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Coding Skills Every Computer Programmer Should Know

If you’re like most computer programmers looking to advance in your career, availability of jobs requiring certain skills, together with related earnings potential, largely determine what computer languages you’re considering learning next. Your current coding responsibilities, or specific project requirements, also help direct your future course.

Whatever your impetus, you see the programming field undergoing constant change — and you have no real way of predicting where it’ll be when you get done whatever training you embark on today. Whether you intend to focus on front-end (“client-side”) or back-end (“server-side”) programming, you may find it best to develop a solid foundation in essential coding languages.

Besides creating a good basis for developing your “stack” of programming skills, a good fundamental grounding in coding will greatly facilitate your ability to:
1. Tackle most programming projects that come your way.
2. Sustain your programming career (while bolstering your earning potential).
3. Learn new programming languages easily and well.
Every computer programmer should know the following essential coding languages to build a foundation for any programming career.

Essential coding skills for web design and data management

No matter where your computer programming career takes you, you want to make sure you have a good foundation of skills in website design and data management. This means you need to know HTML5, CSS3, and SQL.
• HTML is what virtually every website is constructed in; other design languages just tell HTML what to do. HTML5 makes language dynamic allowing you to create truly beautiful sites.
• CSS styles a website through HTML. CSS3 delivers dynamic design hand-in-hand with HTML5.
• SQL is a universal database query language that’s versatile and easy to learn. With increasing demand for data mining and manipulation, demand for what SQL excels at continues to grow.
SQL has a number of variants, e.g., MySQL, NoSQL, and Microsoft SQL.


Rasmus Lerdorf designed PHP in 1995, and it is used today extensively in web development in conjunction with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. PHP is now the most popular server-side programming language in the world, used on 80+ percent of websites, including:
• Facebook
• Wikipedia
• Tumblr
PHP is considered by many to be the “language of the web.” It is the base code used in WordPress, which powers 28% of all websites worldwide.


Created by James Gosling also in 1995, Java is used today by millions of developers and billions of devices around the globe. Consider that:
• All native Android apps are constructed in Java.
• Ninety percent of companies listed in the Fortune 500 use Java.
• Cloud platforms are largely created and managed using Java.
According to Gooroo, Java ranks first in monthly programming job listings. Out of 11 major “media markets” ranked by Coding Dojo, Java ranks first in Philadelphia — and second in all the rest — in demand for programming languages.


JavaScript was originally designed by Brendan Eich, also in 1995, to improve the state of the worldwide web. This dynamic scripting language is used for both front-end and server-side development and is compatible across all browsers.

JavaScript is now used in over 90 percent of web pages.

JavaScript is the most popular language on StackOverflow, a major online community for software developers. It ranks second behind Java in monthly job listings, according to Gooroo. It is the single most demanded coding language in the New York and Houston media markets, according to Coding Dojo, coming in second in Philadelphia. It ranks third in the eight other metro areas on the list.


C was developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs in the late 1960s and originally released in 1972. C++ was created by Bjarne Stroustrup, also at Bell Labs, as an extension of the C language. It was first released in 1989.

Without these languages, your computer may not work at all. Consider that:
• Most every operating system is written in C or C++.
• Almost every major computer language interfaces with C or C++.
• Most desktop software, web browsers, office suites, and games are written in C or C++.
The combined total of monthly job listings calling for C or C++ skills, according to Gooroo, comes in second behind Java — and ahead of JavaScript. Even more importantly, concepts you learn when developing your C++ skills help you with every other programming language you put your mind to later.

What languages to learn next

If you’re like most computer programmers, you’ll end up learning a variety of computer languages over a coding career. Where your individual programming path takes you depends on a number of different factors. But with a strong foundation in the above coding languages, you can more confidently design your own career future.

-IEEE SPECTRUM: “The 2017 Top Programming Languages”
-InfoWorld: “Get paid! 10 programming languages to learn in 2017”
-Forbes: “The Five Most In-Demand Coding Languages”
-Coding Dojo: “The 9 Most In-Demand Programming Languages of 2017”
-Medium: “Top 10 of Programming Languages With The Highest Salaries In 2017”
-Elena Ruchko: “Why Learn Python? Here Are 8 Data-Driven Reasons”
-DMR: “42 Amazing WordPress Statistics and Facts (April 2017)”

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