So what is the best programming language to learn?
You decided to start learning programming and then immediately hit the big question.
With so much choice, how to make the right one?
How to pick the best programming language and start learning?
A bit of research should resolve this, right?
Go and do a bit of Googling, and 2 hours later, you will be overwhelmed by choice and buzzwords! Too much choice starts to cause stagnation, confusion and maybe even a mild headache!
This is by far the most frequent feedback I get from new coders. They have all the excitement, passion and ideas but simply do not know where to start!
Choice prevents them from making a decision!
It becomes a barrier to success.
Too Much Choice Can Be Overwhelming
Do you ever get that feeling of being overwhelmed when you go into a supermarket and want to buy something?
Maybe you want to buy some coffee. There are 100 different coffees to choose from and you feel overwhelmed.
Too much choice can be overwhelming.
There is so much marketing and noise. Too many brands jumping out at us for attention.
When we go into an artisan coffee shop you simply ask for our favourite brew. I usually just ask for a skinny latte and trust that the coffee shop owner has stocked the best beans.
This simplifies choice.
So if we cut down the vast choice and buzzwords into a smaller set of choices it becomes much easier.
How can we do this with programming languages?
The answer is actually very simple but not what you may expect…
Don’t worry, by the end of this guide, you will be much better informed to make this crucial decision quickly and easily. Moreover, I will also recommend to you the best and highest rated courses for your language of choice!
I will also help narrow down the best programming language choice to just 7!
Yes just 7 languages!
The choice will then be much easier for you to make.
The choice will be so easy and simple that you will be able to make it right away and with full confidence!
Keep reading to learn how to easily pick the best programming language and start learning today…
The Wrong Question
In most situations, the most pertinent question is almost always the wrong one. It is also the case with this question:
- – What is the Best Programming Language to Learn?
Why is this the wrong question to ask?
This question is loaded with two major assumptions. Firstly, it assumes that there is actually a “best” programming language to learn. Secondly, it also assumes that this initial decision will have some sort of lasting impact on your journey as a programmer.
Both assumptions are false.
Let me put your mind at rest right away.
There is no such thing as the best programming language to learn. Moreover the first language you learn will have no lasting impact on your future as a programmer!
Common theoretical concepts occur in all programming languages. So any language you start learning will help you grow your generic programming knowledge, confidence and experience.
This will in turn make new programming languages much easier to get to grips with in the future!
In fact, most programmers will be proficient in more than one language. Most will have a favourite or speciality but a good programmer should be able to pickup a new language with relative ease.
Good programmers can get started quickly and learn more advanced features as their experience grows.
An experienced programmer, should have a general awareness of the capabilities of popular languages and be able to decide when a particular language is better suited than another when trying to solve a particular problem.
The language you should use in a particular situation will be largely driven by – what you want to develop.
The Right Question
Therefore, the right question should be this:
- – What Do I Want To Develop?
An experienced programmer should be able to narrow down the language choice based on what they want to develop.
Don’t worry I am here to help guide you!
My top advice to you as a beginner is: to think about what you actually want to develop. Set yourself a project or a goal.
Then use this guide and allow me to help you make an informed language decision! Armed with your idea, pick the language from this guide and start learning right away, let your creativity drive your learning and your experience will grow in no time!
Do not stagnate!
If you are struggling to decide what you want to develop, don’t worry, I will also provide you with a few inspirational ideas together with appropriate languages you can learn – to help bring those ideas to life!
You really cannot make a bad decision here!
The only potential bad decision is to delay starting learning. Be decisive, get an idea, make a language choice and jump into coding! You can always change direction in the future and learn another language if needed.
I have seen this time and time again – people overthink the first step!
Remember learning new languages becomes easier and easier once you get over that first hurdle and actually start learning.
Let’s jump in!
From Idea To a Language
Simply use the table below to map an idea to a language and start learning to code today by doing it! Grow your experience by letting your creativity drive your learning and development.
You will be a great programmer in no time!
Simple 3-Step Process
Step 1: Decide what you want to develop. Start with an idea.
Step 2: Pick your language from the table below.
Step 3: Start learning right away!
The biggest positive from this approach is that you remove the massive roadblock preventing you from learning.
Best of all, you can always learn another language in the future.
And it will be so much easier because you can leverage your experience and grow as a programmer!
It really is a win-win situation!
Mapping Your Idea To a Programming Language
Use the table below to map your idea to a language…
From Idea To a Language
|I have an idea to create…||You need to learn…
|A website||HTML + CSS + JS
|An iPhone app||Swift
|An Android app||Java
|Data analysis or calculation tools||Python
|A game for mobile and consoles||Unity and C#
|A Windows desktop application||C#
|A Mac OS X desktop application||Swift
|A startup like Airbnb with a website and app||Ruby on Rails
|I’m sill not sure…||HTML + CSS + JS
7 Best Programming Languages
That’s the basics and you have right there – the 7 best programming languages for beginners. Let’s now explore each of the languages in a bit more detail and get a bit more familiar with them.
