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What are Computer Programming Languages?

By DeVry University

June 13, 2023

4 min read

Computer programming languages are how we as humans give computers instructions that they can receive, translate and perform.

Programming languages are created for human readability first so that we are able to develop and edit our source codes. When a computer receives instructions in the form of a computer programming language, it is not able to directly translate the message. The computer first needs to convert the programming code into binary format.

Binary is a machine language that delivers machine executable code that computers can understand. Binary is made up of binary digits - 0 and 1 - and is the smallest unit of data in computing. In most cases, binary code will be the final form of any computer program regardless of which computer programming language was used to write the program.



What Computer Programming Languages Can You Learn?

Just like the human language, there are a number of different computer programming languages that can be used to communicate. While they share some common core characteristics, each language has its own distinct features that make it more suitable to certain types of applications.

Choosing the best programming language to learn depends largely on what you need to do with it. Read on for descriptions of some of the most well-known computer programming languages and their applications.



Python is a programming language that is best known for its robustness, readability and flexibility. Python is most commonly used for financial services, data analysis, scripting, scientific research, system integrations and web- or AI-based business applications. Python also integrates well with other languages such as C-languages.

Python is a helpful computer programming language for beginners and advanced programmers alike, thanks to its simple syntax and robust semantics — even NASA uses Python in its Integrated Planning System as a standard!


Java is a programming language that is best known for its general utility. Java is most commonly used for enterprise-level application development for games and mobile apps, as well as web-based development. Originally built to integrate with the language C++, Java allows very small applications to be downloaded through a web browser to perform functions that may not be available within the browser’s current feature set.

In the past, Java was an excellent computer programming language for those who wanted to develop mobile apps, as it was the core foundation for older Android app development. While it’s possible to run Java on both Android and iOS today, it’s not as common as it used to be.

C-sharp (C#)

C-sharp is a programming language that is best known for its use in Windows desktop applications and game development, as well as its similarity to Java capabilities. Although it is similar to Java, however, C-sharp also has its challenges like a steep learning curve and less flexibility compared to C++.

C-sharp was developed in 2000 and is closely related to Microsoft’s .NET framework, of which it is the primary language thanks to its initial development alongside the framework. C-sharp is also used in the creation of web and mobile applications that can be used on any mobile device.


JavaScript is a programming language that is best known for multiple frameworks, JQuery compatibility, and for the development of interactive websites — for which it is the most popular language used. JavaScript is also commonly used to develop mobile and browser-based applications using Node.js. JavaScript is also used to create games, APIs and other tasks not possible with plain HTML.

A challenge for JavaScript’s use in browser-based applications and web development is that it can be disabled. Browsers offer this control to users because of JavaScript’s prominent use in malicious web pop-ups.

Structured Query Language (SQL)

SQL was developed at IBM in its Research Center in 1975 and was originally known as SEQUEL. The first commercial version of this language was introduced by Oracle four years later, in 1979. It is a database query language that is best known for its practicality and easy-to-understand syntax.

SQL is commonly the default method for communicating with databases and is used specifically to add, access and otherwise manage the contents of a database. These foundational uses of SQL are commonly referred to as CRUD, which stands for “Create, Read, Update and Delete.” Oracle also uses the language in partnership with its relationship database management system, MySQL.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

HTML is the standard markup language for documents meant to be displayed in a web browser — known today as webpages — since the early 1990s. HTML is best known for its major role in the creation of the diversity and complexity of the internet as we know it today.

Since its wide adoption, HTML has gone through many iterations, each of which has helped to move web standards and capabilities forward. For example, the most recent version, HTML5, now supports audio and video markup, whereas previous iterations of HTML did not.

What Jobs Can I Pursue Once I Learn to Program?

Once you’ve decided to learn a computer programming language, you’ll want to get as much practice and real-world application experience as possible. This can be accomplished through independent study or through organized coursework.

Degree programs like DeVry’s Associate Degree Specialization in Information Systems and Programming or our Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development can give you a strong foundation, plus, resume-boosting credentials from an accredited school1 like DeVry University that can help you stand out among job candidates. Becoming educated in elements of computer programming languages and technology can help prepare you to pursue careers such as:

  • Applications Programmer Analyst

    This role is responsible for ensuring applications run correctly and suggesting resolutions when they are not.

  • Computer Network Support Specialist

    This role is responsible for analyzing, troubleshooting and evaluating computer network systems.


  • Computer Systems Analyst

    Also referred to as system architects, computer systems analysts are responsible for auditing and optimizing existing computer systems and procedures as well as designing system solutions.

  • Data Warehouse Specialist

    This role is responsible for developing processes and procedures for data management within a respective organization or project.

  • Systems Programmer Analyst

    This role is responsible for general software development including defining, developing, testing, analyzing and maintaining new software.

Learn More About Computer Programming Languages

If learning how to write software and becoming proficient at computer programming sounds exciting, then you may want to explore educational options that prepare you for this field. At DeVry, we specialize in helping students like you gain valuable skills in technology fields such as programming. We've developed our Bachelor's Degree in Software Development to help people like you build vital skills that can help you work toward a career, and we offer several specializations you can choose from including Software Design and Programming and Web and Mobile Application Development.

DeVry also offers an Associate Degree with Specialization in Information Systems and Programming – a program which can be shorter in length, taking about half as long to complete as a bachelor’s program. This program focuses on helping you build the skills and knowledge you need to develop software and apps. Better still, our associate degree program stacks with our bachelor's degree program so if you choose to continue your education at DeVry at a later date, the classes you have taken can apply towards your bachelor's degree.2


Interested in Learning More About Programming Languages?

Explore the courses we have to offer to see how a computer programming-related program at DeVry can help you build career-relevant skills.

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