The demand for computer scientists has never been more fierce.  The world we live in is evolving; everything around us undergoing a digital makeover.  These transformations do not happen by themselves…specialists are required to ensure these new products and services reach the end-user seamlessly and without interruption.

The term Computer Science is a broad umbrella. Beneath it are various subfields, all of which require different professionals with different specialisms, tasks and skills.

One commonality across all these fields is the requirement of writing instructions in the form of code.  Programming is the epicentre of Computer Science, giving the power to create functionality and to remove or add features.

Right now, in 2021 the number of programming languages has hit the three-digit mark.  With such a variety of languages out there, how do you make the decision which to learn, expand into or even start with?  When you factor in that each programming language has its own uses, and each programming job has different requirements, it could be considered a daunting arena to say the least.

Last year, we gave you a helping hand with our rundown of The Best Programming languages to learn in 2020.  This year, we take another look into the world of software engineering.  What has changed and what has stayed the same?  We look in more detail at the Top Programming Languages to learn in 2021.

ignite, digital, tech, women in tech, STEM, gender gap


Remaining at the top of the tree is Python.

If you are just starting your career in 2021, Python is a language that every programmer should have in their arsenal.  Python has an intuitive and easy-to-learn syntax.  It is for this reason that it is a great starting point for a beginner.

Python is versatile and can be used almost anywhere.  Although Python is the preferred language in the areas of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, AI, and other data science fields, it is also great if you want to work on some back-end application of a website or mobile app.

It could be argued its place at the top of the pile is down to its critical role in the field of data science.  Data is king and possibly the hottest topic in tech.  As businesses continue to extract insight from data analysis and use it to grow their markets, libraries such as TensorFlow, Keras and Scikit have made the computation required for running different models cheap and fast to execute.

The availability and versatile nature of all kinds of libraries in Python have allowed this language to grow and grow. It is not only the big names that use Python. A lot of start-ups are using Python as their primary backend stack.

Arguably it is this meeting of the established and the emerging that makes this language a great place to start….it opens a whole world of opportunity for full-stack Python developers

From 2020 -2021, Python is great for fresh grads and seasoned programmers. It shows no sign of slowing.

Are you a graduate developer looking to kick start your career in 2021? Head here to apply for this fantastic Graduate Developer opportunity.


Second on our list of the Top Programming Languages of 2021 is JavaScript.  JavaScript is considered to be the standard programming language of the web and is used in almost every website you have seen on the internet.  Websites that you head to without a thought…Google, YouTube and Wikipedia were all created using JavaScript, making it the unrivalled leader in the web development department.

JavaScript’s wide use is thanks to its versatility.  It provides a syntax that allows it to be used in both the front and back end of websites.  Just like HTML and CSS, JavaScript allows users to make websites more dynamic by adding functionalities to the elements present in the site. If you have ever clicked on a button that opens a pop-up, it is likely that the logic is implemented in JavaScript.

Additionally, JavaScript is the fundamental language used in web frameworks such as React, Vue and Node.  Many start-up organisations today are using NodeJS which is a JavaScript-based run-time environment. NodeJS lets developers use JavaScript for server-side scripting.  Programmers can produce dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user’s web browser. Now with JavaScript, you can use a single programming language for server-side and client-side scripts.


Java is another top programming language of 2021.  Although it is one of the oldest languages out there, it is still highly in-demand.

The fact that Java is scalable, high performing with a strong memory allocation make it the programming language of choice for large organisations.  As well as a mass of repositories that can be found at GitHub, tech giants such as Amazon, Twitter and Adobe come under its list of users.

Java is also widely used in android development.  Perhaps it is down to the recent growth in popularity of Android applications which makes java such a highly sought after skill in 2021. This fact alone is a huge green light for Java developers, especially because Google has created an excellent Java-based Android development framework – Android Studio.

Much like Python, Java has an abundance of open-source libraries and is ideal for distributed computing. It also offers a lot of APIs for accomplishing different tasks, such as database connection, networking, utilities, and XML parsing. It is also highly secure due to the exclusion of explicit pointer and its inclusion of a security manager responsible for defining the access of classes.

Are you a Java Developer looking for your next opportunity? Why not see if this Senior Java Developer job is up your street?

C / C ++.

Thanks to its speed and high levels of functionality, C/ C++ is used in the majority of low-level systems; operating systems, embedded systems and kernel development, for example.  It is also used as a baseline in the development of other programming languages, so a solid understanding of C/C++ will help you should you want to move on to learning other programming languages in the future.

