Reviewed by Mike Peterson, PhD Associate Dean and Director for Computer Science College of Information Technology
Anyone interested in computer science, web development, data science, software engineering, or related IT fields should know about the latest programming languages and trends. This article delves into some of the newest programming languages, explore their unique features and potential applications, and explain why they’re gaining traction in the tech industry.
If you studied “Beowulf” or “The Canterbury Tales” in your high school English class, you may remember that these classic works were originally written in Old English, the now-archaic version of English spoken in the 5th–11th centuries. Just as spoken language has evolved tremendously throughout history, computer programming languages have also evolved to meet society’s ever-changing needs. As technologies emerge, newer and more efficient programming languages are needed to harness their capabilities and optimize the coding process.
Coding is already a highly complex process. So why are there so many different types of programming languages? Why are developers constantly creating new languages? Wouldn't it be easier if everybody used the same programming language?
In simple terms, there are numerous programming languages for the same reason that a mechanic has many different types of tools in their toolbox. Each programming language is designed with specific applications in mind and has unique strengths and limitations. Depending on the project, one language may be better suited than another in terms of speed, efficiency, versatility, or scalability.
As our knowledge of the programming process grows, our ability to customize programming languages for specific uses increases. Innovators are constantly developing new and exciting ways to harness the power of programming languages to make complex tasks more efficient.
Today, developers can use a variety of programming languages and technologies to create powerful applications that push the boundaries of technological innovation. It's an exciting process to be a part of!
Several new programming languages have been making waves in the tech industry in recent years. For example, a programming language called Mojo recently made headlines when its creators boasted speeds up to 35,000 times faster than Python.
Another new programming language quickly gaining traction is Rust. The creator of Rust came up with the idea for the groundbreaking programming language after he found himself climbing 21 flights of stairs due to a nonfunctioning elevator in his apartment building. Frustrated by the unreliable elevator (which frequently broke down because of glitch-laden code), Graydon Hoare decided to create a new code that would reduce the chances of memory bugs. Rust is now used by millions of coders across the world.
Julia is a new high-level programming language increasingly used for numerical computing, machine learning, and network security. Its versatility, clear syntax, and practicality have made it a popular language for coders to learn in 2024.
Swift is a language developed by Apple that’s also been gaining popularity in recent years. Many developers praise Swift for its intuitive design and low learning curve. It offers several features that simplify the coding process, including a streamlined syntax and cleaner look. It’s also been designed to reduce the chances of coding mistakes that lead to crashes.
Mojo is a high-level artificial intelligence programming language that became available in May 2023. Although Python has long been the preferred language for AI applications, Mojo is quickly gaining popularity due to its low learning curve and impressive speed. Mojo uses Multi-Level Intermediate Representation (MLIR), making it significantly faster and more efficient than Python. It allows for both functional and object-oriented programming styles, enabling developers to choose the best approach for their specific needs.
If you're interested in learning Mojo, you’re not alone. The benefits of this new programming language have caught the attention of developers across the globe.
Learning new programming languages can expand your career opportunities, help you grow as a programmer, and expose you to different ways of thinking. Challenging yourself to learn something new may not always be easy, but the benefits are worth the investment, especially if you're interested in a tech industry job.
Even if you’re a casual programmer who writes code as a hobby, consider learning a new programming language instead of focusing on languages you’ve already mastered. Studying the newest programming languages keeps your mind sharp and helps you acquire new ways of meeting challenges and solving problems.
Computers are a crucial part of everyday life, and there are plenty of lucrative and dynamic career opportunities for individuals who can program software and computers. If you’re interested in coding, consider the following careers:
- Software engineer. Software engineers use code to build web applications, smartphone apps for Android and iPhone, operating systems, network systems, software systems, and more.
- Computer programmer. Computer programmers write code, modify software, fix errors, and ensure computer programs work as intended.
- IT security specialist. An IT security specialist implements cybersecurity measures to combat ransomware, phishing attacks, malware, and other cybercrime.
- Web developer. Web developers write code to create websites. Front-end developers design the part of the website that the user interacts with while back-end developers design and manage servers, databases, and applications. Full stack developers work on both the front and back ends of websites, which requires an extensive knowledge of multiple programming languages.
- Cloud engineer. Cloud engineers manage cloud computing technologies for businesses and organizations. They may design, implement, and manage cloud infrastructure, help businesses set up backup strategies, and ensure that the proper security measures are in place.
- Data scientist. Data scientists extract, organize, and analyze large quantities of data (often called big data) so that the data can inform important decisions. And at a projected growth rate of 36%, the role of data scientist is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the U.S.
As technology evolves faster than ever, learning new programming languages can equip you to tackle the newest and most challenging projects and give you the competitive edge you need to rise above others in your field. Early adopters of new programming languages can become experts in a new language by the time others are just beginning the learning process. They position themselves as valuable candidates for job openings with desirable companies and may qualify for greater salaries.
Whether you’re interested in designing websites, developing mobile applications, using big data to solve complex problems, or advancing AI technologies, learning the latest programming languages can help you reach your goals.
Hands-on practice is often the best way to learn a new programming language. Begin by downloading the latest version of the language and learning its syntax. Next, explore the programming language’s web framework and begin building small projects.
If you're expanding your computer science skill set by learning a new programming language, you’ll likely be learning how to navigate it along with thousands of other people. Online forums, social media groups, and other online communities are great places to interact with other learners, ask questions, and fine-tune your programming abilities.
You may also want to consider earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science if you’re passionate about programming. Earning a degree from an accredited university gives you access to tools, resources, and professional instruction that will help you stay ahead of the curve. You’ll be in a much better position to learn Mojo and other innovative languages once you understand the basics of computer science and programming.
Programming languages are growing and changing every day, and anyone interested in programming should stay current with the latest trends. Programming languages like Mojo, Julia, Swift, and Rust have quickly gained popularity due to their speed, performance, and ease of learning, but they represent only a handful of programming languages generating a buzz in the technology sector.
If you’re interested in coding, full stack development, software engineering, cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence, or another IT field, a degree from WGU can help you achieve your professional aspirations. WGU offers career-aligned bachelor's and master's degrees in information technology that you can earn online, on your own schedule. At WGU, students earn their degrees by demonstrating their skills through assessments, not by spending a certain amount of time in a classroom. Whether you’re a working professional interested in broadening your credentials or just graduating high school, our innovative, flexible learning process has you covered.