Since the emergence of Fortran in 1957, the programming paradigm has seen colossal advancements. Just as there are thousands of spoken languages, there are nearly 250 programming languages to interact with a computer system, based on the popularity and Turing completeness of a potential coding language.
Suffice to say, the world of coding is inexplicably vast and fast-growing. And software development is one of the most sought-after careers right now—
- The job outlook for software developers is expected to grow by 22% by 2029, with an estimated 316,000 job opportunities to be created in the field.
- The median pay of software developers has grown by 7–13% in different countries. It currently stands at $107,510 per year.
- There has been a 17% increase in the demand for back-end and front-end developers in recent times.
Software programming is a highly competitive field and demands that you have competence in more than one language to attract job prospects from FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) companies. Naturally, it is a huge challenge if you are trying to pick a programming language to learn, especially if you are a beginner.
You can sort coding languages to learn by their demand, job prospects, and salary bands, to gain clarity. But it is also important to know which coding languages developers at FAANG companies are flocking to, to figure out the best coding language to learn.
In this article, we will rely on the latest statistics and insights to determine the best programming languages to learn in 2021 while preparing for FAANG interviews.
Top 7 programming languages used by FAANG companies
Here are the most used programming languages by FAANG companies in 2021:
As one of the most popular coding languages in the world, Python finds invaluable use in solving problems and gaining insights. Python has recorded a 27% year-over-year traffic growth which is mostly fueled by data analysts and data scientists; its application in AI analysis, deep learning, and data analysis is unmissable.
As per Artur Yolchan (Sr. Software Engineer & owner Coding Skills), “Python will probably be the most favorite programming language for developers in 2021."
Since Python is a general-purpose language, it offers a lot more versatility in job designations than its contemporaries, which means someone with knowledge of Python has abundant career advancement opportunities. From entry-level software developers with an average salary of $86,868 /year to Machine Learning Engineers earning $151,373 /year on average, the scope of Python-based jobs is invariably wide.
Reasons to learn Python
- Python is a general-purpose, high-level, interpreted language that is known for its ease of use, extensive libraries and tools, and code readability.
- Python can handle complex algorithms and is excellent at data automation which makes it a natural fit for machine learning.
- Being open-source, it has support from a large community of Python users who are committed to making it better and more efficient.
- Python has a number of mobile and web development frameworks like Django, TurboGears, Bottle, Pyramid, Flask, as well as scientific application frameworks like TensorFlow, Keras, and SciPy.
- Software engineers employ Python to develop GUI-based applications, handle AI computations, and information science.
Reasons to not learn Python
- Python’s database access layers are comparatively underdeveloped. This is in reference to JDBC and ODBC.
- Python doesn't find much use in client-side scripting.
- Python is rather restricted when it comes to design since it is dynamically-typed.
Top companies using Python
- Google: Python's prominence at Google is a much-talked-about subject amongst coding engineers. The company works on a hard-line philosophy that states, "Python where we can, C++ where we must."
Since Google deems Python to be extremely readable, easy to use, maintain, and interface to C++ libraries, it is the official server-side scripting language at the company alongside C++, Go, and Java. Therefore, Python developers are always in demand at Google.
In the words of the Director of Search Quality at Google, Peter Norvig, “Python has been an important part of Google since the beginning and remains so as the system grows and evolves. Today, dozens of Google engineers use Python, and we’re looking for more people with skills in this language.”
- Netflix: Netflix's usage of Python revolves around server-side data analysis. It also employs Python alongside its monkey applications to monitor security policies, alerts, SSL certificates, and search history.
Netflix offers software developers the option to pick the programming language they wish to code in, and data in recent years has indicated an increase in Python-based applications, thereby driving the demand for Python developers. Python's rich libraries, large community support, and ease of usage are the primary factors driving its widespread popularity.
- Facebook: Python has a huge hand in the efficiency of Facebook services which has allowed the social media giant to scale its infrastructure. It is used by production engineers for binary distribution, infrastructure management, automating services and utilities, and hardware imaging.
Python is currently among the top three most popular programming languages at Facebook alongside C++ and Hack (PHP dialect). There are a number of Python projects published by Facebook which includes the Python Async IRCbot framework currently being used to upgrade Facebook infrastructure.