C / C++ has a large set of libraries and a stable nature, so it is a go–to for game development, computer graphics, virtual reality, and more.

C++ also provides something called STL – Standard Template Library. STL is a pool of ready-to-use libraries for data structures, arithmetic operations, and algorithms.  It has a significant following within the High-Frequency trading community as well, thanks to the speed of the language and this significant library support.

Should you be looking for a role in a big-hitting organisation, C / C++ is definitely a top programming language for you; companies like Nvidia, Google, Microsoft, and Apple are often on the lookout for C/C++ developers.


C# is a programming language developed by Microsoft and has made a name for itself among the web and game development communities.  It is most typically used in the Unity software used for building 2D and 3D video games.

C# also plays a significant part in building Windows applications and as a result builds the back end of sites such as Bing and Visual Studio.

It follows a syntax similar to the C programming language and is fully integrated with the .Net library. Despite this though, it offers less flexibility than C++ and requires more time and effort to learn. Resolving issues is not for the beginner! Managing error requires a significant level of expertise and knowledge.

Are you a C# Developer with skills in Java and SQL? Check out this great Software Engineer job here.


Golang, or “Go” for short is a programming language developed by Google.  Golang’s ride to the top of the programming languages to learn league has been slow and steady.  Perhaps thanks to its creators, it is one of most widely used languages in Silicon Valley.

It has a clean syntax which makes it easier to learn, and the fact it is a statically typed language makes it easier to learn.

Go is designed in such a way that it can readily support multithreading and allows processes to run concurrently.  It is for this reason that Go is the language used for creating projects like Kubernetes, Docker and Blockchain, for example.

Google, Big Tech, OWID, Quantum, tech, Ignite


Data science, Machine Learning and AI remain three of the top tech trends of 2021.  As this triad continue to garner popularity, so too has the programming language, R.

Like Python, R is another language that provides a huge set of libraries and frameworks.  This makes R particularly ideal for those developing Machine learning algorithms and statistical models.

If data and analytics is your career of choice, R programming language is the one you should learn in 2021. Any company that requires a large collection of their data to pass through a process of analysis and visualisation will be looking for developers proficient in the R programming language.


Created in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, the very first incarnation of PHP was a simple set of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) binaries written in the C programming language.  Almost 30 years later, PHP is still going strong.  Although one of the older languages, PHP is still just as relevant as ever and a great programming language to learn in 2021.

Despite the popularity of languages like Python and JavaScript, PHP continues to be used by large companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Wikipedia.  There is still a huge demand for PHP developers in the market due to the fact that many websites run using PHP as their baseline.

It has an abundance of powerful frameworks and is easy to use if you are getting started in making web pages. It has lots of automation tools for testing and deploying applications with no scarcity of good automation tools for deployment and testing.

Should you wish to move into a secure organisation as a backend developer, then PHP is where you may like to focus your learning.

Lines of code used for software development


Swift is to Apple what Java and Kotlin are to Android.  It is a programming language developed by Apple for creating iOS applications.

Thanks to the fact that Apple is still standing firm and iOS apps are just as popular as ever, Swift is one of the most in-demand programming languages in 2021.

Despite competition from Flutter (Dart) and React Native as options for iOS development, Swift remains the most widely used and the most popular option.

We are looking for a passionate and dedicated Software Engineering and Development Manager. You will apply technology to deliver exceptional user-facing digital solutions including native Android & iOS apps, a customer facing website and various CMSs.

If this sounds like a bit of you, read more about this fantastic Developer job here.


Kotlin is a language developed by JetBrains whose work centres around the development of Android applications.  Google has placed Kotlin ahead of Java as the official language for Android development.

Android is currently the highest-selling mobile operating system, so the fact that Kotlin is on the list of the top programming languages to learn in 2021 is no great surprise.

Googleplex - Google Headquarters with Android figure

In summary…

In summary, the swift evolution of the computer science arena means it is crucial to know the current trends dictating the conversation and how these disciplines affect the choices you should make regarding your learning and career journey.  These decisions will be based upon the arena you wish to head into or the types of company you wish to work for.

If you are a software developer wishing to diversify your talents or extend your skills, we hope this list of the top programming languages to learn in 2021 helps you in your quest for coding supremacy!

Are you a Developer looking for a new challenge? Our progressive clients use the latest tech to transform the spaces in which they work. Let us help you be part of it.

Head over to our job pages to browse our current technology roles.









About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Scroll To Top