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What coding language should I learn?

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Published

4 Oct 2017

Segment

coding starters

Duration

8 minute read

There are around 256 programming languages that you can learn. So, choosing which language to start with often seems like a feat in itself. If you ask your coding friends the best language to learn, you will come up with as many answers. You will see that some of them will intensely love a coding language and passionately hate another.

Choosing the right language to start with is vital. If you choose one that is hard to learn, then there is a high chance that you will get disheartened by it and give up on coding altogether. However, it's not only about choosing an easy language; it is about choosing something that fulfils your purpose. Before making any decisions, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why do I want to learn to code?’. Here are some of the most common answers, and relevant suggestions for which language(s) would be best.

I am new to coding

When you are new to coding, it is important to choose a language that is easy to learn. This includes features like an easy interface, forgiving of errors, readable code, and helpful online communities. A newcomer should be able to start coding without having to learn a lot of jargon and commands. The two programming languages that fit this category and are widely regarded as the easiest languages to start with are Ruby and Python. Today Python is being used across universities in their introduction to programming courses because it instils good programming practices. On the other hand, Ruby, with its web framework Ruby on Rails, has become a popular choice for quickly creating websites, web apps, and desktop applications.

 

I am a kid

Getting your kids to learn to code is probably one of the best decisions that you can make. Learning to code is as important as learning a language in today's world. Furthermore, it enables kids to think logically and be creative. The best programming languages for this purpose are Scratch and Blockly. These two languages - one developed by MIT and the other by Google - use a building block like interface to teach coding. Kids can use these programs to drag and drop different compatible functions into each other to create working code. Google’s Blockly interface goes a bit further by showing a code preview of the combined building blocks. Consequently, the outcomes of these languages tend to be the things that kids love the most: games, animations and making robots move.

I want to learn the most popular language

It is quite ironic that in a field where new technologies are sprouting every few years (if not faster), the top three most popular languages have remained the same for the past 15 years. These are the big three programming languages: Java, C and C++. TIOBE Index produces a monthly ranking of the most popular languages around the world. The ratings are based on the number of skilled engineers worldwide, university courses and third party vendors. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Baidu are used to calculate the ratings. The reason these big three are still dominating the top spot is that they are either powerful, efficient or have broad applications. Also, most of the universities still teach these languages in their computer science courses. While basing your decision on these stats might seem like a good idea, it is expected that these languages will soon start to be outranked.

I want to develop apps

The prevalence of smartphones has pushed mobile apps to become a significant category in the coding market. A lot of people now pursue programming with hopes to create viral apps. If you are one of these people, then there might be many languages that you need to learn depending on the platform you want your app to be on. Java is the preferred language for Android development, meaning that most apps in the App Store are made with this language, and it also gets the most support from Google. There are numerous tutorials online explaining how to code apps using Java. On the side of Apple, Objective-C has been the favourite language for a long time, however, with the aims of shifting away developers from Objective-C, Apple developed its own language called Swift. Therefore, it would be smart to start learning Swift rather than Objective-C. Apple claims that Swift is a powerful and easy to learn program.

I want to earn a lot of money

One of the biggest reasons you are thinking of learning how to code is that you keep hearing about the insane amount of money that programmers earn. There is no shame in pursuing something that will lead to a better life. A lot of time, the languages that make you the most money tend to be some obscure language that you’ve never heard of. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that should be your path, as those jobs might be tough to get. You want to learn a language that has an abundance of earning potential but also a good deal of opportunities. Paysa, a silicon valley startup recently used AI to research to find the most in-demand job skills in the tech industry. It found that the languages that were both in-demand and paid high were Java ($US131,962), Javascript ($US126,988) and SQL($US126,532).



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