Careers in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and related technologies are considered among the best choices to pursue in an uncertain future economy where many jobs may end up automated and performed by robots and AI.
Yet in spite of the likely strong and secure future of these careers, the job marketplace remains fundamentally unbalanced. There are still many more jobs open and available than there are qualified applicants to fill those jobs. Just do a search on Monster for the keyword machine learning and you will find thousands of job openings across the country.
Whether you are just starting out in your IT career or you are watching high-profile IT layoffs and considering the best new skills to learn, chances are you are wondering what the best skills are to emphasize on your LinkedIn profile and the best skills to focus on in the next online course you take. What programming language is the most likely to secure your future?
Through our regular discussions with executives, recruiters, and practitioners in the field, we’ve come up with a short list for you. You may already have one or more of these skills. Maybe you are wondering about the best one to learn next. Here’s our list. If you see one that you think we missed, please let us know in the comments section.
R remains one of the top languages for data science. First developed in the 1990s, this open source language has its roots in statistics, data analysis, and data visualization. In recent years it’s become the choice of a new generation of analysts who have who have appreciated the active open source community, the fact that they can download the software for free, and the downloadable packages that are available to customize the tool. Tech giant Microsoft has also embraced the platform acquiring Revolution Analytics, a commercially supported enterprise platform for R, in 2015.
Java has also been around since the early 1990s, and back then was famous for its “write once, run anywhere” design, originating inside Sun Microsystems. Sun may no longer exist, having been acquired by Oracle, but Java seems here to stay, and it’s one of the languages you will likely encounter in your career as a machine learning specialist. Many of the machine learning job description ads out there specify Java as one of the languages they’d like for you to know. Chances are if you’ve been in development at all over the last 20 years, you’ve acquired a little bit of experience with Java. And if you feel like you need a little more hands-on experience, it’s pretty easy to find an online course.
C and C++
These languages have also been around for decades, and you may see them mentioned in machine learning job ads in the same sentence as some other more popular languages for machine learning. Organizations may be looking to add machine learning to existing projects that were built in these languages and so they may be looking for this kind of expertise. But if you are looking for a first language to learn for use with machine learning, it’s probably not one of these.
Right now, Python is probably the top language to learn if you are looking to skill up in areas around machine learning. Just check out online machine learning courses that are available today. Chances are the one you pick will be using Python as the language of choice.
You’ll also find that Python is probably the top named language skill in job ads for machine learning specialists, and certainly also mentioned in many ads for data scientists and analysts, too. If you have to choose one skill to learn this year, Python is a great choice.
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