Top 5 Web Development Languages to Learn Today

This post is a little different than the usual “top five” ones. The idea is not just to recommend the five most useful languages for the backend, but five languages that will secure your present and future (and to an extent, past, when you work on legacy projects).

So, without further ado, which five languages do I recommend for web development today?

  1. JavaScript: With everything from servers to IoT code being written in JavaScript, this is a language only the very foolish or the very brave will ignore. Everywhere you look in the JS ecosystem, there are explosions of creativity and cutting-edge ideas. On Web, it of course helps you to work both on the client and server side, and is one language that absolutely must be in your arsenal.
  2. PHP: If God had created the Internet, he would’ve done it in PHP. Or maybe not. But the point is, an insane number of websites and software have been written in PHP. Even if you don’t like the language, you’re better off learning it because who knows when you might have to tackle WordPress or some weird CRM one day.
  3. Elixir: A little-known language at this point, Elixir is climbing the ladder of popularity pretty quickly. The reasons are dead simple: it’s a Ruby-inspired language that runs on the hallowed Erlang Virtual Machine. That gives it superpowers other languages can only dream of. Pinterest is already using Elixir in production and reported very nice results. Definitely a language to watch out for.
  4. Golang: If you don’t want to dive into Elixir because functional programming or the OTP ecosystem sounds like a lot of work (and curse you if you think so!) then Golang is the natural next alternative. For people fed up with the poor real-time capabilities of PHP and Ruby, and the questionable stability of Node.js on large scale, Golang is a godsend by none other than Google. Also, with Docker being written in it, Golang has a claim to fame that few languages have.
  5. Java: I really struggled to add a fifth language to the list. Python doesn’t cut it because whatever Python can do in web development, PHP can do. Same goes for Ruby. I finally decided to include Java because it’s a decent, compiled language that has stuff like the Netty server for crazy runtime performance. Mountains of enterprise code — code that generates billions of dollars in cash every day — was done in Java, which secures its place permanently among the ranks of programming languages. You’ll be better off picking up some Java as you move along.

With these five languages, I believe your past, present, and future of web development is secure. Banish all thoughts of other languages from your minds and get to work!

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