How many programming languages are there? 

Computers have largely contributed to the tech revolution we saw in the world. A major part that helped us develop those technologies is programming languages. Just like we communicate in a specific language to understand each other point of view, the same procedure applies to computer or devices which run on an interface.

The list of programming languages is long. It is increasing with each passing year. New languages are being developed, old ones are getting new changelogs and some of them are depreciated. Hence it would be pretty difficult to give an exact figure for programming languages. We will discuss this further in detail in our post.

How many programming languages are there?

Types of Programming Languages

Before we dive into an actual figure, we need to have a brief idea regarding the different types of languages used.

Low-Level Languages

Low-level languages are used to directly communicate to the machine. It deals with the actual architecture, hardware, and components of a computer. They can further be distinguished between Machine and Assembly languages. 

Machine Languages works on 0 and 1s only. It stores any data including text, number, picture, etc in form of 0 and 1s (binary form). This language is easy to understand for the machine but difficult for humans. Hence we use Assembly language for easier development and understanding. It is comparatively easier to understand since it involves the usage of characters and mnemonics like SUB, ADD, MOV, etc. 

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Jeff Bezos Career Advice

It is noteworthy that these days low-level languages are rarely used for programming purposes.

High-Level Languages

It is used for efficient control over coder usability and understanding. They are made with the aim of better human understanding, enabling them to code difficult programs and algorithms in a much easier way. A high-level language is the same to humans as low-level language is to the machine.

Some major examples of high-level programming languages are:

  • C
  • C++
  • PHP
  • RUST 
  • RUBY

High-level languages are the first choice for current generation programmers and aspirants.

How many programming languages are there?

Different sources have reported different numbers for the coding languages. Putting all claims together, there are about 700-9000 languages. This figure is not verified and hence can be false.

Wikipedia has said that 700 languages exist according to them. It includes all the favored languages around the world. It seems they have listed less about programming languages but they included all the relevant names.

Github: Github is the most popular open-source programming network. They have said that developers have used primarily 370 languages according to a report from 2019.

HOPL, an online directory has listed an enormous number of 8945 languages. I was not able to verify this independently because of its website security which suggested high risk. Another website FOLDOC said that there are about 1000 languages.

So comparing all the guesses, it is safe to assume the number to be around 700-1000.

How many of them are used currently?

After knowing how many languages are available, the next thing that comes to our mind is that how many of them are relevant these days. With the data from Wikipedia, it is clear that there are 700 languages which include “all-important programming languages used by software, web, app developers and coders”.

Most popular programming languages-Top 10

Here is the list of top 10 programming languages as determined by us through extensive research:

  1. Python- Python makes it to the top of our list. The 1st thing which makes it great is its easy understandability which makes it easier for even 1st-time programmers. It is widely used for making applications its multi-platform compatibility, machine learning, web development through Django framework, code reusability, and other python frameworks which allows its usage for multiple purposes. Its major benefits are:
  • Open source and object-oriented
  • 1M+ repositories on Github which makes it one of the most popular languages.
  • Cross-platform support which helps in GUI development
  • It has many popular frameworks like Tkinter, Django, Kivy, WxPython

Its major disadvantages are as follows:

  • Due to its easy understanding, it becomes difficult for Python coders to code in other languages.
  • High-level memory consumption- It is because of flexibility in the data types. So you need a high-end machine for high-level tasks.
  • Python interpreter checks its code one by one for error. This causes a person to check its code again and again till it is error-free. Further error if any show up during runtime errors. 
  1. R- R language should be your ultimate choice if you are in the field of Data Analytics. Its difficulty level is intermediate so you need to learn its basics before becoming an expert on it. It has recently seen an uprise in its demand all over the world. Its major benefits are:
  • Used in Big Data Analysis
  • Open source- Free so everyone can use it without paying anything
  • Can be used for plotting and making graphs. 
  • Popular libraries like ggplot2 and plotly enable graph plotting in R
  • It supports extensions that help to make new programs effortlessly and distribute them as individual extensions.
  • It has a vast amount of packages. R has almost 10,000+ packages in the CRAN repository which is quite big.
  • It is used in machine learning and data science.

Its major disadvantages are:

  • Slow speed- It takes time to execute packages and code. It is much slower in comparison to MATLAB and Python.
  • Lack of dynamic graphics (3D). Hence it is rarely used for realistic GUI projects.
  • Not-top level security. It provides basic security with many limitations. Hence it is not used in any web application. 
  1. JavaScript- JavaScript finds its most popular usage in web development. JavaScript provides a call to action to web components resulting in interactivity with users. It’s only because of JavaScript that you can enjoy a website truly.

Its major advantages are:

  • Vast Usage- Due to its ease of usage, it can be anywhere on the web with other languages regardless of the extension. It can be used inside script tags with languages like Perl and PHP.
  • Speed- Client-side JavaScript is very fast as it runs on another client-side browser.
  • Less server load- Since it executes on a server-side browser it reduces the demand on the server which makes the process faster.