Among other companies that extensively rely on Python are Spotify, Instagram, Dropbox, Reddit, and Quora.
Even after 30 years of its release by Sun Microsystems, Java is still one of the most used and in-demand programming languages today. Java was eventually taken over by Oracle, and shares similarities with C++ and C#, making it easier to branch into different programming domains with knowledge of just one of them. It is used to develop mobile applications, gaming consoles, and software applications based on databases.
With 10.45% ratings, Java is featured on the #2 position on the TIOBE index of the most popular programming languages of 2021.
Java developers are perpetually in demand and can expect to earn six-figure salaries depending on their experience, competence, and job location. The average salary range for a java developer is between $51k to 1067k per year. When combined with Scala, it can result in a 66% salary hike.
Reasons to learn Java
- Java follows the “Write Once, Run Anywhere” principle, which means that it is platform-independent; Java programs created on one operating system can run on any other operating system supporting Java Virtual Machine.
- Java is an OOP language that allows code reusability, data abstraction, and easy maintenance.
- Java's syntax is simple and easy to understand. Even though it is less beginner-friendly than Python, it has a mild learning curve that makes learning C# and C++ easier.
- Other useful features of Java include automatic memory management, multithreading, and Remote Method Invocation (RMI).
- Java's use cases range from e-commerce sites, laptops, gaming consoles, mobile devices, and complex web and mobile applications. It is used to design dynamic design elements such as drop-down menus, animated images, etc.
Reasons to not learn Java
- Java's memory management using garbage collection can result in poor performance if a program exceeds 20% of CPU time.
- Since Java code is interpreted at runtime, it is slower when compared with C or C++.
- It is also complex to code when compared with other high-level languages like Python.
Top companies using Java
- Google: Numerous Android applications are written using Java. Google's Gmail and Web Toolkit are also developed using Java. Consequently, there is always a demand for Java developers at Google. There are currently 1.9k job openings at various locations at Google that list Java as a core skill.
- Twitter: Twitter which was created on Ruby on Rails switched to Java to handle copious amounts of traffic. It was during the early 2010s that the social media giant unlocked the potential of Java Virtual Machine and has continued to leverage the language ever since.
- Netflix: Even though the streaming giant allows developers to opt for tools and languages of their choice, Java has always been an integral part of Netflix in back-end development. It uses Spring boot for its Services Oriented Architecture (SOA).
Since Java finds tremendous use in services that need to be scaled, it is the top choice of tech giants like Google, Square, Instagram, eBay, Amazon, Airbnb, and Google, among others.
It is also used for application development by cloud computing service providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.
C++ or "C with Classes" is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language created as an extension to C. Even though different in many respects, both languages are used for designing operating systems, browsers, games, and web applications. They have contributed to the development of programming languages like C#, Java, PHP, and Verilog.
C is positioned at #1 with 13.83% ratings, followed by C++ at #4 with 6.52% ratings on the TIOBE popularity index.
C++ is the language of choice of roboticists, gaming developers, as well as avionics programmers. To land a job at top companies like Tesla and Nvidia, one must consider learning "low-level" programming languages like C and C++. Since Google's culture is shaped by C/C++, and Microsoft has plenty of its services written using these languages, it's a good idea to learn C/C++ before interviewing at Google and Microsoft.
The average salary of a C++ developer is $107,353 per year. There are an estimated 7,600+ jobs listed on Indeed for C++ programmers. In recent years, there has been a 1.25% increase in the remuneration of C++ developers who demonstrate competence in Agile methodologies.
Reasons to learn C/C++
- C++ is a powerful, high-performance language that large-scale companies use to deliver complex applications.
- C++ codes are highly portable.
- It comprises standard libraries that allow users to build network applications.
Reasons to not learn C/C++
- Pointers in C++ can result in system failures if not used rightly. They also make C++ programs vulnerable to security concerns.
- C++ doesn't support automatic memory management like Python and Java.
Top companies using C/C++
C++ is used by some of the biggest tech and non-tech companies in the world.
- Google: As we mentioned before, Google runs on a strict "Python where we can, C++ where we must" policy. When it comes to complex applications, C++ is more of a necessity than an option.
