5 Types of Programming Languages (2023)



5 Types of Programming Languages

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Learn more about some common categories of programming languages to get inspired to start coding.

5 Types of Programming Languages (1)

Programming is a skill that is becoming increasingly sought after in the job market. Having at least a basic understanding of how software functions is helpful for anyone who interacts with technology. With a background in programming, you can get a job coding, designing software, data architecture, or creating intuitive user interfaces.

But what language should you learn? You'll find a seemingly infinite number of programming languages that are free to learn and develop projects with online. With the field of technology growing exponentially each year, the internet is a great place to start when trying to explore the latest developments or discover a new skill.

Whichever language you learn, you may find it helpful to take notes or draw diagrams detailing the steps you're taking and why. It's important for programmers to be able to communicate their process to non-technical stakeholders, but taking notes can also be a great learning tool. "Turns out this often comes in handy not only for the sake of creating documentation, but often helps in solving a single task or issue where the underlying tech is challenging to understand," offers Eric Hartzog, a software engineer at Meta.

In this article, we'll explore some of the most common types of programming languages and give you some resources you can use to start learning.

5 major types of programming languages

While you'll find dozens of ways to classify various programming languages, they generally fall into five major categories. Keep in mind that some languages may fall under more than one type:

1. Procedural programming languages

A procedural language follows a sequence of statements or commands in order to achieve a desired output. Each series of steps is called a procedure, and a program written in one of these languages will have one or more procedures within it. Common examples of procedural languages include:

  • C and C++

  • Java

  • Pascal


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2. Functional programming languages

Rather than focusing on the execution of statements, functional languages focus on the output of mathematical functions and evaluations. Each function–a reusable module of code–performs a specific task and returns a result. The result will vary depending on what data you input into the function. Some popular functional programming languages include:

  • Scala

  • Erlang

  • Haskell

  • Elixir

  • F#

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3. Object-oriented programming languages

This type of language treats a program as a group of objects composed of data and program elements, known as attributes and methods. Objects can be reused within a program or in other programs. This makes it a popular language type for complex programs, as code is easier to reuse and scale. Some common object-oriented programming (OOP) languages include:

  • Java

  • Python

  • PHP

  • C++

  • Ruby

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4. Scripting languages

Programmers use scripting languages to automate repetitive tasks, manage dynamic web content, or support processes in larger applications. Some common scripting languages include:

  • PHP

  • Ruby

  • Python

  • bash

  • Perl

  • Node.js

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5. Logic programming languages

Instead of telling a computer what to do, a logic programming language expresses a series of facts and rules to instruct the computer on how to make decisions. Some examples of logic languages include:

  • Prolog

  • Absys

  • Datalog

  • Alma-0

Other ways to classify programming languages

You'll find many more ways to categorize languages beyond the five listed above. Let's take a closer look at there other ways you can think about programming languages:

Front-end vs. back-end languages

Front-end languages are primarily concerned with the ‘user’ aspect of the software. The front end deals with all of the text, colors, buttons, images, and navigation that the user will face when navigating your website or application. Anyone with a background in graphic design or art may be more inspired to begin learning one of the front-end languages.

Some examples of front-end programming languages include:

  • HTML

  • CSS

  • JavaScript

  • React

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Back-end languages deal with storage and manipulation of the server side of software. This is the part of the software that the user does not directly come into contact with but supports their experience behind the scenes. This includes data architecture, scripting, and communication between applications and underlying databases.

Anyone with experience in mathematics or engineering may find more interest in back-end development.

Some examples of back-end programming languages include:

  • JavaScript

  • PHP

  • Java

  • Python

  • Ruby

  • C#

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A full-stack developer combines their knowledge of both front- and back-end languages, along with other technical skills and expertise, to work on any part of the development process.

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High-level vs. low-level languages

The biggest factor that differentiates high- and low-level programming languages is whether the language is meant to be easily understood by a human programmer or a computer. Low-level languages are machine-friendly, which makes them highly efficient in terms of memory usage but difficult to understand without the help of an assembler. Since they're not very people-friendly, they're also not widely used anymore. Examples include machine code and assembly languages.

High-level languages, on the other hand, are less memory efficient but much more human friendly. This makes them easier to write, understand, maintain, and debug. Most popular programming languages in use today are considered high-level languages.

Interpreted vs. compiled languages

The distinction between interpreted and compiled languages has to do with how they convert high-level code and make it readable by a computer. With interpreted languages, code goes through a program called an interpreter, which reads and executes the code line by line. This tends to make these languages more flexible and platform independent.

Examples of interpreted languages include:

  • Python

  • JavaScript

  • PHP

  • Ruby

Compiled languages go through a build step where the entire program is converted into machine code. This makes it faster to execute, but it also means that you have to compile or "build" the program again anytime you need to make a change.

Examples of compiled languages include:

  • C, C++, and C#

  • Rust

  • Erlang

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(Video) Computer Science for Everyone - 5 - Types of programming languages


5 Types of Programming Languages? ›

In my experience, all programmers should aim to know at least 3 programming languages. If you're only learning new languages on the surface, it won't prove to be worth your time.

