11 New Programming Languages to Learn

Coding remains one of tech’s most important literacies, impacting countless professional fields in an increasingly digital world. Today’s businesses thrive on functional and navigable websites, mobile apps, and other similar properties — all of which are built atop established coding languages.

However, coding mastery doesn’t just require learning the tried-and-true coding languages. It also entails staying up to date with the latest languages. This is important for both professional marketability and efficiency in learning other valuable skills as well. For instance, you cannot hope to become a full stack developer without first versing yourself in the latest coding languages.

To make this process easier, we have compiled a list of promising new coding languages to learn, basing our findings on industry trends. Read on to learn more.

Newest Programming Languages

The following are among the best new programming languages of 2021, and many of them offer an array of uses and applications. What’s more, these literacies benefit a wide variety of experience levels, as it can be important to learn new programming languages regardless of your age or prior knowledge.

A graphic that highlights the 11 new programming languages that everyone should consider learning in 2021.

Since its 1991 inception, Python has become one of the most popular coding languages, ranking as the most-wanted coding language amongst web developers in 2021, according to Stack Overflow’s 2021 Developer Survey. This reputation is due to Python’s versatility and relative ease of use in applications like web development, scientific and numeric computing, and desktop graphical user interface (GUI).

Python 3 (aka “Python 3000” or “Py3k”) has contributed to this tradition by maintaining the language’s best qualities while fine-tuning past deficiencies — namely, those pertaining to built-in objects like dictionaries and strings, and the reorganization of the standard Python library. The language’s latest iteration, Python 3.9, was released on October 5, 2020. It includes even more new features such as relaxed grammar restrictions, flexible function and variable annotations, and new string methods to remove prefixes and suffixes. Python 3.9 also removes several outdated or unnecessary features to fortify security, promote efficiency, and keep the language applicable to a wider variety of servers.

These key updates, paired with Python’s enduring versatility and accessibility, make Python 3.9 a useful new language to learn.

Initially released in 2011, Elixir is a much newer coding language, with its latest version, Elixir v1.12 being stably released in May 2021. Despite its relatively young age, its dynamic range of uses make it a valuable skill for coders of all experience levels.

Broadly speaking, Elixir is used to build scalable, maintainable applications within concentrations like web development, embedded software, data analysis, and multimedia processing. The language leverages Erlang Virtual Machine (VM), which is known for running low-latency, distributed, and fault-tolerant systems. These perks make Elixir an asset to many industries, especially web development. Stack Overflow reported this year that 72.1 percent of surveyed developers considered it a most-loved language.

Like Python, Elixir has maintained its strengths and shored up its deficiencies with its most recent update. This version was built to simplify scripting, facilitate stronger integration of Erlang VM, and support stepped ranges. Other improvements include updates to Elixir’s Interactive Shell (IEx), a tool used to streamline debugging, code reloading, and document formatting. These new features are just a few of the characteristics enabling Elixir to remain a high-level, multifaceted language.

PureScript‘s value as a skill is somewhat self-evident. The language was built primarily to compile source code to JavaScript, which has been the most commonly used coding language amongst web developers for nine straight years. PureScript makes it easy to convert existing code into readable JavaScript format and reuse existing JavaScript code. This makes it a useful tool for coders striving to make their projects more versatile and accessible.

As its own concentration, PureScript offers a large collection of libraries for the development of web applications, servers, apps, and other digital entities. The language is also equipped with high-level tooling and editorial support, facilitating instant rebuilds and community-based learning. Coders can also implement algebraic data types, pattern matching, type classes with functional dependencies, and other functional techniques to build real-world applications.

Elm, like PureScript, is a functional language that compiles to JavaScript and it is predicated on both simplicity and quality tooling. The language sports helpful features including reliable refactoring, automatic semantic versioning, and practice opportunities free of runtime errors. These reflect its accessibility and underlying focus on continuous learning. In a soft skill sense, Elm also strives to instill confidence and promote anxiety-free coding, emphasizing friendly error alerts and approachable messaging to keep its newest learners motivated and focused.