I will then show you some incredible courses! Read on!
HTML + CSS + JS
This combination is collectively known as front-end web languages.
HTML is the key language for developing content for the web.
HTML is very beginner friendly and you can get started working with HTML code in absolutely no time without special software or experience.
I highly recommend HTML as the default choice for beginners. If you do not have a strong idea right now, just start learning HTML.
Ideas will soon follow!
Don’t worry I have a great course recommendation for all 3 and more!
Swift is a general-purpose programming language developed by Apple for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux.
The language is designed to work with Apple’s Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks and other code written for Apple products.
Swift is an ideal choice if you want to develop apps to run on Apple devices like iPhones, iPads and iMacs. Note that Swift has limited applications outside the Apple ecosystem of hardware.
However many of the concepts you will learn with Swift will still be applicable to other languages you learn in the future!
Java is a general-purpose programming language. It is an object-oriented language which means that it is based on a particular way of modelling software as reusable components.
There is a slight theory barrier but once that is overcome you will be good to go.
Java is designed with the “write once, run anywhere” (WORA) principle in mind. This means that Java code can run on all platforms that support Java.
Java was originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which has since been acquired by Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems’ Java platform.
1995 may seem like a long time ago, but Java has been constantly updated with Java 9 only recently released. It continues to be a popular choice for many varied applications.
Importantly Java can be used for Android development!
Python is a widely used high-level programming language for general-purpose programming, created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991.
It is an interpreted language which means it does not need to be compiled. This makes development super fast and versatile.
Python has a design philosophy with focus on code readability. It has a syntax which allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than possible in other languages.
Python has become a popular choice in recent years. Often seen as a powerful scripting language it has become used in both large and small-scale systems.
It is particularly appropriate for use with mathematical and scientific applications.
C# is a programming language developed by Microsoft within its .NET initiative. C# syntax looks very similar to Java and again has a wide variety of applications.
It is the language of choice when developing applications to run on Windows.
C# can readily be used for scripting within Unity for making games!
Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies and used to develop video games for PC, consoles, mobile devices and websites.
Unity has been extended to target 27 platforms making it the game engine of choice for developing games for multiple platforms. This is really more of a software package than a programming language and has built-in support for scripting using C#. But hey, I love games, so it deserves a place on my list!
Consider learning Unity and C# is you want to make serious games.
#7 Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails, or simply Rails, is a server-side (or back-end) web application framework.
Rails is a framework, providing default structures for working with databases, web services, and web pages.
It encourages and facilitates the use of web standards for data transfer, and mixes nicely with HTML, CSS and JS for display and user interfacing.
Ruby on Rails has grown in popularity over the last few years and some major web sites have been spun up using it!
Airbnb was developed using Ruby on Rails – making it a great choice for developing disruptive and innovative technologies quickly! Think of it as a super language for spinning up startups!
A Word About SQL and JS
Some surveys include SQL (Structured Query Language) as a language alongside programming languages I have listed so far.
I think this is wrong unless your focus is to solely work on databases (e.g. work as a database administrator). SQL should be learnt in the context of another language when that software needs to talk to a database.
What About C++ and PHP?
I would highly recommend that C++ is tackled after you learn a language that is highly suitable for beginners like Java.
C++, in my humble opinion, is a hard first language to learn because the programmer needs to be aware of more low-level details like memory management which a language like Java will seamlessly handle for you.
PHP is now considered by many to be slightly dated. It can be easily picked up if needed once you learn HTML, CSS and JS as a nice easy server-side technology. PHP is still widely used but is starting to give way to cooler, feature-rich alternatives like Rails.
What About Language X?
There are other programming languages out there but these are the 7 best programming languages to start learning now. No doubt about it, start with one of these and you will be well on your way to becoming a coder!
Pick one and start learning today!
You can always add another language to your arsenal later on.
What Does the Community Say?
I analysed last years Stack Overflow survey to find out!
It was the most comprehensive developer survey ever conducted. Here are a few interesting figures captured in a tasty infographic.
I gotta be honest the winner for me was clear – front-end web technologies.
That is HTML, CSS and JS.
Now It’s Your Turn…
So there you have it. The best programming language choice narrowed down to just 7 of the most popular languages out there!
Follow this simple process to make your well-informed choice.
Start with an idea and then let that determine the language to start learning.
Jump in, start learning and coding right away.
Don’t overthink it, because that will only hinder your progress.
One language is a clear default first choice – HTML.
So if you are not sure – just start with learning HTML.
Check out my top recommended courses for each of the 7 languages below!
From Idea To a Language To a Course
Take one of the recommended courses and become a ninja… err I mean coder TODAY!
To your coding success,