This is by far the most commonly asked question by those just about to enter the world of coding. But guess what? It’s the worst question to ask. It’s okay – we’ll forgive you, because we know you don’t know much about it yet. Instead, here’s the question you should ask:
‘What is the best programming language for ME?’
Everyone has different strengths, different interests, and different motivations.The reasons why you decide to learn to code won’t be the same as the next person who reads this article (leaving aside the most obvious reason – that programming is awesome). So to find out what the best language is for you to learn, you need to think about what you want to build, what problems you want to solve, and in general terms what kind of career goals you have.
While there are plenty of programming languages out there that can do a lot of things, there is no one language that’s better than all the others. Every programming language was designed for a specific purpose, at least to begin with. Some were built to be less complicated versions of other languages. Some were built for very specific tasks and aren’t much good for anything else. And some were built with the intention of doing most things relatively well (i.e. general-purpose).
To help you get a grip on what different languages do and which one you might like to learn the most, we’ve put together this list. If you don’t think it’s the perfect fit for you, head over to our Getting Started subdomain and find your ideal programming path: http://gettingstarted.stoneriverelearning.com/
If You Like… Designing Things
If You Like… Analysing Data
If you love numbers, working with complex information, and logical problem solving, data analysis could be an appealing area of programming for you. Data is a huge deal for any business nowadays, and the amount of information big companies collect (and the ways in which they use it) is growing all the time. R is the ‘lingua franca’ of statistical analysis, a highly sought after skill by big companies. If that’s the career path you want to go down, then you’ve found your niche. Language: R
If You Like… Gaming
So many aspiring programmers first had their interest peaked by video games. If you love diving head first into complex projects, building large-scale programs piece by piece from the ground up, and expressing your creative side, games development could be for you. C++ is one of the most powerful programming languages there is. It’s often used to develop games, desktop apps and games engines. The downside? It’s not the most beginner-friendly choice. If you like a challenge and aren’t afraid of hard work, go for it! Language: C++
If You Like… Mobile Apps
We now conduct more and more everyday activities on mobile. From catching up on the news to paying bills, that little device in your pocket can pretty much do anything. If the world of mobile is what captivates you, app development is a very exciting area to be in at the moment. The big question is; which platform do you want to dedicate yourself to? If you’ve fallen for Apple, then you’ll need to learn Swift. If Android is your bag, then go with Java. The latter is a more general purpose language, which is why we’ve listed it here (we swear). Language: Java
If You Like… Making Money
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a quick buck. There’s only one big mistake you could make, and that’s picking whatever is the latest ‘next big language’. Trust us; sticking with the tried and true languages that aren’t going anywhere – and mastering them – is the way to go. With that in mind, e-commerce is booming right now and only set to get bigger. What’s the language that powers that technology? In most cases, it’s the old but wise PHP. Language: PHP
If You Like… Learning New Things
If you just want to learn a new skill, don’t have any particular career aspirations yet, and would rather start off on something that’s easy to learn, there’s an easy solution. You need a general purpose, object-oriented programming language. They can do a wide variety of things, are designed to be user-friendly, and can be as simple or challenging as you want them to be. The most popular of these and the new gold standard on university courses is Python. Language: Python