- Microsoft: Microsoft's Windows OS is majorly written using C++. Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer also have extensive use of C++. Windows kernel is written using C.
Facebook and Amazon also use it for low-level infrastructure development. Adobe's PDF and Photoshop Illustrator are both built using C++. Evernote, Opera, and NASA are among other top companies using C/C++. Other applications are Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.
Go or Golang is an open-source language developed in 2011 by Google. In recent years, it has surpassed the likes of Ruby and is fast-becoming the server language of choice for web developers. Golang registered an 8% growth between Q3 2019 to Q4 2019. It is known for its simplicity, enhanced security, improved efficiency, and code readability.
As per the 2020 Stack Overflow survey, Golang is amongst the highest-paying programming languages. Go software engineers earn $117,306 annually on average.
As remarked by the CEO of Shopify Tobias Lütke, “Go will be the server language of the future.”
Reasons to learn Go
- Golang supports multithreading which is further made simpler due to its lightweight nature and quick execution.
- Golang eliminates virtual machine dependencies. Its code is not dependent on classes and constructors.
- Go supports object-oriented programming.
- Golang is feature-rich and relatively functional due to its short compilation time. It consists of a collection of libraries and packages to enhance its performance.
Reasons to not learn Go
- Go is not suitable for complex applications since it is deliberately limited to enhance simplicity in use.
- Since Go is relatively new, it doesn't comprise as many syntax libraries that can reduce coding time.
Top companies using Go
- Google: Being a product of Google, Go is employed in several internal projects at the company. Among its applications are Google Chrome, Google App Engine, and Google Earth. Go has been in use by YouTube since 2011.
- Twitch: Go is employed in heavy-loaded systems of Twitch. It enables simultaneous streaming of live video and chats.
- Soundcloud: Soundcloud uses Go with Ruby Rails to conduct real-time static analysis.
Other big companies using Go are Dropbox, Dailymotion, and Uber.
Kotlin is a powerful, open-source programming language developed by JetBrains (Amazon Partner Network Technology partners) that supports both Android and iOS mobile platforms. It is often considered to be a JVM-based alternative to Java. Even though Kotlin code cannot be integrated with Java, it can interoperate with Java to produce code that can run on JVM. It is a statically-typed language that, despite having been released in 2011, has garnered a large community of developers since Google announced its support for Kotlin in 2017.
Since Google announced its support for Kotlin-first development of Android applications, there has been a steady rise in job opportunities for Kotlin developers. A simple search on LinkedIn would reveal over 1,7000 jobs listed for Android developers and nearly 2,000 jobs for Kotlin developers alone. Kotlin/Android Developers earn an average salary of $126,750 per year. Given the backing by Google, Kotlin developers can find plenty of high-paying job opportunities to pursue.
Reasons to learn Kotlin
- Kotlin is easy to maintain due to its fault-proof nature.
- Kotlin is intuitive and easy to read, which makes writing code faster.
- Kotlin supports interoperability with all Java tools and frameworks; Kotlin code can easily be migrated to Java.
- Kotlin is compatible with development tools like Spring, JetBrains, Gradle, Spark Java, and Codename One, among others.
Reasons to not learn Kotlin
- Kotlin is slower in comparison to Java when it comes to clean builds.
- Since Kotlin is relatively new, there aren't sufficient learning resources to master the language.
Top companies using Kotlin
- Google: Google's primary reason for choosing Kotlin is the fewer blocks of code it requires, thus, preventing boilerplate issues. Nearly 50% of Android developers are users of Kotlin. Google also announced Jetpack Compose, a Kotlin-first reactive UI library associated with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to encourage developers to use Kotlin to develop Android apps.
- Amazon: Kotlin is used by Amazon's cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS,) for deploying server-side applications to hosts that support Java applications.
Other top companies that use Kotlin are Netflix, Foursquare, Basecamp, Capital One, Coursera, Uber, and Pinterest.
Developed by Apple in 2014, Swift is a highly performative language that is used in the development of IOS applications as well as programming iOS-based devices like WatchOS, MacOS, iPad Os, and TvOS. Apple claims it to be 2.6 times faster than the old Objective-C.
