Engineering Leaders Discuss the Best Programming Languages to Learn

January 23, 2020

It might come as little surprise that JavaScript and Python are widely used by Austin developers at companies in the fintech, e-commerce, adtech and cloud computing space. The two programming languages continue to reign supreme when it comes to versatility and accessibility, said Pushnami’s VP of Software Development Mitchell Taylor. 

“Tech startups commonly choose these languages due to their low barriers of entry, extensible community supported web application frameworks and predictable performance,” said Taylor. 

But in terms of recruitment and product roadmapping, the following five engineers have set their eyes on Scala, Go and Rust. Amhert’s Software Development Manager John Lomma mentioned Rust’s involvement in the development of WebAssembly, a binary instruction format that came onto the scene in 2015. Meanwhile, Director of Software Engineering Maiko Rocha sees Go as being increasingly intertwined with serverless frameworks.

For more on how each tech leader views today’s programming landscape, and what that means for hiring, read on. 

Top Programming Languages to Learn, According to Experts

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Golang
  • Rust
  • Scala
  • C#

 

Amherst
Amherst

Google employees churn out more than software updates and cloud-based storage solutions. In 2011, the company released Dart, a programming language for app development. While Software Development Manager John Lomma’s team at Amherst relies most heavily on C#, SQL, TypeScript and JavaScript, Lomma said Dart, as well as Go and Rust, have piqued his curiosity. 

 

In the job market, which languages are hot right now? 

The hot languages are JavaScript and Python. Python just edged out Java this year in popularity. Microsoft’s Anders Hejlsberg, the architect of C#, developed TypeScript, which is rising fast. Being part of the JavaScript ecosystem is certainly helping it attract developers looking for type safety.

The languages that we look for specifically on resumes tend to fall into different categories. We use a lot of different technology at Amherst, but the most common needs we have fall into C#, SQL, TypeScript and JavaScript.

Python just edged out Java this year in popularity.’’

What’s a programming language you’re not currently working with that you’d like to, and why?

Programming languages I am excited about that I’m not currently working with are Go and Rust. Rust is being used in a couple of interesting ways to develop WebAssembly as well as Deno, the new project from Node.js creator Ryan Dahl. I am also somewhat curious about Dart, another language Google developed and has used in its competitor to Flutter, a React Native framework.


 

Pushnami
Pushnami

Tailoring one’s skills to a certain job description isn’t the only way to make a resume stand out. Mitchell Taylor, VP of software development at Pushnami, recommends showcasing experience in less mainstream programming languages. 

 

In the job market, which languages are hot right now? 

JavaScript and Python have proven to be versatile and accessible languages for software systems and machine learning applications, making these languages very popular in the software development industry. Tech startups commonly choose these languages due to their low barriers of entry, extensible community supported web application frameworks and predictable performance. However, when reviewing resumes, these languages are not everything. 

Applicants can use other languages in their resume as a platform to showcase their experience and make a statement. For example, a flashy dev-friendly language like Kotlin, or a typically platform-specific language like Swift can break the ice in an otherwise challenging application process. 

What better way to start an interview than answering “What were you building with Lua?”

Applicants can use other languages in their resume as a platform to showcase their experience.’’

What’s a programming language you’re not currently working with that you’d like to, and why?

Rust has been on our horizon for back-end development as an efficient performance-focused language. The daunting Rust learning curve is rapidly shifting in the right direction with the recent introduction of async/await and a growing community of Rust projects. Rust seems to be worth incorporating for the right use-case as it ranked first in Stack Overflow’s 2019 “most loved” languages. Rust is here to stay. And at Pushnami, we are committed to exploring new opportunities to improve our software.


 

Medallia
Medallia

When Director of Software Engineering Maiko Rocha looks at Medallia with a wide lens, he considers user interface as it relates to the company site, mobile access and back-end function. He shared what essential skills any engineering candidates should bring to an interview, as well as what programming languages are in vogue for 2020. 

 

In the job market, which languages are hot right now?

JavaScript/TypeScript is our front-end language. We use React.js, so it’s a plus if candidates have it on their resume. But knowing the fundamentals of JS/TS is a must. JS/TS is also gaining more momentum on the server-side.

Java is still the king of the hill. I’ve been seeing Spring Boot, Drop Wizard and Jetty through microservice containers, designed to run anywhere. Python adoption has been growing quickly due to its use in AI, machine learning and data science. I’m starting to see increased Go usage, mostly in the context of serverless/functions architecture.

Languages in the mobile spectrum are somewhat in-flux. On the native side, Google has Kotlin, but has been promoting Flutter heavily as an alternative to React Native. Apple’s SwiftUI is an easy and powerful tool to build an iOS user interface. We are also seeing major Progressive Web Apps adoption as a replacement for native apps where it makes sense, so JS/TS is back in the race there. What a company ultimately picks is highly dependent on their product and market.

Apple’s SwiftUI is an easy and powerful tool to build an iOS user interface.’’ 

What’s a programming language you’re not currently working with that you’d like to, and why?

On the professional side, I’m investing in learning more about Python because I have an interest in machine learning. On a personal note, I’d like to play more with the programming language Processing for visual arts.

 

 

BlackLocus
BlackLocus

Director of Engineering Herb Watkins prefers BlackLocus’ developer candidates be solutions-driven over language-proficient. While his team currently relies on Go, Python and Javascript, he said he’s interested in the possibility of adding Scala to that list.

 

In the job market, which languages are hot right now? Do you look for specific languages on resumes, and if so, why?

I see a wider and wider range of languages sought after in the job market. While we use Go, Python and Java, ultimately we recruit engineers who consistently produce great code regardless of the language. Technically proficient, solutions-oriented, good people make great teammates. Those are the people we want. 

Technically proficient, solutions-oriented, good people make great teammates.’’

What’s a programming language you’re not currently working with that you’d like to, and why?

Scala as an expressive, functional, JVM-based language could be a valuable addition to our supported toolset. That said, we are careful to make these types of additions only when we have identified them as part of a solution to a problem. Many of our engineers use their research days to evaluate new tools and languages when they sense we could do better. It’s been a great way to identify better tools while giving engineers a chance to try all the new things.

 

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