Top 6 Programming Languages (& Learn Free)

Coding is one of my five essential future skills and I get asked all the time what the best coding and programming skills are to learn. I collaborated with my buddy Callum to pick the 6 most valuable coding language and how you can learn them for free online and start making 6 figures.

Many of the jobs of the future don’t yet exist, but there is one skill set that will be essential into the future: coding. Learning to code and program will not only give you the ability to create new technologies, but because it’s a skillset that’s in such high demand, it can give you the financial freedom to live anywhere in the world. As more of our everyday lives become automated, learning how to program will change the way you think about the world.

You might be thinking, how can I learn how to code? Where can I learn to code for free? And what types of jobs can I get?

First, let me start by saying that while coding is definitely challenging to learn, it’s never been easier in history to learn it. There are an infinite number of high quality YouTube videos that you can follow to learn how to code and program in almost any language. But you need to stay focused. Yes, while most of the “how to” code tutorials are free, you will need to put in the time. Whether your learning to code to start a side hustle, get a raise, or start a completely new job, you should be prepared to spend at least 2-3 months to learn a programming language.

Programming languages die, while better ones appear. However, you need to have a base understanding of how these languages work properly. This way, you will save yourself the trouble of having to learn a new one. Coding requires time to learn and master, but once you learn one language it makes it significantly easier to learn another.

Top Programming Languages for 2024

There are many programming languages you can choose from. Your choice depends on your specific intent – aka what do you want to do? We will get to that in a second. Usually, when looking for a programming language, what you need to consider is:

  • How easy it is to learn
  • Its future potential
  • If you actually enjoy the programming language
  • Its popularity
  • How much money you can make

One of the most important things you learn is the theory behind the programming languages. To be able to survive in this industry, you also need to be creative and know how to solve certain problems.

Here are the most popular and valuable programming skills out there.

1. Java

Java is one of the most popular and valuable programming languages since almost all of the world’s biggest 500 companies use it. It’s over 20 years old, and its compatibility with platforms makes is so valuable thanks to the Java Virtual Machine, which allows Java to run on any operating system. The career paths popular with Java are Android developer, big data developer or backend developer.

Learning Java is also a great starting point for learning other programming languages. The average salary for a Java coding job is over $70,000 per year and there are a ton of remote work jobs being a Java programmer.

You’d also be surprised to find out you could learn it online for free. An online Java course typically takes about 5 weeks and it teaches you the basics of the language. After this, you could continue working with more advanced applications.

Where to learn Java for free

There are a ton of great free Java courses, but these are my favorites. You can’t go wrong with any of them – just check them out to see which teaching style and instructor you like best.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript is undoubtedly the most popular coding language and will be around for a very long time. I first learned Javascript in 2011 and have used it a lot in building Millennial Money and a few other sits. According to Jeff Atwood, the co-founder of Stack Overflow, if an application can be written in JavaScript, then it definitely will be.

The Node.js environment lets you run JavaScript with high efficiency on the backend. JavaScript also works with many front-end frameworks like Ember, Angular and Backbone. If you want to build mobile applications or video games you can use Javascript. It also allows you to work very quickly.

One potential challenge, is that to learn Javascript you need to also know CSS and HTML, both of which are used to build website. While it’s easy to start a blog using platforms WordPress, if you want to really be in control of your website then learning Javascript is a must. There are many places to learn Javascript for free. Here are my favorites.

Learning Javascript for Free

Here is an extremely comprehensive and amazing 6 hour free Javascript course on YouTube

Codecademy is also an awesome free place to learn Javascript.

3. Python

Python is a programming language that’s grown a lot in popularity in 2018 and it’s used in network servers, web applications, desktop apps and many others.

Guido van Rossum was the one that created the language in 1989. Its name is based on his love for the Monty Python Flying Circus. The creator was also employed at Google and NASA for 8 years writing Python.

Python is a great choice if you’re a beginner in the programming world and it’s one of the most in-demand skill sets. It’s also common for new coders to learn both Python and Javascript as their first coding languages. There were at least 20,000 new Python jobs created in the United States so far in 2018 alone and demand is growing faster than ever.

Here’s the best free Python YouTube course.

Here’s another great free Python YouTube course.

4. Swift

Swift has been created by Apple in 2014 and is the programming language for iOS and macOS. If you want to build apps for the iPhone learning Swift is essential and is much easy to use than Objective C, the language for Apple’s iOS and macOS.

The average salary for a Swift developer is $100,000 and the average freelancer makes at least $50 per hour remotely! Additionally, Apple has sold over 1 billion iphones, so demand is likely going to continue to remain high. Another benefit is that Swift is extremely easy and completely free to learn.

Here is an awesome video from Stanford on programming for Apple devices, including using Swift to build iPhone apps. It’s an exceptional primer on all things Apple. Check it out.

5. C and C++

I’m a big fan of C. It’s like going back to the beginning of programming. C was created by Dennis Ritchie in 1972 and it’s one of the most used programming languages ever. It’s definitely stood the test of time. It was on the 2nd place on the TIOBE Index of programming language popularity, after Java. C++ and C# were below it, in the 3rd and 4th place.

C++ is an extension of the C programming language and has always been a popular. It was created in 1985 and has very good reliability, performance and a wide variety of contexts it can be used in. It can be used for drivers, application/system software, game development, embedded firmware and others applications.

Some of the massive systems created by using C++ language are PayPal, Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle. While many people consider it more difficult to learn compared to Java or Python, it’s often recommended to computer science students as the first programming language they should learn since learning the C++ language helps you understand how other languages work.

If this programming language interests you, you should know it can also be learned online. The basics can be covered by taking free lessons on For C++ lessons, check out

Here’s the best free C course I’ve found on YouTube. This video has it all in one video!

6. SQL

SQL is the programming language of storing, retrieving and managing data in databases. Almost every application used for programming comes in contact with data, so it’s no surprise that SQL is so popular.

The demand for SQL jobs is extremely high and it’s easy to make 6 figures with this skillset. Also, it’s easy to set up and interact with MySQL as well, which is a free database. It’s also easy to learn SQL for free online like in this legit YouTube video. Check it out.

Final Thoughts

This concludes the list of the 6 most valuable coding and programming skills to learn. While it’s definitely not easy to code, it’s definitely never been easier to learn it for free online and through YouTube videos. It takes time, dedication and hard work. It’s worth it and demand only continues to grow.

What else can you learn how to do for free and make 6 figures in 3 or 4 months?

Callum is the head of marketing at Warble Media. They are an eCommerce website design and digital marketing agency based in Dubbo, NSW, Australia.

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  • Comment Author image blank
    I miss PHP in this list. It is a very useful and easy to learn programming language for web development. I would choose it over Python for web development anytime! While Python is massively over-hyped, PHP suffers from unjustified stereotypes.
  • Comment Author image blank
    A truly legit list and as you wrote an essential skill for the future. As a programmer maybe I am biased on the topic but I think every elementary school should include coding in their curriculum as early as possible. The next generation should learn writing code after they learn how to write. These days technology evolves so fast that dozens of jobs appear and disappear every day. Computers take over more and more tasks and the winners will be who speak their language. Thanks for sharing this and spreading the word ;)
  • Comment Author image blank is another great resource to learn JavaScript. It's a bit more hands on than CodeAcademy.