Elm is commonly used to build web properties and apps, fine-tune navigation and structure, and optimize existing entities based on performance and size. Alongside the language’s JavaScript integration capabilities, these features are a treasure trove of value for both new and seasoned coders. Through practical experience, Elm users may find it easier to write JavaScript-ready code while broadening their horizons in terms of general coding literacy.

Developed by Apple in 2014, Swift was created with a simple yet ambitious mission: “Build a programming language to empower everyone to turn their ideas into apps on any platform.”

To achieve this goal, Swift offers helpful features like powerful built-in error handling, fast and concise iteration for ranges and collections, and advanced control flow for keywords like “do”, “guard”, “defer”, and “repeat”. The language’s source code is also available to anyone via GitHub, making it possible for coders to get the code, build it themselves, and even create pull requests to contribute code back to the project.

The language’s latest version, Swift 5.5, was stably released in September 2021 and builds upon this communal framework by adding support for package collections, introducing codable synthesis for enumerated types with associated values, and providing a safe programming model that statically detects data races and other common concurrency bugs.

Such updates have kept the language in relatively high standing among tech professionals. Stack Overflow’s 2021 Developer Survey reported that over 63 percent of developers viewed the language favorably. What’s more, HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report found that developers versed in Swift were associated with a 19.6 percent salary increase in 2020.

A graphic that showcases the salary increase for developers for Swift, Pascal, Kotlin, and Typescript.

Julia is a dynamic, open-source coding language offering valuable features like asynchronous I/O, metaprogramming, debugging, logging profiling, and package management. Broadly speaking, the language is equipped to build full applications and microservices. Julia has been downloaded over 25 million times since its launch in 2012, making it one of the most prominent newer coding languages.

Julia 1.7 was stably released in October 2021. It includes crucial updates like repeated semicolon use in arrays, edited random number generation, and a series of additions to the language’s applicable binary operators. The update also features compiler/runtime improvements, multithreading changes, and several new library functions.

Originally released in July 2011, Kotlin has carved its niche as a top modern coding language throughout a variety of iterations and updates. The language is an excellent tool for coders of all experience levels, offering features like multiplatform mobile code sharing, safe and interoperable usability, and dynamic support via its active learning community. Kotlin was ranked the eighth most-wanted coding language among web developers in 2021, according to Stack Overflow. And, in 2020, HackerRank found that 24.9 percent of developers chose Kotlin as the language they wanted to learn next.

Kotlin 1.5.3 was launched in August 2021 and maintains the language’s strengths while implementing features like improved opt-in requirements and support for Apple Silicon targets. A subsequent bug fix was released the following month.

Microsoft’s TypeScript is a JavaScript-oriented coding language providing syntax for static types and type checking, which allows for tighter integration and error fixing. TypeScript also helps coders safely utilize JavaScript in a scalable manner. For these reasons, this language was named 2021’s second most-wanted coding language by Stack Overflow (ranking just beneath the enduringly popular Python).

TypeScript code is designed to run in nearly any JavaScript-ready environment, which can include browsers, mobile applications, or JavaScript-based entities like Node.js and Deno. Broadly, this language is a valuable tool for coders looking to fine-tune their JavaScript projects, broaden their skill set, and learn more about JavaScript along the way.

TypeScript has gone through several iterations since launch — the most recent being TypeScript 4.2, which was stably released in the spring of 2021. This version of TypeScript includes updates to the language’s destructured variables and string index signatures, among other enhancements.

By many accounts, Go has experienced a meteoric rise to prominence in recent years. The Google-created language, which was launched in 2009, became the number-one language developers wanted to learn in 2020, and it remains a consistently high-ranking entity in modern coding. GeeksforGeeks attributed the language’s rapid success to its “numerous enriching features such as garbage collection, dynamic-typing, type safety, high performance and efficiency, and many more.”

Go also offers value through features like multi-threading, static typing, and open-source community support. These offerings make the language a dynamic tool for countless coding projects and goals. The language’s latest version, Go.1.17.3, was unveiled in the fall of 2021 and includes a series of minor revisions and bug fixes aimed at stronger security, better runtime, and command input.

