Top 3 Programming Languages for Chemical Engineers What are best programming tools for solving chemical engineering problems?

Top 3 Programming Languages for Chemical Engineers

You can apply programming skills in many areas of Chemical engineering. It can be either at the industrial scale or in research labs and it can include everything from process modeling, analysis, identification, planning, setup, control, maintenance etc.

Depending on your problem you are trying to solve, you can use some predefined functions or you may have to write codes as well. And, even, if you want to work for a company which develops such software tools, you have to get a good hold of programming skills.

Everyone wants to learn how to code, but what is the best entry point? Here are 3 top ways to check "programming" off your skills life-list.


The reason to choose C++ as your first language is purely mercenary. C++ and Java are the two most commonly used languages in enterprise programming projects. If you want to devote your time to learning a single language that has serious enterprise implications, then C++ could be your answer.
You'll pay for the commercial advantage with a rather steep learning curve, since C++ wasn't designed as a learning tool. On the other hand, it was designed to allow a programmer to control computer hardware at a very low level. When you learn C++, you have the opportunity to learn precisely how a computer works and how to make it work for your purposes.

With C++ you will need to code everything and it will not be an easy process to develop the skill, but it will certainly be paid off. C++ is the most common programming language for building specialized process simulation software packages such as Hysys, ChemCAD etc. 

There are no paid licences needed, so you can start learning C++ even today. Here you can find the Microsoft Visual Studio for C++ to download and install.



If your interest in programming is coupled with needs for numerical analysis, especially for scientific or engineering purposes, then MATLAB could be the first step you need to take in learning to code. MATLAB is a scripting language originally developed by a computer science professor at the University of New Mexico who wanted to save his students the pain of learning Fortran.

Unlike many of the other languages in this article, MATLAB isn't free. If you only want it for personal use, it's $149. If you decide you want to use it commercially, the price goes up significantly, to more than $2,000. MATLAB is a powerful solution for those who want to develop applications that visualize data or conduct advanced data analysis. If this sounds like your target app, then MATLAB might be your best learning option.

Matlab trial version can be downloaded at Mathworks website.



Similar to Matlab, Mathematica is one of the most popular programming tools in Chemical engineering. As the name says, its first purpose when it was developed was to solve complex mathematical problems with as little coding as possible. Later it was developed and entered all areas of chemical engineering. Today it has nearly 5,000 built-in functions covering all areas of technical computing—all carefully integrated so they work perfectly together, and all included in the fully integrated Mathematica system.

Mathematica builds in unprecedentedly powerful algorithms across all areas—many of them created at Wolfram using unique development methodologies and the unique capabilities of the Wolfram Language.
With its intuitive English-like function names and coherent design, the Wolfram Language is uniquely easy to read, write, and learn.

Similar to Matlab, the licence has to be paid and it is a bit more expensive than Matlab. For personal use, it will cost you around $300 or $150/year.

More about Mathematica can be found out at the website.