3 Reasons Why Golang Should be the Next Programming Language You Learn
By Dan Clouting. Dan is a Senior Consultant at Zeren, and is a member of our Technology hiring vertical in the UK.
The most consistent personality traits in Software Engineers are, firstly, their natural curiosity for other programming language and, secondly, their propensity to learn and adapt.
The cause should probably be explored in another in-depth article, however, in my time in the industry, it has become extremely clear that Software Engineers refuse to settle for the knowledge/languages they have already acquired.
In recent years, there has been exponential growth in the uptake of Golang (or ‘Go’ for short).
In this article, I will explain where Golang originates from, and the reasons why so many are seeing it as their next programming language of choice for their personal projects.
Golang was, perhaps obviously by its name, designed by a team at Google which included the creator of UNIX and C, Ken Thomson. It then went on to be enhanced and developed by a host of contributors from the open-source community.
The goals of Google’s project were to eliminate the slowness and clumsiness of software development in the company, and make the process more productive and scalable.
Since first appearing in late 2009, it has seen a steady and then, recently, more-upward trajectory in usage. In 2021, Software Engineers working with Golang received 1.8 times more interview requests than the marketplace average, making it the most in-demand language skill-set for a second year running. Companies that have opted for it include big names like Uber, Twitch and Slack.
But why the growth in popularity?
- Perfect for performance at scale.
Golang was developed to solve enormous Google-sized problems.
Its applications compile to a single binary that can be easily packaged and distributed to the target operating system, so it is ideal for large-scale cloud deployments and works well with Kubernetes, too. This means the start-up time of the applications in the Cloud are a lot quicker than other programming languages’ applications.
It also has modern features like garbage collection to implement memory management, so you don’t need to worry about memory allocations too.
- Fun to use.
Let’s face it, if you’re going to be coding all day (and sometimes night!) then you want to enjoy the language you’re using.
The vocabulary of the language is purposely small, and the syntax is uncomplicated therefore simple to remember. It manages memory for you so there is no need to allocate and de-allocate data yourself, meaning you can prioritise the solution over grappling with the language and its hidden details.
Also, Golang is very concise, making it easy to read so that you catch the errors at compile time instead of at run time!
Lastly, and perhaps more pertinently, Golang is heavily in-demand in the job market.
As already alluded to, for the last 2 years running, Golang has been found to be the skill-set that employers struggle to find the most. I can testify to this.
While companies in the past would be prepared to re-train Software Engineers into Golang on the job, the tide is turning, and it is becoming more important now that candidates have at least completed some personal projects in the past with the language, before joining.
The industries that have seen the highest percentage of companies transitioning to working with Golang are payment processors and streaming services, since they have such extreme volume requirements. However, the popularity isn’t kept to just these verticals. For any company that needs to process at scale, Golang is an obvious option.
With the skill being so in-demand and the supply being relatively short, the salary market has obviously shifted. Statistics, as well as my own experience, have shown that companies are willing to pay above average market salaries for people with experience in Golang (commercial or otherwise) compared to other Back End languages.
So, onto your next question: how do I learn Golang?
Below are a few popular (some free, some paid) resources that you can use to start your journey with Golang:
- Programming with Google Go Specialization
- Go by Example
- Go: The Complete Developer’s Guide to Golang
- The Complete Go Bootcamp 2022
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