For those considering the best programming language to learn first, it may be helpful to think about what you are trying to accomplish. There are different coding languages, sometimes described as low-level and high-level languages. While low-level languages are closer to the actual machine language — the 0s and 1s behind a computer — and offer more control for the programmer, they may be more difficult to learn. The high-level languages, like Ruby, are sometimes easier to learn but give you less control over what it is you are trying to do with the code.
Southern Methodist University
University of California, Berkeley
The University of Texas at Austin
Python was created by Guido Van Rossum in 1991. However, it didn’t make significant inroads in the development community until more recently. Today, according to data from Stack Overflow, Python is the fastest growing language to learn. Python programming is a high-level language that may be considered accessible, flexible and easy to learn.
Python can be used in data science and machine learning applications. Because of the need to process and clean large datasets, it may be a helpful language to learn if you are pursuing a career as a data analyst. Learning python may support a career path in web development or software engineering, is a basis for algorithmic learning and can even help build robots. It may also be helpful for computing financial data. According to HackerRank, In the financial technology — or fintech — industry, Python is the most sought after skill, even before Java.
So what is Java? Java is another popular programming high-level language because of its compatibility and versatility. Java can be used to develop apps and software. Android’s default language for development is Java. Java can be used across a variety of platforms, though because it was originally developed for cell phones where cross-network data exchange would be normal, it has inherent security functionality. Java was built on C++ principles and shares some syntax elements but was simplified from these older languages for ease of use.
Java is useful for large-scale, enterprise-level applications. For this reason, it may work well in large corporate environments. While learning Java is a useful, in-demand skill, it may be difficult to learn on your own; studying with a professional with a strong Java background may be helpful.
Swift is a programming language built for Apple and Linux. Swift programming language is useful to learn if you are interested in app development, specifically for iOS and MacOS. Swift is a newer programming language, built in 2014. However, with the popularity of Apple products, it may continue to be popular.
Swift programming prioritizes safety and expressive syntax. It’s a fast and safe alternative programming language choice.
C and C++
C involves an understanding of computer memory mechanisms to write.
C language and C++ are commonly used in computer science and where performance is critical, for instance, on video games. While some consider learning C language basics a foundation for other programming languages, others skip learning it altogether, instead opting for a more modern language. C++ is considered more beginner than C.
Many Adobe programs are built in C. Because C is a low-level programming language, it may be harder to learn, but many find it offers more control. Learning C may help one gain skills useful when entering the software development field.
R is a programming language that uses statistical modeling to make sense of data. Many people consider R to be an environment where statistical techniques can be applied. R can hold large quantities of data, assert numerical and symbolic rationale over such data and produce graphical representations of its findings.
R language examples of applications include statistical computing, modeling and graphics. It’s an open-source program that is open for continuous contributions. R language learning may be used in data science projects, machine learning and computing statistics. Along with Python, it’s a foundational data science skill.
Go language was created at Google in 2009. It’s considered an efficient programming language compiled to machine code. It’s similar to C and C++ without the difficult syntax. While some consider Go easy to learn, it’s still a low-level programming language. Go is an open-source language that iterates and develops continuously.
Go is designed for systems programming, building servers, data pipelines and packages for machine learning.
Ruby is another popular scripting language. Its framework, Ruby on Rails, can be used to design websites. In fact, popular sites like Airbnb used Ruby on Rails in certain iterations. Ruby language can be simple to learn and boasts a large, supportive learning community. Ruby on Rails uses simple syntax while still offering functional programming notation through object-oriented architecture.
Ruby is useful for those interested in website development. While many websites are built using the Ruby on Rails Framework, Ruby is also used for prototyping and data analysis.
SQL (structured query language) — pronounced see-kwell — was developed in 1979 at IBM. SQL is a specialized query language that helps manage data in a database. It specializes in structuring data regardless of the number of table rows in the dataset. While some of the functionality of SQL can be done in other programming languages such as Python, or using a tool like Excel, some may prefer to write their own SQL code.
SQL may be helpful to learn as a data scientist. It makes data insertion, modification, updating and deleting and queries quicker and more efficient.
Online Coding Programs
While looking over languages, hopefully you have learned more about the best coding language to learn for you. Remember, it can be helpful to ask what your experience level is, how much effort you are willing to put in to learn a new language, and what your goals are with learning a new programming language.
Once you’ve determined the right language for you, one of the best ways to learn a new programming language is to explore online coding bootcamps. These environments give you access to structured learning modules that may have benefits over self-study. They can also offer networking and career placement services.
Having a sense of your career goals and interests will help you choose a bootcamp and programming language that can help you meet those goals.
Last updated: November 2020