Top 10 Programming Languages for Competitive Coding

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It goes without saying that competitive programming or competitive coding is both pivotal and lucrative aspect of a programmer’s journey.

From learning a new programming language right from its basics to mastering it at a competitive level to code certain functionalities with utmost efficiency and minimal complexity.

With the choice of the right programming language, all of it can come to fruition. And to make that decision, one has to have knowledge about the available languages and its unique set of functionalities that it provides.  

Programmers should participate in competitive programming competitions to hone their skills, get coveted prizes and other career opportunities.

Key Takeaways

  • Competitive coding is a sport of mind which is usually held over the Internet or local network. It includes participants trying to program as per the said requirements. 
  • It requires utmost efficiency and minimal complexity to learn a new programming language and to escalate it to a competitive level.
  • The right programming language for a competitive coder will provide immense functionality and multiple ways to tackle any given problem. 
  • If you are a coder, do consider participating in competitive coding competitions for both prizes and career opportunities. 

What are the top programming languages for competitive coding?

But before programmers or any non-programmers decide to go that route, they often think about which programming language to pick up to enter this world of competitive coding? What are all factors to consider before deciding on a programming language for the win?  

1. Python

Python provides a variety of reasons to be picked up as one of the top programming languages for a competitive coding contest.

This is a high-level programming language that is still relatively simple to learn and implement. All thanks to its minimalistic syntax.

This language has an extensive library and function support which amplifies the efficiency of programmers in programming competitions.

Apart from this, the language boasts some really nifty features like no limit on an integer value, functions that can return more than one value, solid input statements, code indentation, flexible number of arguments to a function, etc.

So, this language has significant adoption in domains like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, etc. All of the reasons above make Python worth considering the pick for a competitive programming language. 

2. Ruby

Ruby is a popular programming language in the competitive programming world. It is flexible, simple to learn, and an extremely user-friendly object-oriented programming language.

But it happens to be a dynamic programming language, its origins coming from other programming languages like Perl, Lisp, Ada, Eiffel, and Smalltalk.

Though Ruby is an interpreted scripting language, this makes it slower in contrast to other compiled languages and this aspect gives the edge to other languages over Ruby when running for the best competitive programming language. 

Must Read: Learn Coding From Scratch: Best Tips For The Beginners

3. C++

C++ is an extremely popular and highly recommended and used programming language for competitive coding. It is one of the fastest programming languages in comparison to various other contender programming languages.

As execution time plays a crucial role in coding competitions, C++ is one of the most preferred languages by the coders. C++ has a rich library known as Standard Template Library which makes this general-purpose programming language so much easier for programmers to efficiently and effectively program.

The Standard Template Library includes C++ template classes which make various data structures available like arrays, graphs, lists, trees, stacks, queues, etc. C++ is supported through OOPS paradigm features which help in providing solutions to real-life problems in coding competitions. 


JAVA is one of the most recommended programming languages for competitive coding. The object-oriented language concept implies that the compiled JAVA code is platform-independent and doesn’t require further recompilation during run-time.

JAVA comes in a bundle with a rich library set such as BigInteger class for calculating large integers and Geometry Library to handle geometrical problems. It also brought in better exception handling, JAVA containers, etc. which made JAVA as one of the most popular competitive programming languages. It is also simpler to learn and to implement. 

5. Kotlin

Kotlin is a general-purpose, object-oriented paradigm supporting programming language. The language is quite easy to grasp and provides access to a rich library that has various data structures, collections, etc.

You can also use existing JAVA Frameworks & Libraries while programming in Kotlin. It provides some beneficial features like smart casts, type inference, and it avoids the Null Pointer Exception.

This language focuses more on readable syntax and so it makes it simpler for reviewing and to learn & understand the language effectively. 

6. JavaScript

JavaScript is a front-end programming language. It is widely popular in designing interactive frontend applications. NodeJS- a JavaScript-based run-time environment that lets developers use it for scripting, especially for the server-side.

