How Many Coding Languages Are There?

The suggested number of coding languages ranges from about 250-2,500. Fortunately, you only need to know one to start coding.

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by Marisa Upson

Updated September 15, 2022

Reviewed by Darnell Kenebrew

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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. Each language is designed for a specific platform, operation system, coding style, and intended use. Some live in relative obscurity, while others are in high demand.

Some coding languages add functionality and interactivity to webpages. Others are used to write scientific and numerical software. There are also those required for game development and others for desktop software on Windows platforms. Seeing the list of coding languages can feel a little overwhelming. Fortunately, you don't need to learn them all. Learning just one can get you started.

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While not all IT and computer jobs require coding skills, knowing the language of computers can help you get into this in-demand and exciting field.

What Are Coding Languages?

Coding allows humans to communicate with computers. Coding languages instruct computers to perform certain tasks in a language they can understand. They may tell a computer to add specific numbers or tell an autonomous vehicle how to respond to road conditions. In the same way you need to speak the local language when visiting another country, you need to speak computer to give it instructions it understands.

Today, most coders use high-level programming languages. These are closer to human language than low-level coding languages and require a compiler, interpreter, or both to translate them into machine language.

Are Coding and Programming Languages the Same?

Coding is considered a subset and essential component of programming. It involves the specific task of writing code that computers understand. It requires knowledge of at least one coding — also known as programming — language.

Programming creates and develops machine programs and fully functioning applications and software. It uses specific analysis tools for various tasks and requires understanding algorithms and data structures, modeling programs, and testing frameworks. Programming creates instructions that tell computers how to perform a task, and coding converts it into a language that computers can understand and follow.

Programmers and coders use many different coding languages. Some of the most popular are Python, Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, and PHP.

List of Coding Languages

According to the TIOBE index, some notable coding languages include:

  • Apex
  • Bash
  • C
  • C#
  • C++
  • Eiffel
  • Falcon
  • Groovy
  • Haskell
  • IDL
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Lua
  • Moto
  • Pascal
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Python
  • R
  • Ruby
  • Rust
  • Scala
  • Solidity
  • SQL
  • Squirrel
  • Swift
  • Transact-SQL
  • TypeScript
  • Vala/Genie
  • Wolfram
  • Why Are There So Many?

    Coders use different languages for different purposes. Some are used predominantly for web development. Others are used when writing desktop software, creating mobile apps, and solving scientific problems. Some languages are used for client-side programming, while others are designed for the back-end or server-side.

    Which Coding Languages Should I Learn?

    The coding languages you should learn depend on your career goals. For example, common coding languages for creating websites include JavaScript, Python, and SQL. On the other hand, if you are drawn to Android app development, the top languages include Kotlin, Java, and C++.

    That said, you can apply some coding languages to almost every IT project. A few of the most important coding languages include Python, JavaScript, Java, C#, and Ruby.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Languages

    What is the main language for coding?

    Several companies use different methods for determining the most popular coding languages. According to the TIOBE Index for August 2022, Python takes the lead, followed by C, Java, C++, C#, Visual Basic, and JavaScript.

    Python also ranks number one in PYPL's popularity language list, followed by Java, JavaScript, C#, C, C++, and PHP. Consider your goals and area of interest when deciding on a language to learn.

    Is learning coding hard?

    Sometimes. Learning how to code requires strong attention to detail, creativity, and a passion that gets you through the tough spots. For people with a love of technology, an appetite to learn, and considerable patience, coding can come easier than for others.

    It's similar to learning a new language. You may struggle at first or be surprised by how easy certain parts come to you. Starting with a language that's easier to learn can reduce the angst and help introduce you to an amazing field.

    Does coding need math?

    Aspiring coders are often concerned about the amount of math involved. Most coding requires a basic knowledge of math concepts like algebra and logic. Your interest area also affects the amount of math you need to know. For example, most front-end web developers need basic math skills.

    Comparatively, back-end web developers may need to know basic algebra and geometry. Those in the security, data science, and robotics fields may need to know more advanced mathematical concepts.

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