Dart was built to be a client-optimized language for fast apps on any platform, and this goal is broadly embodied through the language’s accessible UI, fast performance, and cross-platform support.

Other helpful features include static typing, sound null safety, and numerous libraries assisting in everyday coding tasks, which make Dart a one-stop shop for a wide variety of coding endeavors. This list has only continued to grow as the language’s developers have implemented crucial updates. Specifically, the recently released Dart 2.14 introduced support for Apple Silicon, improved productivity capabilities, and updated shift operators.

A wealth of resources for testing and exploring the language are available, such as a browser tester on Dart’s homepage and a multifaceted tutorial one-sheet, which connects Dart’s internal coding community to other collectives like Stack Overflow and Glitter.

Launched in 2010, Rust has quickly become a go-to language for countless coding projects. The language features a variety of resources for coders building mobile apps, optimizing web browsers and servers, and cross-device embedding. These broad tasks are made possible through Rust’s automated collaboration potential, consolidated action implementation, and range of integration possibilities.

These features have contributed to the language’s enduring popularity, which is perhaps best reflected in its recent 86.98 percent most-wanted score via Stack Overflow (the survey’s #1 figure for this category).

How to Learn a New Programming Language

There are several effective paths to learning top new languages such as those we’ve discussed. Your ideal education option will depend on your unique learning needs, professional goals, and overall coding experience. Once you have taken stock of such matters, you may find success exploring one of the following coding education formats:

Coding Bootcamps

Coding and web development bootcamps are among the most effective methods for learning programming languages quickly and efficiently — and hiring managers are taking notice of their impact. According to HackerRank, nearly 1 in 3 hiring managers hired a bootcamp certificate recipient for an open web developer role in 2020.

Generally, these courses are predicated on practical, hands-on learning that simulates real-world scenarios and spurs technical development. Bootcamp learning is often equal parts thorough and flexible. Learners have the ability to learn at their pace and on their schedule, but they can still do so in an immersive manner.

For instance, Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp teaches languages that meet current market demand, equipping learners to become competitive candidates for promising industry jobs in as little as 12 to 24 weeks.

College Degrees

Conversely, you may decide to learn new coding languages as part of a traditional undergraduate degree. Relevant tech-oriented degrees often offer the opportunity to learn coding as part of a broader educational curriculum, such as biomedical engineering, computer science, or physics and mathematics.

Additionally, these curricula offer unique benefits including a more communal learning environment and a gradual instruction format that enables the exploration of additional areas of interest.

Independent Learning Options

If you would rather learn coding in a fully autonomous manner, you might consider an independent learning pathway. There are a variety of free online courses, educational videos, coding-related apps, and other resources allowing coders to learn via their own structure and pacing — a method that, if approached with the right level of commitment, can teach new coding languages while fostering time management and accountability skills.

Free resources like Khan Academy, and GitHub’s basic plan provide educational modules, public repositories, and other assets for learning and applying new coding languages.

How Long Does it Take to Learn a New Programming Language?

Depending on your language and educational pathway of choice, your learning process can vary in length. For instance, Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp generally takes 12 to 24 weeks to complete, while most college degrees last anywhere from two to four years — or more if you intend to pursue a master’s or doctorate degree. Independent learning resources, on the other hand, can theoretically last almost any amount of time, depending on your availability, commitment, and desired learning material.

Regardless of approach, it is important to take full advantage of your allotted time. Ask questions when necessary, immerse yourself in the curriculum, and apply your learning to your long-term goals wherever possible to get the most out of your education.

Learn a New Coding Language Today

With a wealth of promising new coding languages available, it is imperative for coders to remain up to speed on those most prominent and applicable in the marketplace. Staying up to date can help you explore new professional opportunities, broaden your skill-based horizons, and strengthen your overall versatility as a coder.

To get started, consider enrolling in a Columbia Engineering Coding Boot Camp. This is a great step toward learning today’s top coding languages both flexibly and effectively.

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