If you work with computers or have thought about trying to become a programmer or a developer. You may have asked yourself the question: What programming language should I learn?
Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest questions to answer as a programmer. There is no hard and fast answer because the best programming languages to learn will be different for every person. According to several personal factors – but we’ll look at that in more depth later.
Despite the introduction of new languages almost every year, there are a few old – and even a couple of new – languages that dominate the programming landscape. Languages such as Java and PHP have remained relatively popular over the past decade or so. While Python has taken off to become the most common programming languages to learn for beginners – as shown in the image below.
However, overall search popularity for the term ‘learn programming’ has been decreasing over the last four or five years. Are people becoming less interested in learning programming, or is it a simple case of there being more available information about what languages are out there? We would have to lean towards the second option – platforms like Facebook and YouTube make programming information that much more accessible without having to search for it.
But enough about that, let’s get onto the personal factors that you need to consider when asking yourself “Which Programming Language Should I Prefer?”.
What Factors Should Influence The Language You Learn?
There are many different things that will influence you when it comes to deciding which programming language to learn. Many of these are personal, but some are also related to your location, your future job prospects, and other things.
Consider the following five points next time you ask yourself the question “Which Programming Language Should I Prefer?”.
1.Your Programming Experience
The first, and probably one of the most important things to take into account next time you are thinking “Which Programming Language Should I Prefer?” is your programming experience. Some of the best programming languages to learn are quite difficult and aren’t suited to beginners.
However, there are plenty of beginner-friendly resources out there for the most popular languages like Java and Python, so don’t let a lack of experience scare you away. Simply realize that, if you haven’t programmed or learned a programming language before, it will be more difficult and will take you longer to get started.
2.Your Career Path & What Sort Of Work You Want To Do
You can’t just go out there and choose one of the common programming languages to learn at random. You do need to have some reason for choosing, and this will usually be related to your career, the type of work you currently do, and the type of work you hope to do in the future.
First, think about the work you are doing at the moment. It is quite likely that you are thinking about the best programming languages to learn because you want to improve your job prospects. Try and choose something relevant to and compatible with your experience if possible.
If you are thinking about moving into a new field, then choose the language which will help you do this. For example, if you currently work as a back-end web developer, but want to move into blockchain programming, you should think about learning Solidity.
3.The Difficulty Of Each Language
It is also extremely important to make sure that you consider language difficulty next time you ask yourself “Which Programming Language Should I Prefer?”. If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to learning a new language, or are an inexperienced language learner, then you should consider choosing a course with a low difficulty level. Languages like Python, PHP, or even C# are usually quite simple for people who are just starting.
However, if you are an experienced programmer who already knows at least one language, then don’t let difficult languages scare you off. Consider dipping your toes into a more difficult language – something like C++ – especially if you enjoy a challenge.
4.The Resources Available For The Language
This point probably isn’t as relevant as it would have been five years ago, but it is still worth considering. If you are a new learner, the best programming language to learn first is going to be a popular one in which you can find support and a lot of resources.
You should be able to find in-depth resources online for any of the most popular languages.
5.The Versatility Of The Language
It is important to consider the uses and versatility of a language before you begin learning it. Some languages have very specialized uses. However, others are a lot more versatile and can be used for a wide range of things.
It all boils down to what you are planning to use your programming language for. For example, if you want to become a blockchain developer, Solidity is going to be the easy choice, even if it isn’t very versatile. However, if you want to work in web development and programming, choose something like PHP or Python.
What Types Of Programming Languages Are There?
Before you even ask the question:
“Which Programming Language Should I Prefer?”
You need to understand a few things about programming. If you are an experienced developer with one or more languages under your belt, you can probably skip this section and move straight on to the next one.
Most major programming languages can be defined according to their usage and design. The two most popular types of languages are statically typed languages and dynamic languages. These will be explored further below:
Statically Typed Languages:
Statically typed languages are more ‘advanced’ than dynamic languages in many people’s eyes. Things built with static languages are usually stable, scalable, and easy to maintain. They are usually very good at catching errors, but it takes a lot more programming and time commitment to build a good app or website back-end with a statically typed language.
Things like high-level mobile apps and top website back-ends are usually built on a statically typed language. General-purpose languages like Java and C are static languages, as are Swift, C++, and C#.
The alternative to statically typed languages is dynamic programming languages, which are usually seen as quite flexible and easy to learn. They make it easy to create basic apps or programs without a whole lot of time commitment, and they are often fun as well!
Most dynamic programming languages are high-level languages – which means that they are simpler to learn. If you choose dynamic programming languages to learn, you will spend less time fine-tuning the details of your code, and a lot more time discovering and practicing new concepts. Dynamic languages are popular among beginners, as they usually allow you to build things after just a few hours, and results come quickly.
Structure Query Language – which you might know as SQL – doesn’t fit under either of the above labels. It is quite a common language that is used to communicate with databases and to manage data. It is often used in website analytics, especially by major eCommerce retailers like Amazon and eBay.
Regardless of which language you choose, remember this – programming skills are transferable. Once you have learned one language, you will be much better equipped to learn another.