5 Programming Languages to Learn in 2020 [Free Learning Resources] - RND Talents


5 programming languages

5 Programming Languages to Learn in 2020 [Free Learning Resources]

Keeping up with everything going on in tech can be overwhelming.

It’s not hard to get confused about what’s actually worth your time.

Today, we’re going to make your life easier by listing the top 5 programming languages to learn in 2020. We consider these languages safe in terms of job security – they’re popular and sought after by employers.

This list is based on our experience as an IT recruitment agency as well as the biggest surveys and indexes about language popularity, so there’s no guesswork going on.

We’re also including a free learning resource for each entry on our list.

If you’re new to programming or your goal for 2020 is to learn a new programming language – read on.


Both HackerRank and StackOverflow rank JavaScript as the most popular language for 2018 and 2019.

JavaScript is part of the holy trinity of web development, along with HTML and CSS. There are almost no alternatives when it comes to web development.

As a programming language JavaScript is also highly-flexible, can be used on the front-end and the back-end (in a Node.js environment), it’s relatively easy to learn and has a ton of additional uses in data visualization and game development, for example.

You can put another language in the top spot for popularity, but if JavaScript isn’t in your top 5 – something’s wrong with your list.

The best free resources for learning JavaScript (and HTML/CSS) is freeCodeCamp. Their program includes upwards of 2000 hours of courses, examples, coding challenges, interview prep and many other goodies. Go nuts.


Python is ranked as the number one most popular language by the PYPL index (as of October 2019).

In the last few years, Python has made a strong comeback and is now regularly included in the top 3-5 must learn languages.

There are a couple of reasons why. Python is extremely user-friendly and it requires fewer lines of code compared to other similar languages. It’s also often used in machine learning, which is a hot topic these days. YouTube, Instagram and Dropbox all use Python.

The Python for Absolute Beginners course is a great place to start learning for free. This course includes 45 lectures and a ton of downloadable resources. If you’re new to programming or you need to brush up on the basics of Python – this is the course for you.


As of October 2019, the TIOBE index ranks Java as the most popular programming language and the PYPL index – as the second most popular.

Java is still very backwards compatible, which is a massive advantage in larger projects. It also has impressive dev tools and lots of features. We can go on about it, but the truth is Java is still a safe bet.

The free resource for this one is Practice Java by Building Projects. As you can imagine, this course is focused on practice and real-life applications of the Java language. That’s why it’s better suited for people that already have some Java experience and knowledge of object-oriented programming.

As a side note, there are some concerns about the future of Java. We’ll talk about those in a separate article, but as of right now, learning Java opens the door for tons of job opportunities and a secure career path.

C and C++

C/C++ are ranked at number 6 by the PYPL index, but we’re putting them a bit higher for a few reasons.

It’s a cliché at this point, but C is the mother of all programming languages. C dates back all the way to the 1970s and has a long history of being embedded in some of the most important applications and operating systems. For example, the kernels of Windows, Linux, macOS and iOS all contain C code (and C++). If that doesn’t count as popular, we don’t know what does.

C++, on the other hand, is still popular with game developers. It’s one of the fastest and most efficient languages in terms of execution and it has a massive community behind it.

Cprogramming.com is an obvious choice for free C/C++ training. The site offers a ton of free resources for both beginner and intermediate developers, including quizzes, practice problems and book recommendations.   


This one might be a controversial entry.

Lots of serious developers (whatever that means) don’t like PHP for a number of reasons.

It’s pretty funny that most of PHP’s criticism you’ll find online comes from the Java, Python and C community. If you listen to it, PHP should have been dead for at least 5 years now. Well, it’s not. Quite the opposite – PYPL ranks PHP as the 5th most popular language and TIOBE – as the 9th, as of October 2019.

As the creator of C++ Bjarne Stroustrup famously said: “There are only two kinds of languages: the ones people complain about and the ones nobody uses.”

And PHP, for better or worse, is one of the former.

The language is extremely straightforward to install and incredibly cheap, making it a prime target for hobbyists and small businesses. That’s why PHP has a massive community behind it. Controversial or not – it’s hugely popular.

A great starting place for newcomers is the Beginner PHP and MySQL Tutorial. It might be a bit outdated, but if you’re a beginner, it still does a great job of giving you a solid foundation of knowledge in a bit over 10 hours.


Continually upgrading your developer skill set is crucial.

It allows you to keep up with the trends and gives you a broader perspective of your work.

Also, having a solid foundation in multiple languages always looks impressive on a resume.

If you want to learn a new language the best time to start is always now.

You have your list and your free resources.

Get to work.