6 Apr 20, By Zebra People

What programming language should you choose?

7 mins read

You don’t need to be a digital expert to know that the tech industry is booming. As a result, coding skills are becoming more highly sought after and tech has become one of the most candidate-driven markets around, with the demand for developers ever increasing. As we all know, the market moves fast, and software developers have had to become versatile in order to stay “on trend”. Languages are constantly evolving and adding a programming language to your repertoire could significantly increase your demand. Whether you’re a first-time coder or seasoned professional, choosing the tool/language to learn next can be a little bit tricky. Here’s my guide on what tools could be beneficial in varying circumstances.

What language to choose really depends on the sector you find yourself in or want to break into. The digital space tends to lean towards highly versatile open source web languages such as JavaScript, PHP, Python or Ruby.

These languages are designed to be simple and easy to write, making them a great choice when designing websites and mobile apps that need less rigour with more flexibility. Open source languages also tend to be a lot cheaper initially than commercial products, allowing free installation and deployment across multiple machines without the need of tracking the license compliance etc.

You can also count on the vast majority of open source software being highly reliable, with is usually being developed by a group of experts. Open source software can be built by tens or hundreds of developers, generally who want to give back to the development community. Another factor is that since anyone can access the code for bug fixes etc., the software undergoes continuous improvement, with new features/versions added relatively frequently.

In the financial world, systems are designed to perform a high volume of complicated functions whilst remaining highly organised. The financial sector benefits from languages with object-oriented paradigms and strong architectural patterns backed by a lot of guidance from the organisations around the languages. That’s why a lot of financial institutions have the majority of their applications written in Python, C#, C++ etc. They provide maintainable options that a lot of other languages can’t do as well.

There are various advantages to using closed source software products which generally benefit businesses, as stated above, needing to perform high volume and complex functions. Closed source software comes with extensive tech support, meaning when things go wrong, you’ll always have expert guidance to turn to.  You’re also purchasing the software as a product, meaning that you can expect the software to work in the way it is meant to.

These staple languages are sure to last through the ages, though in recent years, with major consumer tech brands such as Facebook and Google needing even more versatility and stability, we’ve seen a new wave of next generation languages being created; rather than tailoring their products to the current market offering, they’ve gone back to the beginning to create new languages to allow what they want their product to do.

They better serve these companies with the speed, versatility and reliability needed for the demands of gigantic modern platforms. Both Google and Facebook have had huge and growing success with their additions, most notably Golang and React.js respectively.
A look into a few of the sectors:


With PHP still currently running a huge percentage of the internet it looks to be a mainstay of web development, despite people often talking about its downfall – however due to performance issues when coding larger sites and platforms it is potentially becoming out-of-favour, with many digital firms/agencies opting for an alternative (predominantly JavaScript or Python, based on my experience).

With the diverse range of frameworks, libraries and tools JavaScript has to offer, as well as extending to server-side JavaScript (Node.js), over the years this has become one of the most popular languages available and I think it will continue to be a dominant force through the foreseeable future. This is probably the core language that I’d whole heartedly recommend, for the few who don’t already know it.
I’d also keep a close eye on Golang, as a lot of my clients are currently looking to implement Go (if they haven’t already done so), often alongside other server-side languages such as Node, Python or Java in a microservices architecture.


There have generally been 3 major players in the finance industry over the last few years, with Java, Python and C# being the foundations of the financial world. Of the 3, I’d recommend going with Python for a couple of reasons, primarily scalability, as well as Django being a hugely powerful and diverse framework. There is also a higher level of support on offer with Python over Java, which is open source, however you can’t compete with the tech support of the Microsoft technologies.

Although these languages have dominated (I also have to give a shoutout to C, C++ and Ruby when it comes to finance), a fair share of newer fintech start-ups are opting again for a JavaScript-based stack. With versatility being such an important aspect of development, this would, once again, be something to consider.


The healthcare industry has a strong and growing demand for technology, from digital patient systems to scanning machines. For this reason, I’d suggest Java as a general-purpose, object-oriented language. Java is often used to develop enterprise-level applications and web applications. It is also the core foundation for developing Android apps.

For the healthcare industry, Java is probably one of the best bets due to its portability, robust and interpreted language, and the network of libraries the language offers. Again, I’ll also have to give a shout out to C, C#, and C++, as well as Python and Ruby (slightly less popular).


What programming language you should learn is up to you and is entirely dependent on where you are up to in your development career, as well as what direction you wish to go in. Digital media, coding for finance, academia, healthcare, I’ve touched on a few but the list goes on. Although programming languages are not usually designed for specific industries, it’s clear that major industries have their preferences. It makes sense, given how each industry has its own requirements and technological demands.

And for anyone thinking of trying their hand at coding, learning a programming language has become more important than ever for the forward-looking professional with the world becoming ever more digital, I promise it won’t be time wasted!

Of all the languages we’ve touched on, I believe that JavaScript will continue to be one of the most popular languages, with its ability to be both client & server-side, along with its diverse range of frameworks and libraries. Which framework is the best? Well that’s a topic which has been covered off so many times in blogs and online articles already, however if you want my opinion on anything JavaScript, Frameworks, Tech or Recruitment related, feel free to get in touch.

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