. Similar to assembly languages, middle-level languages cannot be directly understood by the computer hardware and merely play the role of polishing the source code to make it more efficient.
Some of the modern middle-level programming languages are C, C++, and Java. Today, Java is one of the most common languages used in backend development and serves as a prominent language for client-server applications. Additionally, C is used to develop operating systems like Microsoft Windows.
Similar to Java and C, C++ is also involved in the backend development process. It is used to develop apps with high-performance requirements.
High-Level Coding Languages
High-level programming languages are often considered less complex languages since they are written in a natural language that is easy for humans to understand. Tech professionals like software developers, software engineers, and data scientists use these languages for an array of purposes, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and game engines.
Overall, high-level languages allow a programmer to easily modify code, debug, and make the code portable from one computer to another.
Types of Programming Paradigms
Programming paradigms essentially differentiate the coding languages based on their features, procedures, and functionality. There are multiple types of programming paradigms, and we have listed the major ones below.
Functional programming (FP) is a popular programming paradigm that develops software using pure functions whose outcomes are dependent on the input parameters. FP is used across all modern high-level languages to avoid data modification outside the function.
Python, Haskell, SQL, Scala, and Erlang are some of the most prominent functional programming languages. Functional programming just focuses on the results and mimics mathematical functions for software development.
Some benefits of using FP include easy code debugging, easy unit test execution, parallel processing, improved developer productivity, and supported nested functions. Functional programming can, however, require extensive refactoring and environmental setup.
Logical programming is a type of programming paradigm that uses formal logic circuits to represent the input and knowledge fed to the machine, and inference programming is used to determine the results. Logic programming feeds the system evidence, data, and reasoning, and allows the system to come up with an intelligent outcome.
Artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning are great examples of what logic programming is used for. Popular languages used for logic programming include Prolog, Alice, Absys, and Cycl. Logical programming increases program flexibility, is useful in non-computational fields, and has code inputs that are independent of the outcome.
Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm that uses objects and concepts for software structuring. Today, desktop applications, database systems, backend databases, and most of the content on the web are all made using OOP.
Object-oriented programming is the standard way of learning to code for developers and programmers. OOP uses both code and data in its objects and follows four primary principles: abstraction, encapsulation, polymorphism, and inheritance.
An object-oriented programming language allows function reusability, parallel development, easy maintenance, built-in encapsulation, and better modular structuring. Python, PHP, Java, C++, Lisp, and Perl are some of the popular OOP languages.
Procedural programming is a paradigm that provides step-by-step logical instructions to a machine and treats procedures and data as separate entities. It is one of the first paradigms learned by developers and consists of several prominent features. They include local and global variables, predefined functions, and parameter passing.
Some benefits of procedural programming paradigms include portable source code, reusable code, minimized memory requirements, and easy program flow tracking. Some common procedural programming languages are BASIC, C, and Pascal.
10 Most Popular Coding Languages to Learn in 2021: Overview
|Coding Language||Type of Coding Language|
10 Most Popular Coding Languages in 2021 and Their Uses
Now that you know the most popular coding languages in 2021, keep reading to find the purpose of the languages and their uses. This list can be useful for anyone who wants to become a software engineer, computer programmer, full-stack developer, or data scientist.
According to Stack Overflow, Python was the third-most-loved language by developers in 2020. Python’s simple syntax and emphasis on natural language make it a popular language. Python is a high-level, object-oriented, functional, general-purpose language. Artificial intelligence, web development, app development, and games all use Python.
Python is an industry-flexible language and is used by a wide range of professionals, including developers, software engineers, data scientists, and machine learning engineers. Top companies including NASA, IBM, and Facebook use this language.
C is considered a low- or middle-level, structured, general-purpose language that is used for scripting OS and desktop applications. The language is used by software developers in games, graphics, Python interpretation, iOS applications, and database development. Linux, Windows, Oracle, and Unix heavily use C.
Often considered the mother of programming languages because it is so close to the machine language, C allows for the best programming at the system level.
Java is a mid-level and object-oriented language that is used to develop backend software for OS platforms and client servers. Backend developers, IT managers, and Java developers use Java. Companies like Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and Citigroup use Java. The language is popular because it is platform-independent.
C++ is an extension of C and is an object-oriented, high-level language used to create high-performing applications. You can develop everything from games, OS, databases, and browsers with C++. Today you can become a web developer, quality analyst, or game programmer with C++. The language is widely used for its reliability and concurrency support.
PHP or Hypertext Preprocessor is a high-level, server-side scripting language used to build dynamic websites, collect form data, and work with cookies. Full-stack and backend developers at companies including Facebook, WordPress, and Wikipedia use PHP. Learning PHP is easy because of its established codebase.
C# is a modern and general-purpose coding language that is platform-independent and is primarily used for desktop and web-based applications development. Microsoft and Unity are two high-profile companies that use C#. You can become a game designer, web developer, or applications developer with C#. The language has been around for over two decades and provides easy syntax readability to its users.
If you are interested in a career in data science, you should learn R. It’s used for statistical computing and data visualization. It is a diverse language used by data scientists, researchers, statisticians, and data analysts. R is very popular as it allows for structured and unstructured complex data analysis.
Swift was developed by Apple in 2014. It is a multi-paradigm and general-purpose compiled coding language used for Linux and iOS application development. It is an open-source language that is popular because of its rapid development process, easy scaling, minimal memory footprint, and full-stack potential.
You can become an iOS developer, software engineer, or SwiftUI frameworks engineer with Swift knowledge.
Structured query language (SQL) is considered the standard language for relational database management systems and is used for database communications. Every data science professional is required to learn SQL. The language is popular due to its database flexibility.
Best Online Coding Courses in 2021
So, where do you learn these popular coding languages? There are several coding courses offered by coding bootcamps and massive open online course (MOOC) platforms. Below are five top coding courses offered for free.
1. Coding Bootcamp Prep Online by Flatiron School
- Cost: Free
- Duration: Self-paced
2. Intro to Coding by Fullstack Academy
- Cost: Currently free
- Duration: Self-paced
3. Computer Programming by Khan Academy
- Cost: Free
- Duration: Self-paced
- Cost: Free
- Duration: 30 hours self-paced
5. C Programming: Getting Started by edX
- Cost: Free
- Duration: 5 weeks self-paced
The C programming introductory course on edX covers the principles of the language and hands-on coding activities. You will learn simple C programs, variables, computer algorithms, and variable modification of data types.
Types of Coding Languages FAQ
Malbolge, Brainfuck, COW, and INTERCAL are some of the hardest coding languages to learn.
You can learn coding languages on online platforms like Udemy, edX, and Coursera. You can also take advantage of free prep courses offered by coding boot camps like Flatiron School and Fullstack Academy.
The coding language you should learn depends on your choice of profession. However, you can start by learning Python, which is both in-demand and among the easiest to learn.