What actually is a Programming Language?
When beginning your programming journey, you may find yourself asking, “What exactly is a programming language?” Well, we are here to answer this question. Check it out and then read on to learn more about different programming languages and what each is good for.
If you’re new to the programming world, then dive into our definition of programming language.
“To put simply, programming is giving a set of instructions to a computer to execute. If you’ve ever cooked using a recipe before, you can think of yourself as the computer and the recipe’s author as a programmer. The recipe author provides you with a set of instructions that you read and then follow. The more complex the instructions, the more complex the result!”
And programming languages are the tools that we use to write instructions for computers to follow. Computers always “think” in binary — strings of 1s and 0s. Programming languages allow us to translate the 1s and 0s into something that humans can understand and write. A programming language is made up of a series of symbols that serve as a bridge that allows humans to translate our thoughts into instructions computers can understand.
Low-Level vs. High-Level Programming Languages: The Difference
Usually, programming languages fall into two different classifications — low-level and high-level.
Low-level programming languages are closer to machine code, or binary. Therefore, they’re more difficult for humans to read (although they’re still easier to understand than 1s and 0s). The benefit of low-level languages is that they’re fast and offer precise control over how the computer will function.
High-level programming languages are closer to how humans communicate with the machines. High-level languages use words (like an object, order, run, class, request, etc.) that are closer to the words we use in our everyday lives. This means they’re easier to program in than low-level programming languages, although they do take more time to translate into machine code for the computer.
But as the computers are becoming more powerful, the difference in runtime between low-level and high-level programming languages is often only milliseconds. As a result, high-level languages do the trick in most scenarios.
Most popular programming languages
There are tons of programming languages out there in this tech world that allow you to do all sorts of things, from building virtual reality experiences to creating video games and more. There’s even a programming language that consists entirely of emojis! The most popular programming languages include the following:
- Python: Python is a versatile, general-purpose programming language. It can be used in a variety of fields from data science and machine learning to web development and is a great first language to learn.
- Java: Another programming language that’s great when you’re starting, Java can be used for many things, including mobile applications, software development, and large systems development.
- C#: C#, Microsoft’s popular programming language, can be used for a wide variety of application development, including game development, enterprise software, video games, mobile apps, and more.
- C++: C++ is one of the most powerful programming languages and is used in a wide range of industries, including VR, software and game development, robotics, and scientific computing.
- PHP: PHP, on the other hand, is a widely-used server-side language. It’s a great choice if you’re interested in building dynamic web applications and works well with databases and HTML.
- R: R is a statistical programming language that’s popular among data scientists. It’s used for answering questions with data analysis and creating data visualizations.
- Swift: Swift is Apple’s programming language and is a must if you plan to develop applications for iOS and macOS.