Swift has the backing of Apple and is well-positioned to dominate iOS development in the coming years. In the short while since its release, Swift has already garnered a large community of developers. Therefore, the demand for Swift developers is only expected to grow.
The average salary of Swift developers is $104,659 /year as per PayScale. According to Stack Overflow, Swift is the sixth most loved programming language.
Reasons to learn Swift
- Swift code is concise and expressive, which makes it easy to read and maintain. It also requires fewer lines of code to perform the same task as Objective-C.
- Swift is highly efficient in handling errors such as system failures and bugs. It is also faster, safer, and less time-consuming.
- Since Swift is backed by Apple as its language of choice over Objective-C, it is future-proof and opens doors for scalability.
- Swift can be integrated with Objective-C easily and is also compatible with the Linux operating system.
Reasons to not learn Swift
- Since Swift is relatively new, it still suffers from certain issues like a lack of backward compatibility. Updated versions sometimes do not support features of the previous versions, often causing developers to rewrite code.
- Swift could benefit from skilled developers to aid in the progress of the language. Currently, at the rate the language is growing, a talent gap is imminent.
Top companies using Swift
- Apple: Apple's IDE (Integrated Development Environment) supports both macOS and iOS apps. Of the nearly 500,000 iOS apps on Apple Store, a significant number of popular apps are powered by Swift which includes Khan Academy, Uber, Square, Lyft, and Airbnb. Most new iOS apps today are created using Apple.
- Facebook: Facebook's recently-acquired WhatsApp benefits from the high-performance and extensive functionality of Swift.
- Uber: When Uber switched to Swift, it cited reliability issues and inconsistency in architecture to be the reason for quitting C-Objective. Now, Swift is Uber's primary app development language ensuring swift functionality and seamless performance of its iOS app.
Other big companies using Swift are LinkedIn, Coursera, Pandora, Twitter, Vimeo, and Groupon.
How to prepare for FAANG coding interviews
Here are a few useful tips to help you prepare for your FAANG interview:
Familiarize yourself with the interview process
Companies often modify their interview processes. Furthermore, tech companies have specific criteria for evaluating candidates. So, make sure you gather information from suitable sources and prepare accordingly. Typically, the interview process at FAANG companies is designed to test your knowledge of Data Structures and System Design and evaluate your coding prowess. There are several interview rounds at FAANG:
- Phone call with a recruiter
- Technical phone interview
- Home assignment
- Onsite interviews
Build competence in the most used programming languages, frameworks, and databases
Applicants with proficiency in multiple popular programming languages and the latest programming tools, frameworks, and database systems stand to attract lucrative job prospects from top companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. To prepare for your interview, It is a good idea to gather as much knowledge as possible on the technologies these companies use and the challenges they are currently facing.
The most popular frameworks used by FAANG companies include ReactJS, Hadoop, NodeJS, Django, Flask, and AngularJS. The most used database technologies, on the other hand, are MySQL, Redis, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Cassandra. As for the programming languages, we've already discussed them in detail in the above section.
Learn about the most commonly asked interview questions at FAANG
Companies usually have a set of questions they ask candidates to test their competence in computer programming. Therefore, it is important to prepare your answers for as many technical questions as possible. With whiteboard coding questions, you need to build your speed to solve problems faster and more efficiently. For this, you need plenty of practice.
Test your interview preparation
Even with the right preparation material, there's little chance that you will be able to evaluate your readiness. Therefore, it is necessary to sign up for mock interview sessions with someone who has experience and knowledge to help you identify your weaknesses. This will also give you a comprehensive insight into the interview process and help overcome anxiety with sufficient rehearsals.
It's never easy to start learning something new. However, when you have clarity with respect to your goals, the process becomes significantly easier. Analyze your interests and set clear, definitive objectives based on them. Post that, you can research the tools and resources you would require to get closer to your goals.
When it comes to landing your dream job at a FAANG company, you need to remain patient and committed to your learning process as the interview processes are grueling. Upskill yourself with a focus on the most used programming languages in 2021. This will ensure that your skill development is future-proof and rewarding in the long run.
We hope this article helped you determine the best coding language to learn in order to land a job at one of the FAANG companies.