Which Programming Language to Learn First - Best Programming Languages

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If you asked me this question a decade ago, I would have confidently answered: Python.

But since then, the range of programming languages I've come across has expanded quite a bit. I now use four or five, and in the past few months I've given serious thought to learning Go, Rust, or Dart. Given how central these languages are to today's applications, I expect these languages to remain the "real deal" for at least the next five years.

So, if I had to answer this question today, I'd be more likely to tell you: learn one of the following: C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Swift.

What I mean by this is, I think there are certain coding techniques, the use of certain packages, and certain approaches that should be learned from experts, and I think these have been largely ignored by the masses.

Do these languages really need to be learned, if you don't intend to be a coder in the "proper" sense? Some of them certainly do, but most of them don't. In the past, I had a reasonable argument in favor of "proper coding" as you may have read here.

Now, I'm not sure about that anymore.

The "iron triangle" fallacy

Coding is about a huge number of complex processes, and they are different for every single company. That's why so many of the most successful companies have adopted "agile" development practices. It's also why we've started to see an increasing number of startups adopting DevOps as well.

It makes sense for engineers, when they first enter a new company, to get to know a team's workflow. It makes sense for engineers to choose the tools they're comfortable with. But by the time someone has done this, it's very often too late.

I'm not saying all of these technologies are right or wrong. But I do think the real advantage of being an expert is that you can make more informed choices. By choosing a language or a technology that is a stronger fit for your company's process, you'll save time and avoid potential blunders down the line.

On the other hand, a less skilled engineer will have the opportunity to learn and grow from working with these technologies, just as you have when you chose C++, or Java, or Swift. There's no downside to making this choice.

A new report on programming languages predicts that programming-language developers are poised for renewed growth. The report predicts that by 2021, investments in language development will top $5.6 billion. That's a 23 percent increase over 2017.

The predictions in the report were based on a survey of more than 7,000 developers. The top-performing language is JavaScript, followed by Swift, which is used in Apple's mobile operating systems. Rounding out the top five are Objective-C and PHP, which are both in Apple's stable of products.

J. Allard, executive director of the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Programming Languages, put together the annual report. He pointed out that languages like Objective-C and Python -- long-standing favorites -- are being pushed by developers as modern languages. As those languages age, Allard expects interest in newer languages to grow.

In the study, developers ranked programming languages based on factors including their ecosystem, security, compatibility and marketability. Allard said in an interview that he believes programming languages are evolving from a technology focus to a language-level phenomenon.

"With new languages, people are realizing that what they're doing and what it means in terms of the correctness of their code is different from it was 20 years ago," he said. "Language designers are figuring that out, and developers are figuring that out. We are seeing more of these new languages emerge with much more functionality and capability."

Some new languages include F#, which was designed by Microsoft for heavy-duty .Net development; Rust, a systems programming language created by Mozilla for reliability and security; and Kotlin, which Google released earlier this year. (Kotlin was originally written for Android, but it is also being used in JetBrains's editor and IDE for Apple's Mac and iOS.)

Language-development technology is also evolving rapidly, adding that for developers to target modern operating systems, they need to be comfortable working in these new languages.

"If you are developing an application on Linux, with the changes in how the Linux kernel works and the changes to how Java works, it's hard to think that we can target that with Python," he said.

So, Which Programming Language to Learn First?

That’s a simple answer: Don’t code in a programming language you don’t like.

I understand, you’ve tried coding in quite a few programming languages, and couldn’t stick to any of them. That’s OK.

Do you have a liking for CSS but want to learn programming? A language that lets you write CSS but also makes it easy to test and validate your CSS code?

No problem!

Give yourself a break and give JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails, or NodeJS a shot.

Also, if you’ve never taken a computer programming course before, I’d suggest getting into the Visual Studio Community version.

What’s the Only Programming Language You Know?

You know, the only programming language you know? Probably none.

But don’t panic!

There are so many programming languages out there! Each one has its own strengths, it has its own weaknesses. If you know JavaScript and that’s about it, it’s okay!

But if you know JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails, SQL, Python, C++, and you want to go full in, it’s time to be seriously up for learning something new!

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