Its major disadvantages are:

  • Since it executes on the user’s computer, it can be used for hostile purposes on the web. This is why show people choose to disable it for security purposes.
  • Bad cross-browser support- Some browsers don’t support elements of JavaScript or interpret them differently. Hence it becomes to code different browsers in the same way.
  1. Java- Before describing Java I would like to inform you that this language is entirely different from JavaScript. Many newbies confuse it with each other. Java is an object-oriented programming language 

Its major advantages are:

  • It is object-oriented.
  • It is used in web applications.
  • Code reusability
  • It supports the concept of multithreading i.e. performing several assignments simultaneously.
  • Seamless transition from different versions of Java.

Its major disadvantages are:

  • Graphics of applications made with the use of Java is just okayish.
  • It requires huge memory space allocation.
  1. C++: It is used often for game development in addition to robotics, 3D printing, GUI, drivers, and desktop applications.

Major advantages of C++ are:

  • It supports object-oriented, procedural, and generic programming.
  • It finds its usage in high-level applications.
  • It supports exception handling for throwing out errors.
  • It offers high-level abstraction.

Major disadvantages of C++ are:

  • It is used for platform-specific tasks.
  • C++ Unicode to ASCII code is 8 bit only. Hence it comes with certain limitations.
  1. PHP: PHP is a backend scripting language used for web development. Dynamic web pages can be made with their use. Its latest release is PHP 7.

Its main advantages are:

  • Simple to use and configure- It is one of the easiest things when it comes to web development.
  • Database- A major use of PHP comes in connecting databases and storing useful information safely. phpMyAdmin allows the manage the information stored in databases.
  • Fast and efficient- Web pages are rendered faster using PHP. This is one of the biggest USP of using PHP as our ultimate goal is to make a webpage as fast as possible.
  • Security- It is a good option for web page security as it comes with multiple frameworks. Hence developers find it a good option.

Major disadvantages of PHP are:

  • It is said nowadays that it is dying to new-age frameworks like Angular JS, Vue JS, and React which offer better opportunities.
  • Poor error handling since it lacks debugging tools.
  1. Swift- It is a general-purpose programming language developed by Apple Inc. and an open-source community started in 2014. Since it is made by Apple, it is getting a lot of popularity in the dev community. It is used in developing iOS apps.

Its major advantages are:

  • Cross-platform support- Apart from use in iOS and iOS X apps but is also used in other platforms like macOS and watchOS.
  • Faster development process. It helps in saving time in running time-taking algorithms.
  • Swift supports dynamic libraries.

Its major disadvantages are:

  • Speed issues are found in the old versions of Swift.
  • It is still developing with limited use by professionals.
  1. SQL– It is a domain-specific language used for storing, modifying, and deleting information from created databases. It stores data in tables.

Its major advantages are:

  • It allows users to add, delete and modify database tables according to admin requirements.
  • Analytics- Data analytics use SQL to run queries based on the analytical dataset.
  • Its standards are well defined.
  • There is not much to code in SQL since that part is managed by other languages.

Its major disadvantages are:

  • SQL has a composite interface which might make it difficult for some users.
  • Limited Access- Only admins have complete access to sensitive data and other information. Nobody can access its data whether be its programmers unless he has its credentials.
  • Cost- It comes with a cost and hence might be bad for small-scale purposes. 
  1. Visual Basic- It is an event-driven programming language by Microsoft released in 1991.

Its major advantages are:

  • Easy to learn- You would not find it hard to learn. Even an average programmer would be able to code in it.
  • It is widely used by coders.
  • It supports the concept of RAD (Rapid Application Development) so it is used in software engineering.

Major disadvantages of Visual Basic are:

  • No cross-platform support: Since it is made by Microsoft, it majorly supports Windows only.
  • It comes with limited usage in web development.
  1. Golang- It is a statically typed, compiled programming language developed by Google in 2007. It was made open-source by Google in 2009. Developers use it primarily on Google’s production systems.

Its main advantages are:

  • It is open-source which helps in faster error resolution.
  • It comes with built-in programming code testing and easy APIs for integration.
  • Many top companies including Google, Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Twitter, etc are using it. This is one of the reasons why it is one of the most trending languages used worldwide.

Its main disadvantages are:

  • It is still growing so many changes are coming with the advent of time.
  • Error handling does not work perfectly yet and there are chances of errors.
  • While it is focusing on speed, the same cannot be said concerning runtime safety.
Ending Notes 

We know that programming languages are a part of our lives. They are getting updated each passing day, while some of them retiring for the better. I believe that these languages have their distinct use according to their purposes. So it would not be right to say that a particular language is required or not. The thing is that it doesn’t matter how many languages are there. What matters how many of them are relevant today and which one had a distinct history.


Q1. Why we have so many languages when we hardly use more than 10 languages?

The reason why so many languages came into existence is that developers preferred having different languages for different purposes.

Q2. Which are some must-know programming languages?

C++, C, C#, Python, Java, Rust, JavaScript, HTML, Visual Basic, React, Angular, MySQL, MATLAB, DOS, Assembly language to name a few.

Q3. How many languages should a person learn and code?

There is no specific number. Though I would recommend you at most 4-5 languages which are in the current usage. Quality matters over quality. Even 1 language can be enough for you if you are an expert on it (or 2-3 depending on your profession). Else even learning more and more languages might not be fruitful as you might not be able to utilize your full potential.

Q4. What makes the base of each programming language?

The thing that makes most programming languages is their syntax. It is the syntax that decides how to code an algorithm, program, or app. Other than that logic remains the same.

How many programming languages are there? 

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