The SQL programming language is easy to develop

What programming languages ​​should engineers learn?

Python, Java, PHP - digitization is bringing IT into focus in almost all industries. Engineers who can operate interfaces are particularly in demand, according to the VDI Engineer Monitor. But which programming languages ​​are relevant for which areas?

Learning to code is becoming increasingly important for engineers too.

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Top 10 programming languages:

  1. python
  2. Java
  3. Javascript
  4. C #
  5. C and C ++
  6. PHP
  7. R.
  8. Matlab
  9. Assembly Language
  10. SQL


IT skills are becoming more and more important for engineers. Digitization and automation are well-known keywords that demonstrate the change in the way we work. In the past, for example, a mechanical engineering company could be satisfied when a production plant produced the desired result with the greatest possible efficiency. Nowadays it should also be intelligent (smart), for example automatically transferring maintenance times to the operations manager via software or contributing directly to quality control thanks to special sensors.

It is similar for civil engineers, who on the one hand use numerous digital tools for the calculation and visualization of projects, but on the other hand also have to integrate them as intelligent building technology. The development becomes even clearer when looking at vehicle construction, where autonomous systems are expected to revolutionize mobility. In the field of research, dealing with large amounts of data poses major challenges for scientists. In addition, there is the potential of artificial intelligence, i.e. programs that are capable of learning and that will automate many processes.

In other words: if you want to make a career as an engineer, you should deal with programming languages. Of course, not every engineer has to be able to write programs himself. But even for interdisciplinary cooperation in project teams, it is often helpful to master the respective programming language so well that there is an understanding of possible problems and possible solutions. By the way, online courses for learning to program can be a great help in understanding the relevant basics. has taken a closer look at ten of the most important programming languages ​​for you.

What can the Python programming language do?

Python is a universal programming language that has been at the top of the rankings of the most widely used programming languages ​​for years. It is widespread and relatively easy to learn because it has a clear structure. It is also very versatile, known for its low susceptibility to errors and particularly in demand with developers. These advantages make the programming language interesting for engineers. In practice, Python is, among other things, a good choice for applications that work with large amounts of data (big data). It is very popular in research, for example, but also for projects in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence. In addition, Python is freely available for all common operating systems. Further training should therefore be worthwhile.

Why engineers should master Python

Why is Java interesting for many engineers?

Whether it's apps for smartphones with the Android operating system, animated websites, cloud computing, game consoles or desktop applications for supercomputers in research - a large part of them is programmed with Java. Java is one of the imperative programming languages, so it is designed to solve problems. It distinguishes itself from the declarative programming languages ​​in which the programmer essentially only describes what should happen. Java is one of the most popular programming languages, especially in the field of business software, as it can be expanded without limits. So it can be easily adapted to specific challenges. Accordingly, engineers also need a lot of practical programming experience before they can master the Java language.

For which areas of application is Javascript suitable?

The programming language Javascript is particularly interesting for engineers who need knowledge about app developments and internet applications as part of their work. Javascripts are used, for example, to react when users enter information in a search window on a website. Javascript thus contributes, among other things, to the user-friendliness of many applications. This programming language is also becoming increasingly important for so-called serverless environments, i.e. applications that function without access to a stationary server, alternatively referred to as cloud computing. For example, it is exciting to be able to use Javascript to automate with the help of the Internet. Also, one of the advantages of this programming language is, without question, that it is relatively easy for beginners to learn.

How does the C # programming language specialize in Microsoft?

The C # programming language is pronounced C Sharp. It was developed by Microsoft, but programs for other operating systems can also be written. C # is an object-oriented programming language. This means that the architecture of the software is modeled on those structures in reality to which the application relates. Typical objectives are database applications or dynamic platforms on the Internet that have an interactive user interface. Electrical engineers, for example, can use the programming language to analyze electrical circuits. C # is to be understood as a competitor to Java.

The language is very helpful for programs that were written with the help of the so-called .NET Framework from Microsoft. Tools and interfaces are brought together there to support developers. The .NET Framework is almost always part of classic Windows installations. C # is therefore often used for desktop applications.

What is behind the programming languages ​​C and C ++?

