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Top 10 Scripting Languages in DevOps – 2021

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Software engineers and IT professionals often get confused when it comes to learn which programming or scripting language is good for their career as a DevOps engineer? This has led several of our readers to ask “What are the best Programming or Scripting languages for a DevOps engineer” and “Is Programming or Scripting knowledge is mandatory to learn for DevOps Engineers?” So, let’s dig answers of all these questions.

After reading this article you will be able to;

  • What are scripting languages?
  • What is the difference between Compiler and Interpreter?
  • Wht is the difference between Programming language and scripting language?
  • Is Programming or Scripting knowledge required or not to learn DevOps?
  • What are the top 10 scripting languages for DevOps engineers?
    • Python
    • Bash
    • Go language
    • Ruby
    • Groovy
    • Perl
    • Microsoft PowerShell
    • JAVAScript
    • Terraform
    • Ansible

Machine language is the lowest language level of the programming language and is the only one which computers can understand. For us (humans) it is not possible to write a program in Machine language which we often say Binary Code 0,1. This is the reason we use high-level programming languages which in the end converted into Machine language to run on a computer or system.

But, the thing here is to understand “what is scripting language?” we must understand the difference between programming and scripting language.

They both are high-level languages and use to instruct a machine. Now the question here is, if both are used for the same purpose then why do we have two different names.

As far as the language structure concern they both are the same, in fact, we can say all scripting languages are programming languages.

The major difference is scripting language does not require pre-compilation rather they are interpreted

So let’s try to understand what exactly is compilation and interpretation means?

Compiler takes the complete source file at once and converts it to the machine code with final executable which will be platform-dependent and can be run on the desired platform to produce desirable outputs. The interpreter also does the same thing to compile the high-level language to machine language, but it does it line by line at run time. Which means whenever it encounters the statement it converts the corresponding machine code which will be executed to produce output.

We may understand the difference with below-mentioned points:-

Compiler:-

  • Source code privacy
  • Fast
  • Platform dependent
  • Require extra compilation step
  • It read and analyze the code only once

Interpreter:-

  • Can work on cross-platform
  • No source code privacy
  • Slow
  • No extra compilation delay
  • It read and analyze the code statements each time

So, now let’s unedrstand what is the difference between Programming and Scripting Languages?

Programming language:-

  • It used to create a standalone application which we can install anywhere based on the platform for which we have program it
  • It uses compiler to covert high-level languages into machine language
  • Examples:- C, C++, Java
  • In programming languages whatever softwares we make, we use one particular language to create that application or software. Which means let’s suppose we have made complete software with “C” language than it means that software is completely based on “C” language only.

Scripting language:-

  • It used to create a web application or similar like softwares.
  • It uses interpreter to convert high-level language into machine language
  • Examples:- JAVA Script, PHP, Python, BASH
  • Here let’s suppose we have made a software in PHP then it’s possible to use HTML or JAVA which means we can use scripting languages with multiple programming languages

Is Programming or Scripting knowledge is required to learn DevOps?

In DevOps, we use so many tools to automate our tasks. Most of the DevOps tools are GUI-based and some of the tools may be using scripting or commands to make it work. But programmers are going to write the codes and they will push it into the GIT or any similar tools. As a DevOps engineer, you need to create the CI/CD pipeline by using all the available tools in your infrastructure or in your work environment.

So, as a DevOps engineer, you don’t need to write any code. You will use multiple tools to make sure that codes are built appropriately and deployed in the target environment. Therefore, we can say, without programming knowledge you can fulfill your DevOps engineer role without any issues.

But, if you will have some understanding or knowledge of modifying the existing scripts or if you can write small-small programs then it is going to be really helpful in the long run. You don’t need to be a Coding master to switch your career in DevOps, even if you are a non-programmer, you can go for it.

Having said that, to be a pro in DevOps one can learn different programming and scripting languages that are commonly used in DevOps methodology to drive automation.  

Here we are going to list out the top 10 scripting languages for a DevOps engineer.

