Tips for Choosing a Programming Language for your IT Career & Projects

Choosing a programming language can be complicated as many aspects need consideration. You might wish it was as easy as choosing between various flavors of ice cream or pizza. Ask any developer or technical manager to understand what drives popular choices in the tech world.

Choosing a programming language can be complicated as many aspects need consideration. You might wish it was as easy as choosing between various flavors of ice cream or pizza. Ask any developer or technical manager to understand what drives popular choices in the tech world. In this article, you can learn what drives a choice of programming languages and the data-driven decisions developers should take to safeguard their careers while ensuring success in the projects they deliver.

Technology changes rapidly in today’s digital race, and the chosen language must get future potential to remain in use with strong developer communities, or else organizations can face maintenance and integration issues. Even young developers are keen to know which languages have excellent career potential, so they invest their time wisely.

Young developers may make the mistake of choosing a programming language because it’s trendy and cool. As a young developer, you can avoid these mistakes by referring to various tech forums and authentic sources like Slashdata’s – 22nd edition of The State of the Developer Nation (Q1 2022) that offer insights into popular programming languages and their growth trends.

Choosing a programming language

The choice of a programming language gets intertwined between your career aspirations and work experience. You learn a programming language and need to work on projects to gain relevant industry experience. So as a developer, you need to have a holistic approach to choosing a suitable language.

Choosing a programming language depends on various factors, and you should know all the components to get a better view and then make a choice. A good selection of programming languages will lead to spending less time on scaling, maintenance, and other aspects like security in projects.

Here are some typical questions you must ask when choosing a programming language for a project.

  • Does the programming language have proper community ecosystem support? Is it going to work over the long term? Is vendor support available?
  • What is the type of environment for the project – web solution, mobile, cross-platform, etc.?
  • Are there any infrastructure considerations like new hardware or particular deployment needs?
  • What do the clients prefer?
  • Are there any specific requirements for the programming language’s libraries, tools, or features?
  • Are experienced developers available for the programming language?
  • Are there any performance considerations, and can the language accommodate this performance?
  • Is there a security consideration or requirement for any third-party tool?

It would help if you remembered that irrespective of the chosen programming language, you can write good or bad code with any language. Besides the typical questions above, it’s advisable to consider a few critical factors in-depth before choosing a programming language. In programming, adherence to widely accepted design principles and philosophies is essential.

Some critical considerations driving the choice of a language include the following:

1. Type of application

The type of application varies from complicated embedded firmware to web and mobile. Common programming languages like Java, Python, JavaScript and C# can build different types of applications on various platforms. There are also situations where specific languages work better. With the rise in mobile apps, for example, you would choose Java for building a native Android app or a C and C++ combination for an embedded firmware project.

2. Complexity of applications

Identifying the application’s size and complexity helps determine the choice of programming language. The smaller and simple applications like marketing websites or webforms can use content management systems (CMS) like WordPress that may need minimal programing. On the other hand, complex applications like e-commerce websites or enterprise applications or emerging technology applications like IoT devices or AI-based applications may require Java or C#. As a technical manager, you can be an expert in gauging complexity with various experiences.

3. Organization culture

The choice of Open source technologies vs. proprietary software tends to rest with the organization’s culture and a direction often set by management. All programming languages have a trade-off, and some companies may choose one that is scalable, while others may pick one that has a shorter learning curve and is easy for the developers. Whatever the culture, the priority should be on choosing a language that optimally addresses the project needs. You can easily understand an organization’s choice once you start working on their technology stack.

4. Time to market:

Businesses rely on getting their product to the market early for competitive gains. Choosing new programming technologies and languages is better for a project with longer timelines. You can complete your project faster by leveraging the developers’ existing skills. For example, if you already have an AWS-based cloud environment and relevant team expertise, it will be quicker to work on it than move to another technology environment.

5. Maintainability

Technology stacks have their library ecosystems and vendor support. Choose a programming language with regular update releases that will stay current for some time. Maintaining the codebase is essential, and maintenance costs depend on the availability of developers. For example, as per today’s trends hiring Java, C#, Python, or PHP developers is easy and cost-effective. Organizations can make a data-driven decision by looking at the size of programming language communities from various industry reports from Slashdata.

6. Scalability, performance, and security:

The performance of the application depends on your choice of programming languages. It becomes essential when the development environment has limitations on scaling. Some popular tech stacks with great scalability include Ruby on Rails (RoR), .NET, Java Spring, LAMP, and MEAN.

It would be best if you protected applications from cyber threats. Following the security guidelines are crucial before choosing any programming language for your application. For example, a financial application needs PCI compliance, while healthcare-related applications need HIPAA compliance. Your choice of programming languages must be able to deliver application compliance.

Insights – Slashdata – 22nd edition of The State of the Developer Nation (Q1 2022)

You know the factors that drive the choice of programming languages. Let us look at findings from the Slashdata – 22nd edition of The State of the Developer Nation (Q1 2022). It offers exciting statistics that can help you as a developer know if your skills are up to date or need an upgrade.

JavaScript remains the most prominent language community, with close to 17.5M developers worldwide using it.

Python has remained the second most widely adopted language behind JavaScript, with the gap between the two largest communities gradually closing. Python now counts 15.7M users after adding 3.3M net new developers in the past six months alone.

The rise of data science and machine learning (ML) is an apparent factor in Python’s growing popularity. About 70% of ML developers and data scientists report using Python versus only 17% using R.

Java is one of the most critical general-purpose languages and the cornerstone of the Android app ecosystem. Although it has been around for over two decades, it is experiencing strong and steady growth. Nearly 5M developers have joined the Java community since 2021. 

Data shows that Java’s growth gets fueled by the usual suspects, i.e., backend and mobile development, and its rising adoption in AR/VR projects.

Wrapping up

We hope you have more clarity and data-driven insights in choosing programming languages for your career and projects. We encourage you to regularly read the whole SlashData – 22nd edition of The State of the Developer Nation (Q1 2022) report and stay updated on trending technologies.

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