Which Programming Language Should I Learn?

Ah, the age-old question. Which programming language should I learn? To me, the programming language you want to focus on depends on two things: your experience, and what kind of programming you want to do. I’ll go through some languages I learned in the order I learned them and explain why I learned them in the order that I did:

JavaScript

I cannot understand why it is never listed as a good language for starters. Not only is JavaScript easily accessible (just an F12 away), JavaScript is better for beginners because it is very lax with it’s syntax. If you forget a semi colon or two, it doesn’t matter. This is critical for beginners because the biggest barrier for new learners is frustration. Once you get the hang of JavaScript, you can learn JQuery, which is critical in front-end web development (it’s used everywhere). Then later, if you decide that you want to go into backend development, there are a TON of JavaScript frameworks that run on the server side. You may not even need to move onto another language at all!

PHP

PHP is a server side scripting language. Unlike C++, C#, and Java, PHP is an interpreted language. This means that the PHP scripts sit on your server and don’t need to compile anything. This is great if you need to make a quick change to your code on the fly, risky as that may be. One of the top criticisms of PHP is that it is not as fast because it is interpreted. I find that in most cases, PHP is fine if your running a website, or a small-to-medium traffic application. PHP is also used in WordPress. It’s nice to understand the code just in case you need to customize something.

C++

C++ was one of the most frustrating languages. It is quite a leap to go from process-oriented PHP to C++. But once you get the hang of it, C++ offers great low-level operations such as memory manipulation. C++ is used in a lot of robotics, game development, and machine learning algorithm. If your intention is to go into any of those fields, C++ is definitely a good language to learn.

Python

What kind of programming language article would this be without a shoutout to python. Python is another interpreted language, so compilation is not a problem. Most people would tell you that Python is the best language to start with, and I wouldn’t disagree with them. I am not a fan of Python’s indentation-based syntax, but that’s probably because I am not used to it. Python offers a huge array of libraries for pretty much anything you can think. Python is used in Rasberry Pi programming, which can be a lot of fun.

C#

This is the language I am currently working with mostly. C# is language widely used in Microsoft Applications. There are frameworks for making API’s, native windows applications, and it’s also used in the Unity Game Engine, so this may be another one you to learn if you are planning on getting into games. Some really great libraries include Linq, Dapper, and Reflections. I will write in more detail about C# Features in a later article.

Conclusion

The most important thing to remember when you are learning a language is that it takes time. Whether you are planning on following my path, or another path that makes more sense to you, don’t give up. I can tell you that it may be frustrating at times, but the benefits are literally endless. You will find yourself using the programming skill in ways you can’t currently imagine, happy coding! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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