Programming Languages to Learn for Government Jobs
Rob Sobers is a software engineer specializing in web security at Varonis and is the co-author of the book Learn Ruby the Hard Way.”
There are numerous benefits that come from working for local, state, and federal governments. If you’re looking for job security, benefits, and competitive compensation, consider a government job that requires the knowledge and skills of a programming language.
Positions for programmers are available in different government sectors, including public health and works, accounting and finance, and information technology. Before deciding what programming language to learn, it’s best to have a career goal in mind so that you can learn the language required for a specific job and meet the qualifications.
Here’s how you can decide what programming language is right for you.
Why Learn a Programming Language?
Programmers work in a wide capacity of software development that includes database administration, web and software development, and computer systems engineers. In order to be considered for these types of government positions, you’ll need to know how to program in one or more computing languages.
Knowing how to program provides you with the skills to code in a specific language and qualifies you for government computer positions. It also gives you the freedom to make career choices based on having skills in a niche IT market. This means that you’ll be well prepared for the field of software development, which is expected to become even more in demand than it is today.
To sum it up, here are the top reasons for learning a programming language:
- Learn how to think creatively and explore new ideas.
- Become more productive on a personal level.
- Tackle problems persistently until solved.
- Increase career options and job security.
- Compete for government positions with good benefits and a competitive pay grade.
Tips to Pick the Right Language
Depending on what government job you’re interested in, you’ll need to learn one or more specific programming languages. Having knowledge of one language can give you the basics and incentive to learn more.
Consider these tips when deciding what programming language to learn:
- Look through government job listings for positions that interest you to determine what programming language is required.
- Choose to learn more than one language that will expand your career options even further.
- Start with an easy first language, such as Python, to give you the basics and fundamentals of coding.
Depending on what government job you’re interested in, you’ll need to learn one or more specific programming languages.
Different Languages to Consider
There are new programming languages created every day. The languages on this list are in high demand at this time based on the government job postings currently available. Whether you want to start a new career that requires coding or are adding skills to your current job, these programming languages are a good place to start:
Python, used by Google and NASA, is a fundamental scripting language that’s the basis for many other languages.
- Career paths: programmer, ethical hackers, and software engineers.
- Easy to understand and learn.
Used by eBay and Eurotech, Java is a high-level language that’s implemented in cloud computing and corporate applications.
- Career paths: software engineering.
- Most often used and in-demand programming language.
Ruby and Ruby on Rails
Typically used to support Ruby on Rails, Ruby is a language that’s used in web development.
- Career paths: developers, data science engineers, and software engineers.
- Ruby uses coding syntax that’s easy to learn.
- Career paths: software engineering and web development.
C has been around since 1972 and is the building block for many other languages. Used by Microsoft and Apple, C is best for OS and AI.
- Career paths: IT admin, system analysts, and computer engineers.
- Once you learn C, you can transfer some of this knowledge to other languages.
C++ is the advanced version of C. Used by Google and Firefox, C++ is typically used for search engines and operating systems.
- Career paths: software developers and engineers, and program analysts.
- Moderately easy to understand and learn, knowing C++ opens career options for numerous government jobs.
Developed in 2000 by Microsoft, C sharp is a general-purpose language that’s good for backend programming.
- Career paths: software engineers and web developers.
- A versatile language, C# gives you the skills needed for developing government web applications.
One of the more common scripting languages, PHP was created in 1994. Used by Facebook and WordPress, PHP is good for developing web applications.
- Career paths: software engineers and developers.
- PHP is used in the data-heavy websites often maintained by government organizations.
Also known as Structured Query Language, SQL is the main coding language behind most databases.
- Career paths: database admin, data analysis, and software development.
- Knowing how to program with SQL lets you compete for many government jobs that involve database management.
A general-purpose coding language, Objective-C is used by Apple for creating applications.
- Career paths: software engineers, OS-X and IOS developers.
- Knowing how to program in Apple’s language puts you into a very exclusive job niche that’s in high demand.
Both PowerShell and Bash are used to code Windows and Linux based computing systems and are widely used by IT professionals. They are used across the board in many government organizations.
- Career paths: cloud architects and DevOps.
- Knowing how to script is a good entry point into many IT and system admin positions.
By choosing to learn one of the in-demand programming languages listed here, you’re on your way to a new career in government. Any of these languages will let you meet the qualifications listed for many government positions, allowing you to compete for software development and coding jobs in a market that’s in high demand. For more info on these languages or to save this info, check out or save this visual guide by Varonis: