Why Google Go Should be the Next Programming Language you Learn


Google’s Go has gone from a curiosity in the programming world to a language that many wouldn’t hesitate to label as “the next big thing”. While it might be far from the most-used language currently, Go has a potential to become a must-have in the arsenal of every programmer.

There are many reasons why that is the case. In this article, we’ll review those and discuss why Go might be the next language you should consider learning!

What is Google Go and who created it?

Go is a programming language originally created in 2007 by Google. Initially, it was intended to be an internal coding standard for the company’s own infrastructure, but its potential propelled it towards going public. In 2009 it was released and it has been growing like crazy since then.

Go’s creators are high-profile programmers, revered by those familiar with their work. One of them, Ken Thompson, was the inventor of B, the language that came before C which we all know and love today. And Rob Pike, another co-creator, was involved with the Unix team for a while and created the programming language Limbo. Thompson and Pike also created UTF-8, which to this day is the default encoding in XML and HTML. Put those guys together in a team, give them the manpower and knowledge of Google and you’re bound to get something brilliant – in this case, that thing was Go.

5 Reasons to make Go the next language you learn:

1. It’s growing faster than any other language

At the beginning of 2017, Tiobe showed the numbers behind a trend many people were becoming aware of: the interest in Go is growing faster than that in any other language.

And it’s surpassing its competitors by a lot, too. It gained 2.16 percent in popularity and rose from the 54th to the 13th position compared to the previous year. No language grew nearly as fast, the next fastest-growing being Darth with a 0.95 percent change.

2. Multicore usage

One of the biggest changes in computer hardware since the 90s has been the addition of more cores. Quad-core and octa-core CPUs increase performances by a significant amount. However, a lot of the modern programming languages were created at a time where computers used to only have a single core. They just don’t scale effectively with the addition of new cores because they weren’t built with that in mind. Go, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. And hardware keeps on scaling with more cores, making Go one of the most scalable languages out there.

3. Concurrency

Concurrency is an extremely important characteristic for a programming language and it’s one of the best features of Go. Concurrency is all about executing more than one task at the same time. Go was built to support that with its Goroutines – thousands can be executed at a time. Additionally, channels allow them to synchronize with each other. With that, they are much more efficient than threads, which can quickly spin out of control.

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4. The code is easy to maintain

One of the reason behind creating Go was to make programming less difficult. And indeed, the code written in Go is clean and easy to maintain. Remember, Google originally created Go as part of their internal infrastructure. That meant two things were extremely important: 1) The language had to be easy to understand at a glance. 2) One segment of code should only have minimum side effects on other segments. This not only allows for a vast number of coders to work on it at once, it also makes Go syntax more maintainable and easier to modify.

5. Power users & big companies trust it

Go is not just something that a lot of single programmers like, it has also proven itself to be a great tool for big companies. Firms like Netflix, the Economist, the New York Times, IBM and GitHub all use it for some part of their internal infrastructure. And don’t forget Google still has it as part of theirs, too!

If you’re not convinced, here’s a full list of some of the companies that are currently using Go.

Where to start

If this article has got you curious and excited about Go, there a lot of online resources you can check out to learn more about the language. At https://golang.org/, Google has a 30-minute-long video tour of Go, as well as a lot of examples, news and a sandbox where you can play around with Go.

CodeSchool and Udemy have some great online courses on it, too!

Have you tried Go yet? Tell us what you think about it via the comment section!
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