1. Python

python-language

Python is amongst the top scripting languages which is used for high level programming. It was first released in the year 1991 by Guido van Rossum. It is a great choice these days for beginners up to professionals. It has topped the charts in recent years over other languages and is widely used by programmers nowadays. Even Google has made Python one of its primary programming languages. Python has undergone a drastic change since its release, as many add-on features are introduced. Python is used for web development, data science, creating software prototypes, and various other things. It is available under Python Software Foundation License.

What are the Python Advantages and Disadvantages?

  • Easy to Read, Learn and Write
  • As it’s simple language, it improve productivity
  • Interpreted Language
  • Dynamically Typed
  • Free and Open-Source
  • Vast Libraries Support
  • Portability – write once and run it anywhere
Python Advantages Python Disadvantages
Easy to Read, Learn and WriteSlow Speed
Improved ProductivityNot Memory Efficient
Interpreted LanguageWeak in Mobile Computing
Dynamically TypedDatabase Access
Free and Open-SourceRuntime Errors
Vast Libraries SupportDifficult in Using Other Languages
Compatible with Most Systems and Architectures
Data Science and AI – Preferred language

What is the future of Python?

If we will see the current trend, there is no other language that could compete with python as it is growing at a fast pace. Applications Like web, game are commonly dveloped with the help of python language only. Therefore, if will talk about the Python future, it is going nowhere. It will go to a new level in the future with Artificial Intelligence involvement.

Which organizations are using Python?

youtube.com/DevOpsSchool.com

2. Bash

bash-scripting

BASH is short for AKA Bourne-again Shell and it is a superset of Shell scripting. It is basically a command language which is available in open source and written by Brian Fox in the year 1989. It is mainly used by software developers and system admins to automate most of the tasks. It can read scripts and the most commonly used Unix shell. Bash supports Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.

What are the Bash shell Advantages and Disadvantages?

  • Easy to use
  • To automate the repetitive conducted operations
  • It saves time
  • To run sequence of instructions as only one command
  • Quick start, and interactive debugging.
  • It can be implemented in any Unix-like operating-system without any modifications
Bash shell Advantages Bash shell Disadvantages
Simple and easy to masterWeakly typed languages
Convenient to learn and useSlow execution speed compared to any programming languages
Common commands are also easy to rememberI/O performance is not high
Interpreted language, no need to compile before runningA new process launched for almost every shell command executed
Handle complex problems quickly and easilylow efficiency
Portable (It can be executed in any Unix-like operating systems without any modifications)

What is the future of Bash Shell Scripting?

Usually, only bash will not turn into a great career, though learning bash is definitely useful – especially if you will work on Linux in the future. There is no competitor of bash when it comes to automating system-level operations and repetitive tasks.

youtube.com/linuxhint

3. Go language

go-language

Go scripting language belongs to the Internet giant Google. This scripting language is written by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson and it was released in the year 2009. It supports  Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, Plan 9, DragonFly BSD and Solaris operating systems. It is available in open source.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Go Language?

  • Golang has a standard library
  • Golang is well known for its memory management capabilities
  • Golang comes with inbuilt powerful testing tools
  • It based on functions which makes it simple, easy and fast to learn
  • It is used for different platforms (Windows, Linux/Unix, BSD versions and mobile devices)
  • Go lang has efficient concurrency, like C,C++, Java
GoLang Advantages GoLang Disadvantages
Easy to LearnYoung language, so it is still developing
Ease of codingNot good language for building iOS applications
In-built securityNo support for inheritance
Standard libraryLimited libraries to work
Lightweight routinesNo support for OOP
Well known for memory management capabilitiesNo GUI library
Much faster compared to PythonNarrow community Support
Runtime safety is not that good
Error handling isn’t perfect

What is the future of GOLang?

Because it’s developed by Google. No, not only because of that, but Golang has the capability to become a must-have language in the CV’s of every programmer.

