Understanding the Definition: What Are Higher Level Programming Languages?

In recent years, the IT industry has seen significant growth, with a study predicting that the software development market will reach $507.2 billion by 2021. The introduction and evolution of higher level programming languages have played a major role in this upsurge. These languages have facilitated rapid development of complex software systems while requiring less technical expertise from developers. In this glossary page, you will learn about higher level programming languages, their benefits, use cases, best practices, and recommended books.

“High-level programming languages make complex ideas simpler to understand while low-level languages make the simplest ideas complex.” – Alan Turing

What are higher level programming languages? Definition of High-Level Programming Language

Higher level programming languages are a class of programming languages that allow software developers to write code in a more human-readable and abstract manner, as compared to lower level languages like assembly or machine language. One primary characteristic that distinguishes higher level languages is their ability to provide greater abstraction from the underlying hardware. This helps developers focus on the application logic and functionality rather than worrying about detailed hardware operations. Some popular examples of higher level programming languages include Python, Java, JavaScript, and Ruby.

How Higher Level Programming Languages Work

Higher level programming languages work by providing a set of constructs and abstractions that allow developers to express their algorithms and application logic in a more human-readable way. The source code written in higher level languages must be translated into a lower level representation, like assembly or machine language, before it can be executed by the computer hardware.

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This translation process can be achieved through either compilation or interpretation. In the case of compiled languages, a compiler translates the high-level code to a lower level representation, usually generating an executable file. In the case of interpreted languages, an interpreter executes the high-level code directly, line by line, without translating it to a lower level language first.

Benefits of Using Higher Level Programming Languages

  • Easier to learn and write: Syntax and constructs in higher level languages are designed to be more natural and intuitive, making them easy for developers to learn and write code.
  • Improved productivity: Higher level languages offer built-in libraries, frameworks, and tools that can boost productivity by simplifying routine coding tasks.
  • Better code readability and maintainability: Code written in higher level languages is typically easier to understand and maintain as it closely resembles natural language.
  • Increased portability: Many higher level languages are platform-independent, allowing code to run on different platforms with minimal or no modifications.
  • Enhanced error handling and debugging: Higher level languages often provide better error handling and debugging mechanisms, making it easier for developers to identify and resolve issues.

Higher Level Programming Languages Use Cases

Higher level programming languages are employed in a wide variety of applications, such as:

  • Web development: Building websites and web applications using languages like JavaScript, Python, and Ruby.
  • Mobile application development: Developing mobile apps for Android and iOS using languages like Java, Swift, and Kotlin.
  • Data analysis and machine learning: Performing data analysis and developing machine learning models using languages like Python and R.
  • Game development: Creating video games using languages like C# and Lua.
  • Embedded systems: Developing software for embedded systems using languages like Python and Rust.
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Best Practices

When using higher level programming languages, it is essential to keep certain best practices in mind to ensure efficient and maintainable code. These practices include appropriate use of data structures and algorithms, following the principles of modular and object-oriented programming, adhering to established coding conventions and style guides, writing comprehensive code documentation, and performing regular code reviews, testing, and refactoring.

Most Recommended Books about Higher Level Programming Languages

To deepen your knowledge and understanding of higher level programming languages, the following books are highly recommended:

  • “Python Crash Course” by Eric Matthes
  • “JavaScript: The Good Parts” by Douglas Crockford
  • “You Don’t Know JS” series by Kyle Simpson
  • “Effective Java” by Joshua Bloch
  • “Ruby on Rails Tutorial” by Michael Hartl


Higher level programming languages have revolutionized the software development landscape by allowing developers to build complex systems quickly and efficiently. These languages offer numerous benefits, including increased productivity, better code readability, and enhanced portability, making them a preferred choice for a wide variety of applications. By following best practices and deepening your knowledge through recommended resources, you can fully harness the power of higher level programming languages and excel in the ever-growing IT industry.

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Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
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li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

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