In a world with hundreds of programming languages, keeping up with the latest in-fashion language could be a full-time job. But most companies, including the largest tech giants out there, prioritize languages that have earned their stripes—meaning engineers looking to work at these companies would be best off focusing on the foundations, rather than the language of the week
Whether you’re looking for a new job or simply wanting to keep up with the fast-moving software industry, these are the programming languages that the top tech companies in the world rely on to build their products.
Python is the Swiss Army knife of programming languages, and benefits from being a good language for beginners. While not overwhelmingly powerful, it is flexible and useful in a variety of domains. Whether you are a system administrator, web developer, or data scientist, odds are that Python is a key part of your workflow. As evidence of this, top tech companies such as Google, Dropbox, and Quora all count Python as a primary language.
What’s more, Python has become the lingua franca of the current AI renaissance, with companies like Facebook and Google offering popular machine learning libraries written in Python (Amazon’s machine learning library also offers a Python API). With the drawn-out transition from Python 2 to Python 3 almost complete, all signs point to Python securing a significant place at top tech companies for years to come.
For a practical balance of performance and safety, Java is hard to beat. Amazon, LinkedIn, Google, Apple, Facebook, and many others rely on Java and its underlying Java Virtual Machine to deliver products that serve millions of users and handle massive amounts of data.
Java has become the de facto language of the Big Data community, with best in class open source infrastructure systems such as Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark and Apache Kafka all running on the Java Virtual Machine. As a result, any organization churning through terabytes of data likely has Java somewhere in their stack, and a slew of open positions for programmers experienced in these technologies.
The lowest level language on our list, C++ is the go-to language for companies concerned about getting maximum performance out of their software. Google is often described as a C++ culture, and C++ is used by low level infrastructure teams at Facebook and Amazon as well. It is the primary language of many game developers, roboticists, and avionics programmers. While C++ can be cumbersome to use, real-time and high performance software systems require its power, and once companies reach a certain size, or their products reach a certain level of complexity, C++ becomes a requirement to deliver what they need.