It’s rising faster than any other language. If we will count on Freelancer Survey 2020 reports then, 18% of freelancers voted GoLang as one of the programming languages that will become crucial in the near future and it also became the 7th most voted language. Go is most probably different from other popular languages. It is new but so powerful that it was able to bring up geeks engagement from the very start. It was developed to create highly-loaded systems using the architecture of multiprocessor systems at 100%. This is why various organizations migrate to Golang from other languages ​​and design effective software. No doubt, Golang is the future.

Which organizations are using GoLang?

youtube.com/freeCodeCamp.org

4. Ruby

ruby-language

Ruby is amongst one of the best programming languages but it is also a scripting language which is written by Yukihiro Matsumoto in the year 1995. Ruby supports cross platforms and it is available under GPL and BSD license. It supports multiple programming paradigms, including functional, object-oriented, and imperative.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Go Language?

  • Easy to learn and master
  • There are so many libraries and frameworks available
  • Can start learning Ruby on rails, and make web applications much faster and easily
  • Ruby is open source and is freely available on the web, but it is subject to license
  • Ruby is very much scalable and easily maintainable
Ruby AdvantagesRuby Disadvantages
Big number of helpful tools and librariesShortage of flexibility
Huge and active communityContinuous evolvement
Works on many platformsWrong decision may costs high
High level of abstraction and substantive approach to the implementation of algorithmsLess stronger Runtime speed and performance
Easily integrates high performance database serversDifficult to delpoy
Simple and clean syntax, easy to learn, easy to maintain
Additional security features
Built in debugger

What is the future of Ruby?

Ruby on Rails language is mature now and offers stability which directly transform into successful, hassle-free maintenance for years. Experienced programmes can tap the magic of Rails and use the saved time to focus on business features and application logic. It is a stable and powerful language. We find it a perfect choice to build a Minimum Viable Product that will be improved/developed in the future. It has been move from popularity to a more sustainable and stable programming language. So, Ruby on Rails is not going anywhere. Spending time to learn this langugue is beneficial.

Which organizations using Ruby on Rails?

youtube.com/freeCodeCamp.org

5. Groovy

groovy-scirpting

Groovy can be used as a scripting language and it is also consider as a top scripting languages for DevOps professionals. It was designed by James Strachan and developed by Guillaume Laforge, Jochen Theodorou, Paul King and Cedric Champeau. It was first released in the year 2003 and available under Apache license. It supports Java platform.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Groovy Language?

  • Static and dynamic typing
  • Groovy is supported by wide range of frameworks
  • Jenkins Pipeline uses the power of Groovy
  • Support for unit testing
  • It can easily integrate with your existing interface.
  • Concise, brief, direct syntax
  • Relatively short learning curve
  • Easy to learn for Java developers
  • Native support for regular expressions/syntax/associative arrays
Groovy Advantages Groovy Disadvantages
Groovy blends different programming paradigms elegantly.At present, there is only the implementation of JVM, which can only be run on a machine with JVM.
Support from the business community – save time and effortsIt’s still considered as the “slow” JVM language.
Its syntax is readable, concise & expressiveKnowledge of Java is Required.
It comes with batteries included with advanced APIs to simplify common programming tasks, making developers more productive.It may need lots of memory
Groovy can call all powerful Java librariesJVM and Groovy script start time is slow which limits OS-level scripting
Reusable and assignable pieces of code is present in groovy.
Maps, arrays, ranges, and regular expressions can be literally declared.
It possesses efficient object navigation.

What is the future of Groovy?

Reports from the “IT Jobs Watch” ranked Groovy as one of the best-paying programming languages in the year 2020, adding to that this language is increasingly popular these days for automating the deployment and management of systems infrastructure OR Jenkins CI/CD system.

Which organizations are using Groovy?

youtube.com/Derek Banas

6. Perl

perl-scripting

PERL (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language) is a high-level, interpreted, dynamic programming and scripting language written by Larry Wall and first released in the year 1987. It was specially designed for text editing. But these days broadly used for various purposes which includes system administration, network programming, web development, etc. Perl is quite popular for extracting data and generating reports.