C is a programming language with a wide range of uses. It is used, for example, to program operating systems. While C is relatively complex, it is also very widespread, which is why it might be worthwhile for engineers to learn this programming language. C ++ is an extension of C and, like C #, enables object-oriented programming. Compared to C #, however, C ++ is more platform-independent and correspondingly more flexible. On the other hand, engineers can easily make mistakes with it, which is why a lot of discipline and accuracy is required.

C and C ++ are important in areas such as machine control and robotics. These programming languages ​​are also used extensively for the Internet of Things (IoT), i.e. devices that are web-based integrated or controlled in systems. In addition, there are areas of application such as 3D visualization, which is required to create a virtual reality.

What opportunities does PHP bring for engineers?

The application area of ​​the PHP programming language is very clearly defined. PHP is used in web development to program dynamic websites. PHP has a big advantage over the classic HTML: It is much easier to process content that changes, such as user accounts or appointments. Since PHP was specially developed for the web, it is relatively easy to use there. In addition, the PHP programming language can be used to design individual company software in which, for example, internal workflows are to be stored or databases for various user groups. Nevertheless, PHP is particularly interesting for engineers who are involved in web developments, i.e. who want to design programs for other users.

What should engineers use the R programming language for?

The short, clear name fits the programming language R. Because its area of ​​application is just as straightforward. R is designed to develop functional statistical tools that are used to evaluate and analyze data. With digitization and the ever-increasing amounts of data (Big Data) that are available as a result, the importance of the R programming language is also growing. At the same time, it is well suited to processing relatively small data sets on a demanding level. It also offers extensive options for creating graphics. R is particularly popular in the field of science. Incidentally, R is an open source programming language, so it is freely available and free of charge.

Why is Matlab popular in the field of artificial intelligence?

Matlab is intended to work on mathematical questions. Accordingly, the structure of the programming language is based on the processes in mathematics. Engineers can use Matlab, for example, to evaluate large amounts of data at high speed (real time with the appropriate computing power) or to analyze several data sets in parallel and draw conclusions from the results. In practice, this programming language can be used to develop algorithms that are required for artificial intelligence. It can also be used to process measurement data or to simulate prototypes - these are just a small selection of examples. Therefore, it is used in both science and industry. It is also possible to expand Matlab so that the programming language can be used for neural networks.

What relevance does assembly language have for microrobotics?

Assembly Language is also known as machine language, although the translation should be called assembly language. The most important thing about the programming language has already been said: It is needed to create applications directly on the hardware level. Engineers primarily use them to program microchips, for example in the field of medical technology or Industry 4.0. Assembly language, however, is difficult to learn and certainly not suitable for entry into programming languages. For engineers who work with microchips, however, assembly language is almost indispensable.

What is the relationship between SQL and databases?

The growing amounts of data have led to special programming languages ​​being developed to deal with the stocks. One of the best known is SQL, which was originally called Structured Query Language. Today this long name is hardly used any more. Among other things, SQL can be used to perform database operations such as queries and analyzes. SQL is very special, but easy to learn. It should be of particular interest to engineers who already speak other programming languages ​​and want to expand their knowledge. SQL is used in many companies, for example for personnel administration or sales. SQL knowledge is just as much in demand among industrial engineers as it is with software engineers in the field of automation technology.

How should engineers go about choosing programming languages?

If you, as an engineer, decide to acquire a new programming language, it is of course crucial what exactly is required in your industry and in your technical specialization. Two ways are particularly effective for research. For one, you can use your network use. Colleagues who are active in the same area, possibly working abroad, can help you to identify the programming language that is currently in particularly high demand. Engineers who already have the relevant knowledge can also give you tips on further training. There are now a number of e-learning courses for engineers.

To help others job advertisements in the process of scanning the market for the combinations they are looking for. Because programming languages ​​are often explicitly listed as a prerequisite for job offers. Find out more on our job portal for engineers.

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A contribution by:

  • Nicole gap

    Nicole Lücke does science journalism for research centers and universities, reports on medical congresses and looks after customer magazines for energy providers. She is a shareholder of content qualities. Your topics: energy, technology, sustainability, medicine / medical technology.