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6 Hot Programming Languages To Add To Your Tool Kit

Are you looking to tune up your software development or DevOps career with up-and-coming languages? Are you a hiring manager hoping to round out the tool set of your in-house team? Here are six languages to consider adding to your repertoire.
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(Image: alphaspirit/iStockphoto)

(Image: alphaspirit/iStockphoto)

A hallmark of the computer industry is its unrelenting, rapid rate of change. A few years ago, you could make a good living by learning a couple of programming languages and getting to know them really well. Largely that's still true. However, when you hitch your career to any single tool -- whether language, platform, framework, or operating system -- you become dependent on its success or failure. (Silverlight, anyone?)

The result is that every programmer needs to keep learning, and especially follow up-and-coming languages that are getting attention from early adopters. Otherwise, you might turn around and discover that "early adoption" has turned into "the new job requirement," and your own skill set is in jeopardy.

IT hiring managers also need to keep abreast of the latest programming trends to make sure all bases are covered. Whether you decide to bring your in-house team up to speed with fresh training, look for new hires who have these skills, or consider hiring contractors, it's worth your while to know which languages are in the spotlight at any given time -- and what they're good for.

That's especially true with so many new technologies redefining IT. Savvy developers consider whether they should add skills in mobile development, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, or cloud computing. Often, new technologies have languages associated with them as the best tool for the job.

[What's ahead for your career? Read 10 Best Tech Jobs for 2016.]

I don't mean to imply your existing skill set is outdated. If you're a developer, you can continue to rely on your programming skills in Java, Python, JavaScript, or other well-established languages to ensure a happy development career. It's also a good idea to learn those mainstream languages, if you don't already know them. When it comes to career predictability, mainstream is good.

Likewise, if you're a hiring manager, we're not implying that you should run out and immediately look for new hires who have skills in every one of these languages. A lot depends on the needs of your individual organization -- and the ability of your existing team to learn new things.

That said, it's worth a look at these six up-and-coming languages that ought to be on your radar. The list is inspired primarily by research done by the TIOBE Index, which measures programming language popularity (calculated from various search engine results for queries containing language names), a nod to the RedMonk language rankings, and input from hither and yon (such as my own social network).

Once you're done reviewing these, let's meet up in the comments section below. I'd like to hear from you on which of these languages you think matter most -- and whether you have any favorites that you wish were included here.

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Esther Schindler has been writing for the tech press since 1992. She specializes in translating from Geek into English. Her name is on the cover of about a dozen books, most recently The Complete Idiot's Guide to Twitter Marketing. Esther quilts (with enthusiasm if little ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2016 | 9:44:29 AM
Re: R
I had a friend of mine whom got into data science by learning R.  It is really good at data analysis.  A profession in demands constantly learning because once you are left behind and can't keep with the changes, it is difficult to catch up.
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2016 | 3:44:42 AM
I am interested in this language if that helps in data analysis. The data analysts will love this if that helps in their analysis.
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2016 | 3:02:09 PM
Re: Client Side Only?
@Tzubair: true that. Someday compilers would be clever enough to Crack word problems.
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2016 | 2:57:24 PM
Re: Client Side Only?
"Back in those days, you weren't defined by what language you happened to be using. If you were a programmer/developer, it meant you could program in any language"

@TerryB: I think this still holds true. Languages and their individual syntax hold little value as compared to the knowledge of general programming constructs and algorithms. Given how intelligent compilers are getting and how easily code is available online, remembering the actual syntax is often unncesary.
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2016 | 12:47:10 PM
Client Side Only?
Interesting how this implies everything is client side now. Where is all the data coming from that these client languages are manipulating?

Amazing how much the definition of a programmer/analyst has changed since I started my career in 1985. Back in those days, you weren't defined by what language you happened to be using. If you were a programmer/developer, it meant you could program in any language. I took course in school called Comparitive Languages, focused on the elements every programming language needs to deal with. Seriously, is it really that hard to program a Do While loop in any language syntax?
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2016 | 10:15:35 AM
good list
Good list of languages to know. Go seems to be getting a lot more attention. I know someone that was just hired and the whole team is starting to learn Go right now. I like the idea od Groovy as well. Which of these languages to all of you want to focus on learning this year?
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