Features?

  • Easy to learn Perl is extremely portable
  • Provides supports for cross platform
  • It is free and open Source
  • It can embed in web servers and database servers
  • Makes system administration task easy
  • Perl takes the best features from other languages, like C, sed, awk, and sh etc.
  • It can extract data and generate reports

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Perl?

PERL AdvantagesPERL Disadvantages
Easy to learn as it is similar like C, C++ As scripting, it is slower for a lot of tasks – needs to be interpreted each time when any changes are made.
Perl Provides supports for cross-platform and it is compatible with mark-up languages like HTML, XML etc.Argument Handling is poor
It is very efficient in text-manipulation i.e. Regular Expression. It also provides the socket capability.Not Portable
PERL is an embeddable language thus, it can be embed in web servers and database servers easilyNo Interpretor Shell
PERL supports more than 25000 open source modules on CPANUgly Libraries
Perl has may powerful extensions to the standard library.Hard to fix bugs

What is the future of PERL?

In the JOB perspective, the size of the market for Perl developers is not as large as other languages, but organizations who needs Perl skillsets use to face hard time finding good professionals. Therefore, if you have PERL in your resume you might find it easier to get a job even though there are fewer jobs that require it.

Which organizations are using PERL?

youtube.com/Derek Banas

7. Microsoft PowerShell

powershell-scripting

Microsoft powershell or windows powershell is belongs to Microsoft and an open-source (yes you read it correct – opensource) automation framework and scripting language. It provides a command-line shell and scripting language which is integrated with the .Net framework and it can be embedded with other applications. If you have application infrastructure with windows than powershell is must for you. This scripting language is designed for system admin.

Features?

  • Easy to understand and use
  • Automate systems repetitive tasks
  • Countless possiblites of querying and reporting
  • It is more extensible via cmdlets and plugins
  • It supports .NET Objects and Forms
  • It runs on single threads and hence it can invoke any .Net libraries
  • Concept of background jobs
  • Powershell is interactive

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Powershell ?

Powershell AdvantagesPowershell Disadvantages
Powershell is an object-based which allows you to manipulate the output easilySometime it can be slow for large inputs or outputs
Powershell is easy to learn and implementPowershell is not considered as the very best for writing GUI (graphical interface programs)
You can even run legacy DOS commandsPowershell is interpreted so you aren’t going to use it for writing system drivers or OS components and such even if it is fast enough.
You can also run .Net code in PowerShell
Commonly used for automating the management of systems
It is also used to build, test, and deploy solutions, often in CI/CD environments.
Built-in support for common data formats like CSV, JSON, and XML

What is the future of Powershell?

PowerShell can be a great choice to learn primarily if you are going to work on Windows environment. Especially with the adoption of DevOps, adding PowerShell skills can help you propel your career on Windows-based systems, as it could help automate many routine tasks and problems you face very easily. Adding to that it has now become the present and future of Microsoft platforms and it is not going away anytime in near future.

Which organizations are using PowerShell?

youtube.com/TechThoughts

8. JAVAScript

javascript

JavaScript is the world’s most popular and widely used programming and client-side scripting language. It was developed as LiveScript by “Netscape” in the 1990s and renamed to JavaScript in the year 1995, and became an ECMA (European Computer Manufacturers Association) standard in 1997. It is an object-oriented language, and it has some commonalities in syntax to Java programming language. But, it’s not associated with Java in either way. JavaScipts add and enhance interactivity and dynamic consequences to the web pages by manipulating the content returned from a web server. If you are good at it then you can develop games, animated 2D and 3D graphics, comprehensive database-driven apps, and much more.

Features?

  • Easy to learn compared to other popular languages
  • All popular web browsers support JavaScript
  • JavaScript is very fast
  • JavaScript can be inserted into any web page
  • Being client-side reduces the demand on the website server
  • Gives the ability to create rich interfaces

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of JAVAScript ?