How many programming languages are enough? ›

In my experience, all programmers should aim to know at least 3 programming languages. If you're only learning new languages on the surface, it won't prove to be worth your time.

What are at least 5 of the common programming languages that is included in the third generation? ›

Third generation languages (3GLs).

Some examples of 3GLs are BASIC, COBOL, Pascal, Fortran, C, C++, Perl and Ada.

What are 5 high-level programming languages? ›

Many types of high-level language exist and are in common use today, including:
  • Python.
  • Java.
  • C++
  • C#
  • Visual Basic.
  • JavaScript.

What are the 4 types of coding? ›

While the names of the coding paradigms sometimes vary, most experts agree on four primary types of code: imperative, functional, logical, and object-oriented.

What is the most required programming language? ›

1 - JavaScript / TypeScript

With that being said, currently JavaScript is the most demanded programming language in the entire market. Also, the arrival of TypeScript (a JavaScript superset with type safety) may also help to achieve this milestone.

Is it possible to learn 5 programming languages? ›

After you learn your first language, it is very possible to learn multiple languages at once. If you can build a coding project without external help and feel comfortable in that language. It's much easier to learn other languages.

What is the hardest programming language? ›

Malbolge is by far the hardest programming language to learn, which can be seen from the fact that it took no less than two years to finish writing the first Malbolge code. The code readability is ridiculously low because it is designed to be as challenging as possible, providing programmers with a challenge.

What are 3 of the most used programming languages? ›

Python, C, JavaScript, C++, and Java are the most used and popular programming languages.

What are 4th and 5th generation programming languages? ›

Fourth generation languages are commonly used in database programming and scripts examples include Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and SQL. 5. The fifth-generation languages, or 5GL, are programming languages that contain visual tools to help develop a program.

How many programming languages are there and what are they? ›

Yes, there are over 300 programming languages, but you don't need to know them all, and you'll find that each language serves a specific purpose (or several). Compared to spoken languages, most are pretty easy to learn. Below are many of the top languages programmers are using.

What are the 7 high-level programming languages? ›

Examples of high-level programming languages in active use today include Python, JavaScript, Visual Basic, Delphi, Perl, PHP, ECMAScript, Ruby, C#, Java and many others.

What are the big 4 programming languages? ›

The Big Four — JavaScript, Python, Java, and Go — dominates the software landscape today. Each language has a mature ecosystem optimized for specific domains, with minimal overlap between languages. It's important to be familiar with each of the Big Four — they come up all the time in real-world software engineering.

What are the 5 stages of programming? ›

Program development life cycle (PDLC) The process containing the five phases of program development: analyzing, designing, coding, debugging and testing, and implementing and maintaining application software.

What are the 2 main types of programming languages? ›

Programming languages can also be categorized into various paradigms or models of programming. Two dominant paradigms are imperative languages and declarative languages: An imperative language specifies the exact steps the computer must take to complete a desired action.

What type of language is SQL? ›

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standardized programming language that is used to manage relational databases and perform various operations on the data in them.

What are the 3 coding systems? ›

The following list provides a brief overview of some classification systems used in the medical billing and coding field.
  • ICD-11. ...
  • ICD-10-CM. ...
  • ICD-10-PCS. ...
  • CPT. ...
  • HCPCS Level II.
Apr 22, 2022

What are the 3 main structures of coding? ›

Surprisingly, it can often be broken down into three simple programming structures called sequences, selections, and loops. These come together to form the most basic instructions and algorithms for all types of software.

What are the 3 basic coding concepts? ›

The three basic programming constructs
  • sequence is the order in which instructions occur and are processed.
  • selection determines which path a program takes when it is running.
  • iteration is the repeated execution of a section of code when a program is running.

Does coding have over 700 languages? ›

Coding has over 700 languages.

In the United States there are about 350 spoken languages. But coding has us beat with over 700 coding languages in use today! Only two countries speak more languages, Papua New Guinea (836) and Indonesia (710).

What is the oldest programming language? ›

The first commercially available language was FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), developed in 1956 (first manual appeared in 1956, but first developed in 1954) by a team led by John Backus at IBM.

Is C++ enough to get a job? ›

There are bright job prospects and various avenues in C++ programming for professionals with extensive knowledge. There are different types of jobs that will help you build a career in C++. Some of these are: Junior Programmer.

Is it rare to speak 5 languages? ›

1 in 20 people say they can speak 3 languages fluently (5%). Whilst 1.4% say they can fluently speak 4 languages. And 0.1% say they're able to speak 5 or more languages fluently!

Can you learn 10 languages at once? ›

Is It Even Possible to Learn 10 Languages? Short answer: yes. Many polyglots say they've learned 10 or more languages—it's been said that the 19th-century priest Giuseppe Mezzofanti spoke 50 languages!

