Which Programming Language Should You Learn First?

2 min read

With so many programming languages to choose from. What should be the first programming language you learn?

I'll answer this question with a question: "What are your goals?"

Knowing what you want to do with programming will simplify your decision.

If you want to build...Learn this language
Web appsJavaScript
iOS appsSwift
Android appsKotlin
Video gamesC#
Video game enginesC++
Embedded systems, operating systemsC
Machine learning, AI, and data sciencePython

If you know you want to do programming, but you don't have a specific goal in mind, that's normal. In this case, learn JavaScript or Python.

  • JavaScript is great because it allows you to write all kinds of software: Web apps, mobile apps, desktop apps, CLI apps, and more.
  • Python is well suited for beginners because the syntax is among the easiest syntax to learn. It reads like plain English, making it a good choice for beginner programmers.

Both languages are among the most popular technologies according to the 2020 StackOverflow survey.

More importantly though, the language you choose should be the language that motivates you to keep learning programming, whether that's JavaScript, Python, C++, Java, Rust, LISP, or Scratch.

Once you get more experienced, you learn that languages come and go. You'll realize languages are a means to an end rather than the end itself.

So don't over-analyze it. Pick a language and learn the building blocks of programming. Learn the answers to the following questions:

  • What are the common data types?
  • What are conditional statements?
  • What are loops?
  • How do you handle exceptional behavior?
  • What are functions?
  • What are classes and objects?

At the end of the day, have fun with it and build cool things.

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