Every computer program works by using a programming language, which is a series of rules that conveys instructions for executing a program or other operation.

Programming languages are therefore critical to various programs' operation and functionality. To put it simply, computing would not happen without them.

A vast array of languages are available and in demand, which is part of the reason there are so many jobs available in computers and software development.


A programming language is needed to produce software programs and create connections between devices. A programmer learns the basics of a language and uses it to write source code in a text editor or Integrated Development Environment (IDE) program.

Programmers can create new applications based on the code they wish to use. Data scientists can also analyze code to debug or adjust programs.

Programming Language Basics

Programming language features include:

  • Syntax - How the language appears on the surface, or when written. Syntax can include words, numbers, or other characters.
  • Semantics - The meaning of words in the language. These are necessary for giving a computer instructions.
  • Type System - Includes a list of values and expressions and how they interact. The type system assigns a property to each term or definition it finds.

Various programming education courses - including those targeted at children - teach how a language operates.

An Evolution of Machine Code

Computer programming languages are an evolution from machine code, an older form of programming. Machine code comprises a series of letters and numbers instructing a computer to change its memory. While a computer can read machine code, it is not a practical skill for today's data scientists or programmers. Newer programming languages that use everyday words are easier to program, and computers can still translate these into machine code.

How a Programmer Prepares a Programming Language

There are a few steps a programmer uses when working on a computer programming language:

  1. A programmer writes code that tells the computer what to do; this may include entering a code or trigger word to activate an action.
  2. The computer compiles the programming code and translates it into machine code.
  3. The computer executes the code, using the machine code it collects to complete a requested task.
  4. A computer may also use an interpreter (a program that reads programming data) in some situations. The computer then executes on the data based on what it reads and the different terms identified.

The steps and terms a programmer uses vary per language. A professional with data scientist skills understands how different terms apply to various prominent languages, and uses this information to debug or configure programs. Baylor University offers programs where students can learn about languages and how to analyze them.

What Are Some of the Most Popular Programming Languages?

Data scientists and programmers come across various programming languages in their work. Here are a few of the most popular:

  1. Python

Python is a simple programming language that can integrate with many others and is used to produce data science programs and artificial intelligence. It helps analyze data and confirm whichever items users are trying to find online.

Python is a common language because it can create many programs for various purposes. It is therefore not for specific use, but rather is highly flexible.

  1. C#

C# is the language Microsoft uses for many of its programs. C# develops apps and websites and is clearer in its layout than Python. Loading C# websites and programs also takes less time.

  1. C++

C++ is used in many situations. It works for high-performance programs and uses a more advanced syntax system, and multiple terms and definitions. C++ can be more challenging for data scientists and programmers to learn due to its depth of detail.

  1. SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is necessary for database management and running massive data stores. It accesses and collects data from databases and is used to manage relational databases and trigger various activities on data.

  1. Java

Java is a programming language that can be written on one device, then run on any other platform that supports it. It is the most prominent language in the Android operating system.

  1. JavaScript

JavaScript enables programmers to produce web content on a server before sending it to a browser. It also helps produce mobile apps. Many of the programs that run on JavaScript do not require a separate download to work.

  1. R

R is used for statistical software programs and other complex systems data scientists may review. R helps in machine learning and managing vast data sets. It is needed when processing large amounts of data simultaneously.

  1. PHP

PHP is a common programming language on social media sites such as Facebook and WordPress. PHP content can create websites and other online programs. It is an evolution from older HTML platforms because its code executes on a server, which then returns the data in an HTML format a browser can display. PHP's layout is easier to program than HTML.


Computer programming languages are critical for operating various software programs and systems. Appropriate languages are necessary when processing online tasks, and computer programmers will be expected to learn and practice multiple languages in their work. Each language has different requirements and uses various operation steps, but all are alike in that they can create various programs and computing operations.