What is the hottest programming language right now? ›

Javascript is the most popular programming language in the world and is in high demand among various organizations.
1. Javascript.
Level:Beginner to Intermediate
Platform:Cross-platform (desktop, mobile, web)
6 more rows
Mar 17, 2023

Why is C so hard to learn? ›

It is hard to learn because: It is an unconventional language, its data structures are unlike other programming languages. It requires an unreasonably competent compiler. It forces the programmer to think hard about their logic upfront.

Is Java or Python easier? ›

Java and Python are two of the most popular programming languages. Of the two, Java is the faster language, but Python is simpler and easier to learn. Each is well-established, platform-independent, and part of a large, supportive community.

Which language is popular in 2023? ›

Top 20 Most Spoken Languages In The World In 2023
S.NoLanguageTotal Speakers
1English1.45 B
2Mandarin1.12 B
3Hindi602 M
4Spanish548 M
6 more rows

Should I learn Java or JavaScript? ›

Java is easier to learn than C and C++ as a point of interest, but JavaScript usually wins out as the most straightforward. Javascript is easy to learn because it is interpreted at runtime and does not require a lot of technology running behind the scenes.

What is the 6th generation programming language? ›

A sixth-generation programming language (6GL) is any programming language based on visual development. The overall umbrella term for these is "NoCode" or "Visual Development".

What generation is SQL? ›

SQL is a fourth-generation language, which means that the programmer specifies what is to be done, but not how. Other languages, like C, are known as third-generation languages. With these languages, the programmer maintains control over exactly how the program operates.

What generation is Python? ›

Fourth generation languages are commonly used in database programming and scripts examples include Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and SQL.

What are the 9 programming languages? ›

High-level Languages – Python, Visual Basic, Java, C, C++, SQL and many more. Low-level Languages – Hardware/Processor-specific assembly languages and machine code.

How many types of programming do we have? ›

How many programming languages are there? The history of programming languages actually dates back further than you might think. Early computer codes date back to the early 1800s, and since then, we've created nearly 9000 different programming languages.

Which is not a programming language? ›

LASER is not a programming language for computers. As all other options are examples of real programming languages such as BASIC, FORTRAN, and PASCAL. This is because the programming language is an understandable computer communication language.

What are the most low level programming languages? ›

The only true low level programming is machine code or assembly (asm). Assembly is as close as possible to what the CPU (the computer's processor) can execute, as it is literally a text translation of the binary code which the CPU understands.

What are the top 10 programming languages 2010? ›

In 2010, the TIOBE Programming Index ranked the top 10 languages in order as follows: Java, C, C++, PHP, (Visual) Basic, C#, Python, Objective-C, Perl, and Ruby.

What programming languages are no longer used? ›

Dead programming languages (and those on their deathbed)
  • ALGOL. Short for Algorithmic Language, ALGOL is one of the earliest dead programming languages. ...
  • … Pascal. ...
  • APL. Named after the book 'A Programming Language' APL is the language Kenneth E. ...
  • Objective C. ...
  • COBOL. ...
  • Ada. ...
  • Perl. ...
  • Ruby.

What are 3 types of coding languages? ›

Here are three of the most popular computer programming languages:
  • HTML. HTML stands for "Hyper Text Markup Language" and is utilized for coding web pages. ...
  • Java. ...
  • C Language. ...
  • Procedural languages. ...
  • Functional languages. ...
  • Machine languages. ...
  • Assembly languages. ...
  • Logic programming languages.
Mar 10, 2023

How many types of coding language are there? ›

According to the Online Historical Encyclopaedia of Programming Languages, people have created about 8,945 coding languages. Today, various sources report anywhere from 250-2,500 coding languages, although far fewer rank as top contenders in the commonly used group.

What are the different types of coding codes? ›

There are four types of coding:
  • Data compression (or source coding)
  • Error control (or channel coding)
  • Cryptographic coding.
  • Line coding.

What is C++ used for? ›

C++ is used in developing browsers, operating systems, and applications, as well as in-game programming, software engineering, data structures, etc.

What is the most basic type of coding? ›

C is a general-purpose language that most programmers learn before moving on to more complex languages. From Unix and Windows to Tic Tac Toe and Photoshop, several of the most commonly used applications today have been built on C. It is easy to learn because: A simple syntax with only 32 keywords.

What type of coding is Java? ›

The Java™ Programming Language is a general-purpose, concurrent, strongly typed, class-based object-oriented language. It is normally compiled to the bytecode instruction set and binary format defined in the Java Virtual Machine Specification.

What is an example of a programming language? ›

A programming language is a type of written language that tells computers what to do. Examples are: Python, Ruby, Java, JavaScript, C, C++, and C#.

What == means in C++? ›

The equal-to operator ( == ) returns true if both operands have the same value; otherwise, it returns false .

What's better Python or C++? ›

The major advantage of C++ is performance. C++ performs efficiently and the speed is faster when compared to Python. C++ is suitable for almost every platform including embedded systems whereas Python can be used only on certain platforms that support high-level languages.

What is Python mainly used for? ›

Python is commonly used for developing websites and software, task automation, data analysis, and data visualization. Since it's relatively easy to learn, Python has been adopted by many non-programmers such as accountants and scientists, for a variety of everyday tasks, like organizing finances.


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