March 7, 2024

Top 5 Programming Languages to Teach High School Computer Science

Many high-school computer science teachers ask, what are the best coding languages to teach their students? Here's our top 5.

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The modern world runs on computers, and computers run on code. As more people rely on technology and software to do everything from working remotely to ordering food, the demand for programmers and software developers is only going to increase. 

Fortunately, for the younger generation, learning how to code has never been easier. According to the 2023 State of Computer Science Education report from, 57.5% of public high schools in the United States offer foundational computer science as part of their curriculum. Coding education is also starting to reach the lower grades, with at least 46% of middle schools offering foundational computer science.

While some may consider coding and computer science education optional, we believe that every high school student needs exposure to intelligent technology and coding curriculum to succeed in a world changed by technology. Coding for high schoolers helps students learn more about the digital world they use every day and translates these skills into lucrative career and college opportunities. 

For many high-school computer science teachers, the main question is, what are some low-floor, high-ceiling coding languages to teach? While your choice might depend on the curriculum and programs made available in your district, we’ve compiled a list of the top five programming languages and why they’re so valuable. 


C# is a versatile programming language known for its ease of learning and broad applicability, making it an excellent choice for introducing high school students to computer science. With its syntax influenced by C and C++, mastering C# provides students with a solid foundation in object-oriented programming principles. 

This foundational knowledge not only facilitates the understanding of other languages but also prepares students for careers in software development. From developing mobile apps to creating software and video games, C# offers engaging opportunities for students to apply their coding skills creatively and learn by making visually and functionally impressive projects. 

Moreover, proficiency in C# opens doors to industry-recognized certifications in Unity, enhancing students' credentials as they embark on their programming journey. With Mastery Coding’s Game and App Certification Pathway, new and veteran CS teachers alike can teach C# and Unity with ease. 


Programming languages can be categorized based on their primary uses, which include frontend, scripting, and backend languages. For instance, scripting languages are interpreted rather than compiled, allowing for more flexibility and rapid development.

JavaScript, as a scripting language, plays a crucial role in web development and is integrated into virtually every website on the internet. However, due to its scripting nature, JavaScript code may not always behave consistently across different web browsers, posing challenges for developers in maintaining uniform front-end designs.

Despite these challenges, JavaScript remains indispensable in modern web development. Its widespread adoption makes it an essential component of any high school computer science curriculum. By learning JavaScript, students gain the skills needed to create interactive and dynamic websites and web applications, preparing them for future endeavors in web development and client-based projects. With Mastery Coding’s Web Development Foundations course, students learn the basics of web design and web development and prepare to attain two industry-based certifications.


Python stands out as one of the most widely used and beloved programming languages in the modern era. Renowned for its versatility, Python can be used across various domains, including data analysis, machine learning, artificial intelligence, web scraping, and scientific simulations. 

One of Python's key attributes is its readability, resembling standard English syntax. This feature makes Python particularly accessible to students and first-time learners who may find syntax-based languages challenging to grasp.

While Python excels in web-based applications, it also supports the development of video games and mobile apps. However, creating these applications in Python may entail additional back-end testing and lack instant visual output, which can be time-consuming and less engaging for some students. Despite these considerations, Python remains a valuable language for students to learn, offering a strong foundation in computer science and reinforcing essential coding principles. Check out Mastery Coding’s Computer Science Foundations curriculum which uses Python and prepares students for three certification exams. 


Java continues to maintain its position as one of the leading high-level programming languages, valued for its versatility and platform independence. Unlike JavaScript, Java is not a scripted language; instead, it follows the "Write once, run anywhere" principle, which empowers developers to create applications that can run seamlessly across different platforms and devices. 

One of Java's significant strengths is its integral role in the Android operating system, making it the preferred language for mobile app development on the Android platform. 

While Java offers robust capabilities for building mobile apps, mastering it may involve a steeper learning curve compared to languages like Python or JavaScript. However, the extensive opportunities and limitless possibilities offered by Java make it a valuable addition to any high school coding curriculum, particularly for students interested in software development and mobile app creation.


While C# offers a relatively straightforward learning curve, C++ presents another valuable but more challenging option. C# excels in the development of video games and applications, whereas C++ boasts versatility, capable of being used in a wide range of applications.

C++ serves as a foundational language upon which developers can build websites, mobile apps, video games, and various other software solutions. The Unreal game development engine, a leading tool for game and app developers, uses C++. 

Despite its complexity, C++ remains a powerful and enduring language in the programming landscape. Proficiency in C++ equips students with the skills to create diverse software applications, positioning them for high demand in the workforce. Even if a coding program exclusively focuses on C languages, students can still achieve remarkable outcomes, demonstrating the breadth of opportunities offered by C++ proficiency.

Build a Coding Curriculum With Mastery Coding

In the modern world, coding and STEM classes are critical to preparing students for success as adults. Fortunately, building a coding curriculum doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. 

Mastery Coding develops turn-key coding curricula, that teach project-based coding through video-based, multi-modal lessons that make it easy for teachers and students without prior coding experience to learn and grow. Want to learn more about teaching computer science in an engaging and relevant way?

Get in touch today to find out how Mastery Coding can elevate your school’s computer science and STEM programs. 


Peter oversees the creation and integration of the marketing department’s content, assets, ads, campaigns, and outreach. He has been with Mastery Coding from the very start and is here to use his marketing skills to make sure your school gets the positive attention and support it deserves.

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