Written by:
Iain Brook

6 programming languages
you should learn
in 2021!

If you’re stepping out into the world of software development, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to what language to learn.

However, like most things in life, programming languages come in and out of fashion and tech employers of 2021 will find specific tech stacks and languages more appealing than others.

So which ones are appealing to the masses in 2021?

I’ve done a bit of digging and have broken them down for you. Have a read below…


So, research conducted by O’reilly found that Python registered as the most popular language for people to learn this year, with interest rising by 27% last year, from the previous year.

Machine Learning skills are super in demand across the tech world – Python is recognised as the key language for its machine learning (ML) aspects, and the language’s scikit-learn ML library saw an 11% increase in use last year!

Professor Benjamin Goldberg (Computer Science at New York University) told Tech Republic that “Within colleges and universities, the most popular languages for teaching introductory classes seem to be Java and Python. They are relatively easy to teach and learn, particularly Python, and provide fewer pitfalls for novice programmers than, say, C,”

“Data science is a very popular field of study these days and there are lots of DS classes that use Python packages for machine learning and other related topics. For this reason, one sees lots of students that want to learn Python and lots of employers looking for graduates with a data science background and with python experience.”

I caught up with Tech Leader Mark Henwood to get his thoughts. Mark has specialised in Python for years, here’s what he said “The python community is very thoughtful and careful in language changes, which means on an enterprise level it is robust and secure. The language itself isn’t very fast however its fast enough for webservices (and it really is). Because of cloud ops the tools for each component can be chosen on the merit of each component. Python is extremely fast as an alternative language, sober and secure. As a result, Python and its frameworks highly reliable thus gaining its popularity.”

Large tech companies who use Python include Google, Facebook and Spotify.


Many big IT companies and developers love Go thanks to its simple structure and syntax familiarity.

According to a survey by developer skills-matching platform HackerRank, the top programming languages that developers are keen to learn next are Go and Python.

Over the years DevOps skills have grown in demand, and typically, DevOps tools are written in Go. For instance, Docker, and even the open-source container system Kubernetes is built on Go, making it extremely valuable to organisations adopting a DevOps culture.

BrainHub says that many companies use Golang because more complicated projects can be completed faster and work is more efficient. Using Go also reduces the risk of bugs, and their removal is usually faster and more effective.

My colleague, and resident Gopher, Iain, caught up with Francesco (Microservices Tech Lead at River Island) and asked him his thoughts on Go – “Go is the language of the cloud. That’s because it allows developers to build efficient systems quickly without getting in the way, while the tooling makes sure you have everything you need to build and inspect your applications. When you add a welcoming and empowering community on top of that, choosing Go as a new language to learn is a nobrainer today.”

Like the other languages I’ve mentioned so far, Go is popular with the big dogs. Google built a distributed database system and a MySQL backend built with Golang, which has been in use by YouTube since 2011. Twitch and Uber are also fans of Go!


Stack Overflow’s 2020 Developer Survey found that Rust was the most loved programming language among developers for the fifth year in a row, with 86.1 percent of Rust developers saying that they want to continue working with it.

Developers and employers love the emphasis on speed and security you get with Rust. Rust ensures “safe code” by preventing programs from accessing parts of memory that they shouldn’t, which can cause unexpected behaviour and system crashes.

Full stack academy says: “The advantages of Rust mean that other big tech companies, such as Dropbox and Coursera, are already starting to use it internally. While it may be a bit more difficult to master than other beginner languages, Rust programming skills are likely to pay off handsomely, as the language’s popularity will only continue to rise in the near future.”

Ruby / On Rails

According to Full Stack academy, beginners often gravitate towards Ruby because it has a reputation for having one of the friendliest and most helpful user communities. The Ruby community even has an unofficial saying, “Matz is nice and so we are nice,” encouraging members to model their kind and considerate behaviour on Ruby’s chief inventor Yukihiro Matsumoto.

I caught up with Founder Nic Alpi, he is an advocate of Ruby and it’s on the rails framework and uses it at his Digital Agency, Cookies HQ. Here’s what he had to say – “Ruby on Rails projects benefit from strong conventions. This facilitates enormously the introduction of new Rails developers onto your code base as your project grows.

Ruby on Rails is in constant evolutions and, for more than 10 years now, has evolved with each iteration. The Rails core team makes developers’ lives better with each new version.

The Ruby on Rails community embraced and somehow popularised test-driven development. This allows developers to learn key testing concepts rapidly to build more resilient products.”

So, with all these attributes, for me it’s no surprise that Ruby on Rails is used by amazing products and platforms like Shopify, AirBnb, Basecamp and consorts”


Java has remained hugely popular for developers and employers alike for more than 25 years.

This will continue to be an ongoing cycle because so much as been built over the years in Java, companies continue to maintain that code base.

Dice says Java benefits from its “write once, run anywhere” (WORA) design, which means it can run on any device with a Java Virtual Machine (JVM)… and that it can evolve to meet companies’ ever-changing tech stacks.

A survey from programmer-training company CodeinGame earlier in January found Java to be one of the most sought-after programming languages among hiring managers.

Large tech companies who use Java include the likes of Airbnb and Netflix.


Entrepreneur referred to Javascript as the ‘backbone of the internet’. It’s used in the vast majority of websites and is a ‘go-to’ for any aspiring web developer. Developers love it for it’s useability and how easy it is to access training resources.

My colleague and Growth Lead here at Revoco, Harry, is actually learning JS in his spare time. Here’s why he likes it – “JavaScript is a fantastic first language to learn. It’s got an easy learning curve and allows you to build useful projects from the get-go. You have access to some amazing frameworks, like React/Vue/Node, that allow you to take JavaScript even further.

It also has an amazing community that are always willing to help you, which has been great to become a part of.” (Follow Harry’s coding journey on Instagram here.)

I know there’s more I could have included but I wanted to hear from the ones coding on the front-line day in day out.  What languages do you recommend learning and why? Do you use any of the one’s I’ve mentioned – did I miss anything? I’d love to hear what you think.

If you want to find out more about programming language trends for 2021 we recommend you visit Tech Republic and Full Stack academy – they helped me gather this info for you!

Alternatively, if you’re looking for guidance in your programming career. I’d be more than happy to talk to you. Click here to find out more about what I do, roles I’m working on and more blogs.

Get in contact with my Colleague Iain for market insight on GO and the latest roles he’s working on, click here.


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