What Programming Language(s) Should You Learn?

What Programming Language(s) Should You Learn?

Alex Wright, Journalist

Getting into the world of programming, it’s hard to know where to start. There are so many languages that to a new programmer, seem almost indistinguishable but in name. So this article will go over the most popular programming languages, what they are used for, and if you should learn them.

 

Python is a very popular choice for beginners, due to it being easy to learn and a heavy emphasis on readability. It is arguably one of the most popular programming languages in the world! I am personally not a big fan of Python, but it is easy to see why it is so popular. This is a great language to start with. Or, you could use its alternative,

 

Javascript is an alternative beginning language to Python, and also arguably the most popular programming language. It is a bit more complicated than Python, with a bit more syntax, such as having to put semicolons at the end of every line of code. It has a ton of variants, such as node.js and typescript, and frameworks, such as react.js for making mobile apps. This would be the one I suggest starting out with. One of its biggest appeals is its compatibility with HTML.

 

HTML, the hypertext markup language, is the language of the web. You are reading this article on a site built with HTML. This language is unique because it doesn’t run with functions and variables and such. You put text in between tags, and it displays on screen depending on what the tag was. There is also a script tag, to add the brain JavaScript to the site. But, HTML is just a skeleton, it doesn’t look good until you add

 

CSS, the cascading style sheet. It makes your HTML look good. You can change background color, align text, color buttons, and all other things related to making your website look good. Like HTML, it doesn’t run on functions and variables, you simply attribute different things to different tags. For example, if you wanted to color the whole page red, you could do html{background-color = red}. It gets much more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea.

 

C is often called the mother of all programming languages. It inspired syntax for languages like python and javascript. It is object-oriented, which means that it makes use of objects or classes. It is still used commonly, even though it is the oldest language on this list. It also has two languages using its name.

 

C++ is another object-oriented language. It can actually run old C code, although C cannot run C++ code. It is the language of choice for the Unreal Engine. It uses objects instead of functions for input and output, supports reference variables, and has error handling. Both languages are so similar, it is very easy to learn C++ if you know C, making C more popular to learn.

 

C# is another C-like language and my personal favorite. It is famous for being the language of choice for the .NET framework and Unity. It, like C++, uses namespaces, which are almost classes for classes. C# and C++ are pretty similar, but C++ compiles into machine code, while C# complies into CLR, or Common Language Runtime. Despite being named after C, it is more similar to Java.

 

Java is another object-oriented language. It is also the language that Minecraft is programmed in. It compiles to byte code, then into the Java Virtual Machine interpreter. It even programs some NASA robots!

 

There are many, many other languages that I would include on here (swift, go, rust, to name only a few,) but I don’t know too much about them, and can’t advise. I would suggest doing some of your own research on some of the languages.  To learn these, I would suggest going to https://www.codecademy.com/, as it has some really good tutorials. All in all learn what sounds interesting to you, and what sounds like fun to you.