Best Programming Language to Learn For You

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. High-level languages, like Ruby, are sometimes easier to learn but give you less control over what you are trying to do with the code.

When choosing what programming language to learn, you may want to think about what you’d like to achieve as a programmer. Will you be doing web development? You may want to start with high-level languages like JavaScript. If you’re optimizing hardware or programming graphics, you may want the control of low-level languages like C. If you are considering a career in computer science, you may want to learn a variety of programming languages.

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Python

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 useful for computing financial data. According to HackerRank, in the financial technology—or fintech—industry, Python is the most sought-after skill, even before Java.

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 a statically typed language compared to Ruby, Python and JavaScript, which are all dynamically typed languages. The difference is that in a dynamically typed language, a variable doesn’t have to be defined, whereas in a statically typed language, a variable such as a number, text or date must be defined while writing

Java is useful for large-scale, enterprise-level applications. For this reason, it may work well in large corporate environments. While Java proficiency is a useful, in-demand skill, it may be difficult to learn on your own; studying with a professional with a strong Java background or taking a class may be helpful.

How to learn Java?

Created at Sun Microsystems in 1995, Java continues to be one of the most popular programming languages more than 25 years later. Part of its popularity may be due to the fact that it’s considered simple, concise and easy to earn. Since it is based on C++, it may be easier to learn for programmers who already know that language.

Several strategies for learning Java include visiting Oracle Academy, attending a MOOC (massive open online course) and taking advantage of the many online resources available for study. It may be a good idea to start by learning the basics, which you can do with these resources and videos on how to learn Java. Because of the large volume of material, learning Java requires patience and time. It may also be a good idea to build your skills by practicing coding. You might also consider joining an online forum or forming a group of people who are learning Java. That way, you can share ideas and resources, and you’ll have people to ask if you get stuck on something.

JavaScript 

JavaScript is the most popular coding language, according to StackOverflow’s 2019 survey. The only connection it shares to Java is the name — they aren’t technically related. JavaScript function works with CSS and HTML to create what we see on a webpage or app. JavaScript is the only in-browser programming language

According to Stack Overflow, JavaScript is used to add or modify interactive behavior on a webpage, for instance, a button on a page changing color when scrolled over or a carousel of images sliding from one image to the next. JavaScript can be used to create mobile and web apps, build web servers and server applications and develop games. You may want to learn JavaScript if you plan on working on websites, apps, games or servers. 

jQuery

jQuery is a JavaScript library created in 2006. It’s an open-source platform used by developers in the creation of websites. As such, it helps to have a basic understanding of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. jQuery takes complicated JavaScript code and makes it simpler and more condensed. It is not a programming language—it is used to make common JavaScript tasks more concise and has the added benefit of being cross-browser compatible, allowing it to ideally work as intended in any browser.

jQuery takes many of the common tasks that require numerous lines of JavaScript code to accomplish and condenses them into methods you can call with a single line of code. jQuery also simplifies a lot of the complicated things from JavaScript, such as helping developers to quickly write DOM (Document Object Model) interactions without having to manually write as much JavaScript.

Get more information on learning jQuery.

React.js

React was originally developed in 2011 and is the basis of the Facebook and Instagram apps. React is a JavaScript library, specifically used for building user interfaces. React is flexible, transportable and efficient. React works by using components instead of templates. This process means that a single component can be updated rather than updating a template, which changes multiple pages at once. It also makes data updates within the DOM easy because, through a process called data reconciliation, data discrepancies are automatically found and updated.

Since React.js was used for gradual adoption, it’s important to note you may implement as much or as little as you need. It was designed to be iterative from the start, so you can add React to an HTML page and slowly increase the presence of its functionality as you experiment with it.

Get more information on learning React.

Swift

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, built in 2014, is a newer programming language. With the popularity of Apple products, it may continue to be used.

Swift programming prioritizes safety and expressive syntax. It’s a fast and safe alternative programming language choice.

C and C++

Introduced in 1972, C is one of the oldest programming languages and the basis of many subsequent languages, including Java, JavaScript and C++. Called C with causes, C++ is an extension of 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, in video games. While some consider learning C language basics a foundation for other programming languages, others skip learning it, 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 you gain skills useful when entering the software development field.

R

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, R is a foundational data science skill.  

Go

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 

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

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 by 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. 

MYSQL

MySQL was founded in 1995 by a Swedish company, MySQL AB. MySQL is now one of the world’s leading open-source databases and companies. It’s used for relational database systems, which means data is organized in tables similar to a spreadsheet. This organization enables a flexible programming environment in which relationships can be made between data tables. MySQL is open-source software, which means anyone can use or edit it. It’s also fast and scalable.

SQL, on the other hand, is not open-source. Another difference between MySQL and SQL is that SQL is a query language opposed to a relational database. Since it’s a query language, you can use SQL to view and use data found in a database, such as MySQL.

Read more about how to learn MySQL.

PHP

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language used primarily for web development. It’s the recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor. It’s an open-source language that simplifies HTML inputs. In fact, PHP and HTML have a dynamic relationship; the two languages can interact with one another for web development projects.

One of its core benefits is that it’s simple for a newcomer, but has a high skill ceiling—there are many advanced features to pick up even for professional programmers. Much of PHP’s syntax comes from C, Java and Perl. PHP executes code on the server and generates HTML, as compared with JavaScript. To implement it, people generally embed it directly in HTML code.

Find out more about how to learn PHP.

GIT: Version Control System

Git is a version control system that helps track changes and helps teams collaborate. Put simply, Git may be used to store code so it may be reused or updated with later versions. This is useful to maintain a history of code changes, especially when multiple developers are working on the same project. Because of this, Git helps create a collaborative environment for coding projects that involve many developers.

Github is a development platform that uses Git. Git uses repositories to track and store various versions of your code. A file becomes a part of a repository by first being worked on in a staging area and then being committed to the directory. From there, you have a permanent snapshot of the file and it can either be seen as staged or modified. Most of this can be done locally on your device.

Learn more about Git.

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. 

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 way 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. It can also help you answer the question are coding bootcamps worth it?

Last updated: February 2021