JAVAScript Advantages JAVAScript Disadvantages
Easy to learnThere are no multithreading or multiprocessing capabilities.
Platform independentJavaScript does not allow the reading or writing of files. This has been kept for security reasons.
Most of the JAVAScript task runs without contacting to the serverIt can not be used for networking applications because there is no such support available
Give a Rich Interface to your applicationCode use to be always visible to client end, even though it is minified

What is the future of JAVAScript ?

JavaScript is one of the crucial language behind the rapidly changing Internet. Career opportunities with JavaScript are growing everywhere. The world’s most used top web pages and websites like Yahoo, Netflix, LinkedIn have JavaScript which makes it the most powerful scripting interface. The widespread development of a high level programming language emphasizes that JavaScript is the future. It is the present and will be the future.

Which organizations are using JAVAScript ?

youtube.com/Clever Programmer

9. Terraform

terraform-scripting

Terraform is developed by Hashicorp and it is an open-source tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently, written in go programming language. Professionals use various tools to automate the provisioning of software. Terraform works on the same principle, infrastructure as code, but focusses on the automation of the infrastructure itself. It can provision any application written in any language to any infrastructure.

Features?

  • Open-source
  • Popular DevOps tool
  • Super portability – one tool, one language for describing infrastructure of any cloud
  • It uses a custom language known as HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language).
  • It was designed to compromise the human-readable and the machine-friendly languages. 

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Terraform?

Terraform Advantages Terraform Disadvantages
Terraform made cloud resources available as code. Just select the suitable provider for the cloud and it will do the job.It doesn’t have a GUI
Templating is possible to make the Terraform templates reusable.No auto-rollback feature upon failure
To make the templates generic – variables can be created so that they can be reused for different resources or environments.Tracking and visibility can be improved as using Terraform plan to find out what is already created via Terraform by using Terraform state is a bit harder.
Deploy infrastructure quickly & reliablyDocumentation, specifically examples are often complex and do not explain things very well

What is the future of Terraform?

Nowadays, Infrastructure as code is key to buil secure and reliable infrastructures and due to this Terraform is already being used by tech giants extensively for provisioning their infrastructure in cloud and various other organizations realizing the importance of it in cloud circle. Terraform adoption is increasing rapidly, and to make most out of it organizations are arranging terraform training sessions for the their employees. So, definitley Terraform is going to rule in future and if you will aquire the Terraform skill, you will get good opportunities.

Which organizations are using Terraform?

youtube.com/devopsschool.com

10. Ansible

ansible-scripting

Ansible is known as configuration management and application deployment tool but it can also be used to write scripts. It belongs to Red-Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and written by its community members. Ansible uses playbook to describe automation jobs, and it uses very simple language like YAML (It’s a human-readable data serialization language & is commonly used for configuration files, but could be used in many applications where data is being stored) which is very easy for humans to understand, read and write.

Features?

  • Seamless deployment
  • Easy automation
  • Very helpful for system administrators
  • Popular DevOps tool

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Ansible?

Ansible Advantages Ansible Disadvantages
Using ansible is very simple.UI is Lacking
Ansible uses playbooks which are written in YAML – which are easy to read and understand.Ansible has no notion of state
You do not need to install anything else on it for security or scaling purpose.Limited Windows Support
If used with full capabilities, it can orchestrate an entire application environment regardless of its deployment environment.
Since it does not require any other resources to be installed, it’s pretty efficient.

What is the future of Ansible?

Ansible is here to stay, it has a great future, at least for the next few years for sure. These days every organization is looking to automate all the processes which they can do – to increase the their productivity and efficiency of the application and overall resources. If you know Ansible well and skilled enough to write a playbooks to automate redundant task, Ansbile will definitely set you apart and helps you grow your career growth.

Which organizations are using Ansible?

youtube.com/DevopsSchool.com

Do you agree with this list? If not then feel free to respond in the comment box with your own take on the most essential scripting languages for DevOps professionals.

One more thing, I would like to add here, if you need help to learn all these scripting languages and DevOps culture then DevOpsSchool can help you with industry-standard training programs.

Mantosh Singh