Also Read: ReactJS And AngularJS: Which One To Choose In 2022!

This language offers both server-side and client-side scripting functionalities at the same time. It is also a highly versatile language with regular updates. A lot of developers use JavaScript to develop diverse desktop applications due to its scripting features.

7. Go

Go or Golang, is a programming language developed by Google. This language provides superb support for multithreading, and because of this reason, a lot of companies rely heavily on distributed systems.

Go is also quite a famous language in Silicon Valley start-ups. Go has a cleaner syntax, which makes it easier to learn. It is also very fast during compilation to machine code.

It comes with a comprehensive standard library that offers a range of inbuilt functions for working with primitive types.

8. C#

C# is a general-purpose programming language built by Microsoft. It is widely used for backend programming, building games using Unity, and lots of other use cases. C# has the ability to work with shared codebases.

It is a component-oriented, object-oriented programming language. C# offers a rich set of library functions, data types and has fully integration with the .NET library. It provides quick compilation and execution times during run-time.

9. R

R programming language is commonly used in Data Analysis and Machine Learning applications. R provides an excellent framework and built-in libraries for powerful Machine Learning algorithms applications. It provides a comprehensive statistical analysis language.

But R has a moderate learning curve to it and it isn’t particularly easy at first for beginners to pick up and learn as compared to other languages mentioned here.

However, being an open-source language, R has an active community of developers which can help you guide you through various projects and would provide new coding skills along the way too. 

10. PHP

PHP is a popular backend programming language. The programming market, in general, requires a lot of PHP developers and also is quite able as a competitive programming language.

It provides an abundance of powerful frameworks. Debugging is a breeze all thanks to first-class debugging with Xdebug. Huge support for automation-related applications as it comes with tools for testing and deploying solutions.

Mostly, the use of PHP language is quite popular in server-side scripting. But it has various applications by developers too. Also, the development of command-line scripts and desktop applications happens mostly on PHP.

Since this is a relatively easier and simpler language to learn, new developers would find it convenient to get into the world of coding. 

Also Read: Web Development Without Coding 


And so, these were some of the best programming languages for competitive coding. But, apart from choosing a relevant and worthwhile programming language, it is also required to focus more on Algorithm building and Data Structures as well to be able to do well in the competitive programming domain.

While you’re considering a programming language to master, you might also want to consider all the options for the highest-paying programming languages in the job market.

There are a lot of websites and resources available over the internet for free to learn data structures, algorithms, and coding languages like, etc. In order to practice and to get into the competitive coding scene, you can start off by solving CodeChef and HackerRank questions.

The questions are in categories based on the coding proficiency levels. 

Even after knowing these, it might not be enough as there’s a lot that goes into competitive programming.

Also, It requires numerous months of experience to implement the learning while perfecting the skills like using data structures, minimizing the complexity of algorithms, using the coding language’s potential to the fullest, and being able to consistently put out top-tier codes to competitive scenarios.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How important is competitive coding?

Competitive coding helps in learning to work together in an efficient manner in a team. It also increases your chance of companies spotting you as a talent too.

What are the best competitive coding websites?

Some of the reputable and revered competitive coding websites are TopCoder, HackerRank, CodeChef, LeetCode, etc.

How do you crack competitive coding?

You have to learn a lot of advanced concepts like dynamic programming. You also have to develop a habit of reading a lot of codes and other coding related books to constantly update your knowledge base. You need to be really conversant with various algorithms so that you can apply these during your competitive coding sessions.

What comes under competitive coding?

Competitive coding includes anything from language syntax to time and space complexity algorithm analysis. It also uses your ability to think about a Brute Force solution too. But it is best practice to be familiar with all the data structures like array, list, stack, queue, tree, graph, etc.

Is competitive coding useful in day-to-day development activities?

Competitive coding helps you to come up with the most optimal solution in the least possible time and by consuming the least of resources too. This helps the developer/coder to write codes in a conscious manner to decrease execution time and complexity during their day to day development activities too. 

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